Friday, October 26, 2012

Will MS Surface Become a Zune?

This week, Microsoft (MS) announced their latest foray into the hardware space. The MS Surface is their latest attempt to win over the scores of users already loyal to their OS, and potentially many new adherents. The Surface is a cross between an iPad and a laptop. It might be just the thing for users on the go, as a second device, or for those who only need a browser and a few apps.

Initially, when I heard about the Surface, several months ago, I was very excited. I thought that this device might even be the best of both worlds: an iPad with a great keyboard that can be used in many business situations, and a laptop replacement while on the road. It appears to be built well, and there is a commitment from MS to really make it work. The early reviews have been mostly great, and I was feeling good.

But, then I looked at my bookshelf. There I spied my Zune; the music device from MS that I bought many years ago. This device was their answer to the iPod. Initially it looked like it would work well, and have a chance to take over some of the market that Apple had created with their wildly successful iPod and iTunes. However, the success that MS envisioned with this hardware never developed, and today it can be used as a coaster, a door stop, and a paper weight.

In the past MS has not shown the ability to make hardware successful. It makes me wonder if the Surface will join my Zune on the bookshelf as a lovely door stop. The Zune was announced with much fanfare, and many people thought it would be successful; it was not. I am not sure all the reasons why, but it just never lived up to expectations.

So, will the Surface join the Zune on my shelf? Not if I don't buy one...

What do you think?




  1. I think the common problem with both devices is their late entry with network effects driving continued adoption of the dominant device. If Microsoft were able to bring these products to market in a more timely manner perhaps they would do better.

  2. Jason,

    Yes, I agree. It seems that Microsoft is always playing catch-up in the hardware space. I think the X-box might be the only time when they came out late with something that has been successful. Maybe they can make it work with the Surface this time as well.