Piling on the Surface

There is a lot of press the last few days over the Microsoft Surface, including this bit in the New York Times. The Surface hasn’t sold very well and Microsoft reports taking a $900M loss on the product. MacStories has an article today that looks at the problems with the Surface in detail, which I largely agree with. The problem, as I see it, is that the Surface was a tabletish computer designed for nerds. Its overriding design principle was not to be simple but instead run Microsoft Word. They largely succeeded but most people don’t care. The compromises required to reach that goal turned off most buyers. Microsoft didn’t go after the fat 90% of the marketplace but the niche 10% that wanted to run Microsoft Office. I’m guessing most of the people in Redmond would think that everybody needed that product but in truth, they don’t. Most people are looking for tablets that get them as far away from Microsoft Office as possible. Maybe the Surface isn’t a failure as much as a poorly aimed arrow.