The latest Microsoft TV ad for their clickety clackety keyboard wielding Surface tablets features a teacher talking happily about how all his students have the new MS tablet.
He emphasizes that the tablets have Office and a ‘real’ keyboard – ‘so they can do real work’. They doing real work is the recurring strapline for all of the Surface TV ads – because allegedly the silly iPad can’t do any.
A couple of questions spring to mind here:
– When’s the last time you heard a young student say ‘Boy I wish my school would help me do more real work’?
– When’s the last time anyone heard of any major school or school district using Surface tablets? Oh, I know – never.
The iPad has recently been said to hold a 94% share in the education arena in the US. And I’d happily major that the vast majority of the remaining 6% is taken by Android tablets. Which would leave Microsoft and the Surface with a miniscule percentage at best – just as their overall market share for tablets is.
It baffles me that anyone at Microsoft thinks THIS is an area for them to try to brag about.
This week Microsoft have released yet another of their TV ads comparing the iPad to a Surface or another Windows based tablet. In this new ad it’s the Surface RT that’s pitted against the iPad.
The newest in this series of ads trots out some of the same supposedly killer advantages for the Surface over the iPad – like the knock on the iPad because it doesn’t include Microsoft Office.
Another advantage cited for the Surface is ‘integrated kickstand and keyboard’. Only in the very tiny fine print does it mention that the keyboard is sold separately. Sold separately for $100 if bought at the same time as the tablet and $120 if not. Pretty stiff price for something that’s ‘integrated’.
Despite every indicator showing that the Surface has had just about zero impact, Microsoft keeps pounding away with these comparison ads. Here’s this latest one, below. Does anyone believe these are having any effect?
Following its big recent price cuts on the Surface RT tablet line, Microsoft has now dropped the price for its Surface Pro tablets by $100.
As The Verge reports, Microsoft has confirmed that customers in 5 countries – the US, Canada, China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan – will pay $100 less for the Surface Pro between August 4th and August 29th.
The price cut affects both the 64GB Surface Pro, which now goes for $799, and the 128GB model, which is now available for $899.
Given the Surface’s current status as a major flop, it will not be at all surprising to see these price cuts become permanent sometime soon.
Lots more bad news for Microsoft and their Surface tablets this week. Microsoft’s most recent financial results filing (for their fiscal year that ended June 30 of this year) show a total of $853 million in revenue from Surface sales – which some are saying is less than they’ve spent on marketing for the Surface line.
BGR, along with many others, have declared the Surface a flop when referencing the Surface revenue numbers:
That figure doesn’t include the $900 million write-down it took or the huge amount of cash it spent on marketing and advertising, so Microsoft has clearly lost a substantial amount of money on its Surface bet so far — yes, the Surface is officially a flop.
The latest estimate of total Surface sales, by GeekWire, is just 1.7 million units sold. That’s 1.7 million sold in the 8 months since the first Surface release. For a little perspective, 3 million iPad minis were sold in 3 days at its launch time.
Over the years I’ve seen many Microsoft fans argue that the success of the iPhone / iPad / Apple themselves was largely down to marketing. Well, Microsoft have marketed the hell out the Surface line. They’ve ripped the iPad in their recent TV advertising and painted it as a far less useful device than the Surface.
Maybe they should focus more now on making a tablet that actually lives up to their hype.
The latest report on the global market for tablets, from Strategy Analytics, shows that Android leads in shipments and market share – by quite a big margin. As The Next Web reports, these figures for Q2 of 2013 show Android shipments at 34.6 million – well ahead of Apple iOS shipments at 14.6 million.
In market share percentage, Android registers a huge 67% while iOS is at just over 28%.
I know that many Android zealots will hail these numbers as a sign of the iPad losing momentum (or worse) and ‘Android winning’ and so forth. I’ve seen a fair bit of that already on Google+. I think there a a few things worth considering along with these numbers though:
— There’s the ever-popular shipped vs. sold subject. The Q2 numbers for iOS tablets are the actual number of iPads sold, as announced by Apple on their Q2 earnings call last week. Many of the leading Android tablet makers never release sales numbers. Amazon never does, Google doesn’t, and Samsung only talk about shipments to distribution channels. Microsoft’s recent writedown of nearly a billion dollars for unsold Surface RT tablets shows how worthwhile those sort of shipment numbers can be.
– iOS tablets means iPad. There’s only one iPad, though with a few different models available, as compared to the myriad of Android devices from numerous vendors. None of the individual vendors or tablets have been shown to be close to iPad in sales or market share.
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