Here Comes the Surface Pro: Will It Save Microsoft?

January 23, 2013

Surface Pro Tablet (From ZD Net)

The Surface Pro is set to debut, but will there be any takers?

The original Surface tablet from Microsoft has debuted to mixed reviews. Much of that can be blamed on the limited Windows RT operating system, limited distribution at launch, and the seemingly uncoordinated marketing campaign.
Customers and reviewers were confused from the start, “Is it a Tablet or is it a PC?” And while the impressive quality and Type Cover stood out, there was no clear value proposition or consistent theme in Microsoft’s marketing.
Microsoft has tried to remedy the situation. They belatedly realized the folly of limiting the Surface to Microsoft stores and rolled it out to chains such as Best Buy. They’ve launched new commercials that do more than just show people dancing with the product. Finally, Microsoft has told us to wait for the Surface Pro, promising significant updates.

I eagerly embraced the Surface RT but was left disappointed

I had reviewed the Surface when it originally came out, but ended up returning it. It was a well-made product, but the limitations of Windows RT were very frustrating. It left me wanting more, so I went back to the Microsoft Store, returned the Surface RT, and kept the Type Cover promising the salesman I’d be back for the Pro. He replied that he’d heard that from many people.

What does the Surface Pro Bring to the game?

Given the initial reviews post CES, it lives up to the promise of the original Surface and goes further. It is basically a laptop in a tablet form. It runs Windows 8, is powered by the Intel Core i5 processor, and offers a slim form factor with little compromise.
Unlike its Windows RT counterpart, the Surface Pro won’t be hampered by a less-than-stellar app ecosystem. It also has a stylus that allows you to write, draw, and paint on the tablet.
Battery life is still an unknown and has been a point of contention with this implementation. Coupled with the $999 starting price, there are still questions left unanswered.
The chatter around the Surface has been “What is it really?” Microsoft is seeking to reinvent the tablet space, and provide something that can be used as a Desktop replacement.

What do thought leaders and leading media outlets think?

The initial reviews so far are largely positive. However, Microsoft has only given reporters limited time with the Surface Pro after the CES conference. David Pogue of the New York Times summed it up best in his review: “But even if the Surface Pro is not strictly a laptop killer, it nonetheless changes the game. It’s a machine nobody’s built before, and it should get a lot of imaginations whirring.”
My personal belief is that enterprises will readily adopt the Surface Pro, given its native Windows 8 support. It will also appeal to software developers and systems administrators who value portability.
It is set to launch in the last week of January, so stay tuned for more on the Surface Pro when I get my hands on it.

Corporate Strategy, Sales Operations

Sudip is in charge of Corporate Strategy, Sales Operations at <a href="">Alegeus Technologies</a>. Previously, he worked at OpenView from 2012 until 2014 with portfolio companies to provide insights on the markets they operate in, their customers, and drive development of business strategies.