Microsoft Surface Pro 2 Fail: Now What?

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On October 26, 2012, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) brought its Windows 8 operating system and original Surface tablet to market. Windows 8, of course, was a highly anticipated event, as it represented the first major software release out of Microsoft in three years. Prior to the launch, an upbeat David Goldman and CNN Money lauded Windows 8 as a “game changer.” The Microsoft Windows 8 concept was designed to integrate traditional personal computer, tablet, and smartphone features together beneath one modern or metro interface. The Microsoft Surface machine came to fruition as an attempt to bridge the technical gaps separating PCs and tablets. Still, numerous analysts went on to rip the Windows 8 movement as a “failure [and] disaster,” despite superfluous hype out of Redmond.

Microsoft ultimately went back to the drawing board, and made Windows 8.1 available for public consumption on October 17, 2013. Shortly thereafter, Microsoft launched its Surface Pro 2 tablet on October 22, 2013. Most likely, Microsoft will make software upgrade available for free to Windows 8.1 and Surface Pro 2 users this spring quarter. Still, Adrian Kingsley-Hughes has already dismissed the Windows 8.1 update as “meh.” In his recent ZDNet piece, Kingsley-Hughes argued that an awkwardly misguided Microsoft appears convinced that Metro is the future, rather than scrapping the concept altogether. Disastrous Surface Pro 2 sales may confirm that Microsoft cannot be everything to everybody.

Surface Pro 2 Specifications

Microsoft Surface Pro 2 prices range between $899 for 64GB in storage and $1,799 for the 512GB model. The Surface Pro 2 competes directly against the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad and MacBook Air. The 16GB iPad Mini with Wi-Fi connectivity does begin at $299. From there, the top-of-the line 128GB iPad Air with Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity retails for $929. Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display featuring 8GB of memory alongside 512GB in storage also retails for $1,799. Intel Haswell, or Core i5, chips power both the Surface Pro 2 and MacBook Pro. Last year, Apple sold 71 million iPads, which generated $32 billion in fiscal 2013 revenue. Microsoft, for its efforts, actually took a $900 million charge on Surface RT inventory write-offs in 2013. Surface Pro 2 sales will remain especially weak through 2014.

Microsoft Surface tablets are notable for billfold casings, functional keyboards, and attached kickstands that enable the portable machine to fold out into a functional workstation. The Surface Pro 2, of course, was billed as the premium Microsoft tablet; its tablets weigh in at 2 pounds and stand 10.81 inches tall by 6.81 inches wide. The Surface Pro 2 tablet and its 10.6-inch screen display graphics in 1920 X 1080 pixel resolution. It can also convert into two separate 720-pixel cameras, and its battery life now approaches eight hours of use, which is a sharp improvement above the 4-5 hour battery work times of the first iterations of the Surface tablet.

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