It's early days and evidence is scarce. But the initial buzz around
Surface Microsoft's answer to Apple's iPad is not the stuff tech legends
are made of.
"Surface is a mess," said David Morgenstern, technology writer for online trade magazine ZDnet.com.
all the years that Microsoft has had to manage this transition, the
Surface machines and OS don't have all the little bits and pieces nailed
down and polished. It's all very first generation."
Friday", the day after the US Thanksgiving holiday marking the start of
the Christmas shopping season and often serves as a sales bonanza for
the hottest new IT devices, has now come and gone. But so far the
Surface appears to be sticking to store shelves, industry experts say.
is not yet divulging sales data for its new product and analysts
caution that it is still too early to say whether the software giant's
big foray into touch-screen hardware is on the ropes.
anecdotal information suggests that while consumers have shown some
interest in the Surface, that "interest was not necessarily leading to
sales", said Trip Chowdhry, analyst with Global Equities Research.
CEO Steve Ballmer told a French newspaper that Surface sales were off
to a "modest start", a choice of words followed quickly by a two percent
drop in Microsoft shares and a swift damage control scramble by the
company's public relations teams.
One bit of anecdotal evidence
widely reported by US tech blogs was a report from researchers with the
investment firm Piper Jaffray who monitored foot traffic - literally the
numbers of people entering and exiting - at one Microsoft retail store
in the sprawling Mall of America in the US state of Minnesota.
to that report, there was 47 percent less customer traffic at the
Microsoft store than at the Apple outlet situated directly across the
Reviews of the Surface have been mixed so far. While critics
praise the look and the design, they were less than thrilled about the
software, functionality, and the retail price starting at $500.
gripe is the Window's app store that has only a fraction of the
applications of rival Apple. Notably missing are applications for
popular social networks Facebook and Twitter.
But the Redmond,
Washington-based Microsoft is heavily invested in the Surface's success
and launched an aggressive marketing campaign that reportedly cost more
than $1 billion to generate positive, youthful mojo and prepare the
ground for early sales.
And while Microsoft has resorted to pop-up
stores, billboards, and splashy TV ads with big name US celebrities
including actress Jessica Alba and singer Gwen Stefani, apparently even
some of the firm's hired big guns still prefer Apple products.
instance, media mogul Oprah Winfrey's endorsement of the Surface raised
eyebrows when she tweeted her love for Microsoft's new tablet, from her
Still, tech experts point out that it has not yet been even
one month since the Surface hit stores and say it is too early to
discern the fate Microsoft's latest creation.
"Microsoft still has
a huge market share advantage in desktops and laptops more than 93
percent. Yes, it's made mistakes in mobile computing and tablets. And
perhaps again with its latest Windows release. But Microsoft isn't going
anywhere and its problems may turn around," said Morgenstern in a blog
Microsoft Surface in pictures