Microsoft Surface

There are some people criticising Microoft’s new ad for its offering to the tablet market, Surface. Business Insider, which knows how to draw a link…tweet…comment, says that:

Instead of making the case for the Surface it just did a clever clicky ad. It’s hard to believe people would even know what the Surface is after watching this ad.

I disagree. Here’s what I know about the tablet market.

  • Apple is #1. Apple is #2. Apple is #3 and everyone else is fighting for a very small share.
  • If you’re not Apple, you need to compete on price because…
  • All hardware is much the same, give or take, so leadership position is huge, as is brand loyalty
  • Applications make or break the experience

Remember this ad for Google’s Nexus 7 tablet? It is charming and lovely to watch but it doesn’t differentiate from any other tablet. At least RIM focused on Flash in its Playbook ad. My belief is that Microsoft and its agency looked very hard to find a differentiator…and found it in the clickable keyboard.

If I’m buying one, I likely know what a tablet does and the fact that I don’t have to learn a new way to interact with it is a bonus. Its hard to believe I’m alone in this feeling, especially when you count in the older Boomers who are probably fuelling the tablet market.

Will the keyboard make or break the Surface? Maybe, maybe not. The reason I (caved and) bought an iPad was that its ecosystem of applications was by far the strongest and most appealing. If Microsoft can appeal to the developer community and build a thriving ecosystem, maybe having the keyboard will put it over the edge vs a Nexus or Kindle Fire as long as it can compete on price, which it doesn’t look as if it will, according to this tweet from a National Post technology reporter:

Kudos to Microsoft for finding a potentially strong differentiator to communicate around. Lets just hope they can cut the price to give it a fighting chance.

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