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ECT News Community   »   E-Commerce Times Talkback   »   Re: How Microsoft's Surface Can Win the Tablet War

Re: How Microsoft's Surface Can Win the Tablet War
Posted by: Jeff Kagan 2012-06-21 05:27:30
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Microsoft has introduced another new product. This one is a tablet called the "Surface." If Microsoft is not careful, it could actually be successful with this one -- if it plays its cards right, anyway. The Surface will let Microsoft compete head-to-head with Apple's iPad, Amazon's Kindle, Barnes & Noble's Nook, and many more. Will the Surface be a hit or a flop? That depends on Microsoft. It is important to note that there are more questions about Microsoft's Surface than answers at this time.

Re: How Microsoft's Surface Can Win the Tablet War
Posted by: lakshmibalu 2012-06-26 02:12:46 In reply to: Jeff Kagan
Well, Surface is new to me and Microsoft going to specialize in Tablet devices? That is a good move to compete popular devices like Kindle Fire and Nook tablet. The iPads are expensive toys in the mobile market and I now wonder what the Surface would rate in this context!

Re: How Microsoft's Surface Can Win the Tablet War
Posted by: Mohamed_Rabia 2012-06-23 23:52:21 In reply to: Jeff Kagan
Most of us are thinking that Microsoft Copied Surface from Apple but actually Bill Gates introduced Tablet in 2002 but too much futuristic approach sometimes doesn't work.

Re: How Microsoft's Surface Can Win the Tablet War
Posted by: Gussy2000 2012-06-21 08:23:54 In reply to: Jeff Kagan
I don’t know why I expected this piece to be different from the other hundred or so opinion pieces about how to “beat Apple” or “win the (insert product) war” that were all COMPLETELY devoid of insightful commentary.
“The Surface has to have new, exciting and inspiring marketing, advertising and public relations. Does it?”
Wow. Seriously? This is the kind of detailed and unique perspective that comes from 25 years as an industry “analyst” and “consultant”. You know what I say to that? No shit. As I read, I kept waiting for the author to come out and say, “this is what MS needs to do to win the tablet war…”. After all, that is what the title of the article implies he is going to do. Sadly, this was not the case.

If you back out all of rhetorical questions, there is even less substance to this piece. I also disagree with the comment regarding the need for bundling. Who needs “bundling” with products like Evernote and Google Drive? Those applications work on basically and device and platform and turn ANY tablet/smartphone/desktop combo into a bundled experience. For example, (see what I’m doing here? I’m cited specifics) I can start streaming a movie on Netflix on my laptop and move from the desktop to my HTC Inspire to our Kindle Fire to the TV (via a Roku). Presto, bundled. I use Bump and Android’s share functionality to move data between devices all the time. Oh and let us not forget Dropbox and plain old Gmail for file transfers. “Bundling” across a manufacture’s product lines isn’t a selling point, it’s expected! Is anyone so foolish to think the Surface WON’T work with SkyDrive? Please.

It truly, TRULY amazes me that all these so called “industry experts” who have been covering this stuff for years STILL fail to focus on what has to be the most significant reason Apple is so dominant and other companies are still trying to catch up: Marketing. I’ll say it again: Mark-et-ing.

Here’s why I think so.

Of the twenty to thirty people I would say are in my immediate circle of friends and family, I am easily the ONLY one who makes diving into tech blogs, reviews and news a daily (even hourly) endeavor. This means most of the time I talk tech, I am NOT talking with a power user or geek or someone who pays much attention to this stuff at all. I am talking to the “masses” and they are almost all Apple users. And I get why.

Apple is in their face. Constantly.

EVERYONE remembers the ads of the silhouettes dancers shaking it to the Black Eyed Peas “Hey, Mama” and Justin Long saying “I’m a Mac”. The ads were on all the time and they worked. I remember buying my wife and I our first iPods as Valentine’s Day gifts to each other. They were almost impulse buys. I was caught up. I bought a Product Red Nano and she got a video iPod so she could watch Kathy Griffin. Apple got our (collective) attention using the iPod and did it in a dynamic, colorful and fun way that HELD our attention.

Fast forward to today. I got my wife a 2nd gen iPod Touch (she left her classic in the rain – it actually worked for a while after that but eventually succumbed to corrosion). She has since acquired a 3Gs and I inherited the Touch. I have also become an Android user and am enjoying Windows 7 but I had to dig to learn about these alternative. I know what Super AMOLED Plus is. I know what a One X is. I know what an ASUS Transformer is but not because of Samsung’s or HTC’s or ASUS’ marketing. I had to dive into Engadget, Cnet, Slashgear, Gizmodo and so on to learn about this stuff. Those twenty to thirty people will never do that. iPhone is what they know. Apple is what they know because Apple uses every tool in the marketing tool box to MAKES SURE they know. Apple’s marketing gets consumers seeking it out and its better than average products keep them there. Yes, you still need a good (great?) product to be successful but, and listen up Samsung, HTC, MS and all the rest, the world is FULL of great products that no one ever hears about. To date, the other tech companies simply have not put forth the marketing prowess Apple has.

They are getting better though. Samsung is starting to make a push (saw ads during the NBA Playoffs for the Note) but they need to push harder. Much, much harder.

So don’t just tell me “The Surface has to have new, exciting and inspiring marketing, advertising and public relations.” As my tirade indicates, I already KNOW MS needs to do that. If you are truly one of these industry experts, tell me what KIND of exciting new marketing MS needs to initiate. Go out on a limb, offer up ideas based on what would get YOUR attention, get you to seek it out. Better yet, tell me what would get your MOM to go find one. Everything is just opinion and speculation at this point anyway. Might as well make it colorful for the reader.

Looking back, I don’t even remember what Justin Long was talking about, I just remember the ads and that they were for Apple and that no one else was offering anything else up. Then I found myself walking through a mall and low and behold, an Apple Store. Gee, I will step inside and check out this iPod thing from the ads I REMEMBER.

If MS wants to be “successful” (and by the way based on its balance sheet, Xbox and Windows OS market share, I’d say it already is), it just needs to put the Surface COMPLETELY in our face. It need to be reckless and crazy and fun. Subway posters, magazine ads, T-shirt with Metro tiles. MAKE US REMEMBER YOU! Get us in the door by making us seek you out the same way Apple did (so yes the author is right about having to copy Apple – just wish he had elaborated on what it means to do so).

The store. If you look at the Apple stores, they are set up in such a way that you can take in the whole iWorld the moment you enter. Walk in looking for an single product and you end up looking at all Apple has to offer.

If MS can just get consumers curious about the Surface, get them into the store to see it, it should be enough. Once that is accomplished, the company’s “bundle” strategy doesn’t really need to go beyond the fact that the W8 Metro interface tiles look the same on a tablet, Lumia and Ultrabook. I think, looking at a uniform UI, consumers will do the math.

But it all starts with marketing and not the kind that talks about spec only geeks care about.
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