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Reader opinion: Microsoft are aiming for enterprise with the Surface

I had quite a few emails from readers after yesterday’s post on the Surface. I asked permission to reproduce some of them anonymously as I thought the points deserved airing, especially since a few reckoned I was overlooking things.

Here we go…


You might be missing the point.

What I took from the launch and pricing (although I’ll confess I haven’t looked in detail yet) is that Microsoft aren’t going after you, Tom, me and my wife just yet. I don’t think they were going after us and screwed it up, they just aren’t going after us.

What Microsoft are doing instead is buoying up the IT reseller channel. I know of several resellers who have been prepping for this for several months now. Off the record, one in particular (household name, etc.) has basically turned 180′ and is ditching its Android tablet range completely for Surface. They’re not quite ditching the Galaxy S2 and S3 phones, but they are seriously de-investing in them.

I’m also given to believe that Nokia’s love for the IT reseller channel has been building up recently, ahead of Surface and Windows 8.

It’s boringly predictable, but the aim seems to be to offer an alternative to BYOD, and go for corporate IT departments rolling out tablets. It has to be good to get over the “I prefer my iPad” objection, which it seems to be. Do consider that, generally speaking, enterprises usually buy what their reseller sells them.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Xbox live etc and consumerisation came later, but I’m not surprised that they aren’t there now.


And here’s another in a similar vein:


It would have been really interesting to see a new business model as an approach to differentiate from the competition. True.

That being said, we should be focusing on the actual product and if it will deliver. You said MS trusts it will, but you seemed to imply that it was a risky approach. Why? Apple is at the end of the maturity phase of the iphone and ipad life cycles. They are milking the cash cow, feeding people with updates to keep up with the technological pace (no evolution at all, let alone, revolution). They were the first to the market so they will be the first to wear out.

You apparently think that Apple is light years away from the rest. They are not anymore (look at the Lumia 920 outselling the iPhone in Carphone Warehouse in France and Italy). The iPad covered a huge market gap that really embraced the tablet, but even with their really agressive enterprise strategy, selling iPads to business users is like selling netbooks, the product succeeded only becaused it was the closest thing that covered that gap I was talking before.

Bottom line: The iPad is to the enterprise segment what Netbooks were to the consumer segment of light computer users. And the Surface and other Win RT tablets could very well be what the iPad was to Netbooks. No need to innovate pricewise, the product should speak for itself. I believe this is the strategy and if you really think what you said about the Surface, this strategy should be more than Fine.


I think, once again, I was looking for an immediate ‘wow’ that removed all barriers. I’m still very much excited at the prospect of the Surface (and derivatives) giving Apple and the rest of the market a bit of decent competition. It’s been rather depressing when the only game in town was clearly Apple — where even at launch events of new products, everyone in the room was thinking, “It’s not quite the iPhone/iPad/whatever”. The market need some good competition!

Thank you M and EB for permission to reproduce your comments.


  1. I have to agree with the comments above. While MS has made every effort to ensure Surface is attractive to consumers, in the end, it will be their enterprise play that will seal the deal. There are PLENTY of corporate IT departments that have been trying to hold back the tide of BYOD. Surface will be a no-brainer in those companies (which I’m pretty sure make up the majority)

    Yes, it would have been good to have a more competitive price, but I’ve tried cheaper Android tablets and the quality has been rather poor. Ended up taking my Asus tablet back and getting a full refund.

    I’m still skeptical about MS Surface, especially about how useful the RT version will be (yes, daft name) compared to Windows 8 Pro. But it will be fun to find out 🙂

  2. Yeah, but MS-bashing is always going to be more fun!

    The real question is what does “targeting business” really mean in terms of the product capabilities. When Apple launched the iPad it was a device for consuming content – be that content: ebooks, the web, email, music, videos etc In the very early days Apple were very restrictive over what was allowed in the eco-system and anything that wasn’t for consuming content wasn’t getting in. Roll on a few years and both Apple and Android have much more open eco-systems but _most_ tablet use is still about consuming content, isn’t it?

    Now I’m assuming that what businesses need isn’t a device that’s mainly focussed on consuming content – the Surface keyboard sounds like a good step forward, but what else is MS going to deliver to support other use cases? It’ll be very interesting to compare Office on Surface with say Google Drive on Android which still has quite a way to go…

  3. Surface with Windows 8 Pro will be more for the Enterprise market, in my opinion.
    Will be interesting to see the pricing for the Windows 8 Pro devices (which is where I am more interested) – any guess on how much more than RT for a 64GB version – £100??

  4. Do they mean the Surface tablet with full fat Window 8, or the RT one? Seeing as Windows RT doesn’t even know what an Active Directory is calling it an enterprise oriented device is a bit of a stretch.

    As for the full fat version, maybe – but who in the enterprise is going to get one? If you’re not high enough up the food chain to warrant an Ultrabook then you’re not going be high enough up to get a Surface tablet. I’m betting at most companies that makes it’s out of the question for most staff. Of the people who do rank high enough to get one, how many are image conscious enough that would only consider being seen with an iPad?


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