Why the Surface RT Failed and the iPad Did Not (Not)

Nick Bilton tries to explain the failure of the Surface with one cause, here: Why the Surface RT Failed and the iPad Did Not – NYTimes.com. While I think this is one potential reason, I also think there are many reasons why it failed. Here are some more:

  • Too expensive: comparatively to other tablet devices. Even if it was alot better, customers would be more likely to go with the equally impressive and less costly iPad or Android devices.
  • No need for the product: if the other tablets lacked in some capacity, perhaps the Surface would have taken off. But the needs of tablet users was more than met by what was in the market.
  • Network externalities: what used to work for Microsoft now worked against them. It’s not enough to develop a tablet: you have to develop all the things tablet users expect and support that as well. Otherwise you have to go to the commodity market.

Invalid reasons would be:

  • Microsoft can’t do hardware: Microsoft can do hardware. Their XBOX line in particular is nowhere near the weakling of the Surface or Microsoft’s earlier hardware failure, the Zune.
  • No one can compete with Apple: Google in conjunction with Samsung and others are doing a good job of competing with Apple.
  • There is no room for more hardware in the market: again, Google and others have shown it is possible to compete in this space.

I don’t think Microsoft is done in this space. But I think they may approach it differently. We’ll see in the next two years.

One response to “Why the Surface RT Failed and the iPad Did Not (Not)

  1. I think it failed when Microsoft throughout their Windows 8 fallout forgot about their coreuusers when they built their UI.

    Most of their core users actually would want to do work on Windows. Especially since the apps are mandated by work. It is nice to have a single device I can do my work on and other things on the side for fun.

    However the new UI impedes on it.

    Also they gave too many options for the device and memory is ubderpowered for what we would need. 4GB? Sheesh

    They provided both a pointless touch keyboard and a proper tactile keyboard. Dump the useless option.

    Start only at 128GB. Forget the lower sizes.

    In other words don’t try to target the price point for consumers. most Consumers are cheap creatures and buy the cheapest product when they don’t have a passion for it as shown by the precalence of cheap American cars. So just target those who would buy it.

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