Microsoft Surface Pro will be a Major Success … but you’ll never guess why I think so
So lots of sites are reporting on their initial impressions of the Surface Pro following a limited press hands-on event at a hotel suite in Vegas while CES was going on this week. By a lot I mean just about every major tech blog/site. Here’s a few I rounded up:
- Surface Pro: an in-depth look at Microsoft’s super tablet - The Verge
- Microsoft’s Surface Pro Tablet Changes the Game - New York Times Blogs
- CES 2013: Hands on With the Microsoft Surface Pro - PCMag
- Microsoft Surface Pro hands-on – Engadget
- Hands On With Microsoft’s Impressive Surface Pro Tablet – ReadWrite
- Microsoft Surface Pro Hands-On: This Is What It Should Have Been All Along - Gizmodo
All of these reviews tend to be positive takes on the device. Much is left to be seen (battery life, performance comparisons, etc.) but I think it is safe to say that this device has a chance of becoming a major success. I base this primarily on one seemingly contradictory reason – negative comments.
I’m not talking about the articles and/or reviews of the devices themselves but the comment sections beneath them where tech junkies (like myself) sound off on the merits or failures of the product. Almost all of the articles written about yet to be released devices are fairly positive. Typically a device from a major tech company (and this really only applies to about 4 companies at this point) that generates a lot of negative comments is going to be a big success. Most of the devices from tech’s major players are actually great products at this point. The question is whether they are going to shake up the industries they are being released for. I’m not sure if companies are paying people to go out and say how awful their competitors products are or if it is just the natural reaction of “fanboys” when they perceive a legitimate threat to the status quo but products like the first iPhone, Android, the Kindle, the iPad, and now the Surface Pro have created huge amounts of negative comments from users of competing products. As always there are comments under the Surface Pro articles stating ”this is my next” or “I’ll be getting one of these” as there are for almost all tech products of any relevance. What is interesting is the amount of carping coming from the Apple and Google fans about how “this is a great product for a market that doesn’t exist” or “this is too expensive to ever sell well”.
Recent History of Disruptive Technology
The negative comments being thrown at the Surface Pro articles sound very much like the negative attacks made against the iPhone & iPad prior to their release.
Example 1: the iPhone
The iPhone entered a smartphone market that had failed to take off with most users. It was “too expensive” and did things that several other products already did for essentially the same total price and many argued that people wanted their dedicated devices. In the iPhone’s case these were music players, phones, and email devices (read: Blackberries). Plus, the iPhone didn’t do any of these things as well as those dedicated devices: iPods offered more storage and a simpler interface, iPhone call quality was poor, and Blackberries were better e-mail devices … yet none of that mattered because people liked having a single device that did all of those things relatively well.
Example 2: the iPad
The iPad entered a tablet market that had failed repeatedly through the years. It was little more than a blown up iPod Touch and it lacked a camera. It somehow became a big seller because people were finally ready for tablets. They had become conditioned to owning personal technology and this gave them a bigger interface for interacting with things they had become used to having available to them on the go.
The Surface Pro (or more accurately the Microsoft Surface with Windows 8 Pro) will disrupt the ultrabook and tablet markets in a remarkable way when it is released later this month. There is sufficient negative pushback to indicate that this device represents a legitimate challenge to the current status quo.