To fight Apple-flight, Microsoft must hang tough on Surface

I don't see anything on the Windows 8 horizon aside from Surface that would rival Apple. So Microsoft needs to stick to its guns and execute on Surface.

Microsoft is likely under a lot of pressure from some quarters to abandon Surface. That would be a mistake.
Microsoft is likely under a lot of pressure from some quarters to abandon Surface. That would be a mistake. Microsoft

I just pray that Microsoft doesn't cave to pressure from partners to punt on Surface.

The first public plea came this week from Acer, which, in effect, begged Microsoft to drop Surface .

If that happens, Microsoft will lose the consumer to Apple for good. Probably sooner rather than later.

And if Acer is that worried about Surface, then it should out-design Microsoft or look elsewhere. Right now I don't see anything from Acer that would make me chuck my MacBook and iPad.

But Surface could. And it gets even more interesting when I see that Redmond is already working on Surface 2 .

(Of course, if Microsoft isn't able to follow through with a stable, reliable finished product that lives up to the hype, all bets are off. In other words, it needs to be as good as Apple at executing.)

But whatever happens, Hewlett-Packard or Dell or Acer would never have conceived of a Windows 8 Pro Surface. It's not in their design DNA and Microsoft knows this better than anyone.

So, MS came up with a 10.6-inch, 903-gram device packing a 1,920x1,080 display (that's some pretty serious pixel density), Mini DislayPort (means I can hook it up to my Apple Cinema display), Core i5 processor (let's hope it's a very power-frugal variety), and a 128GB solid-state drive.

And of course that 5mm-thick physical keyboard.

To counter Surface, PC makers will engage in a lot of Windows 8 puffery about their ultracool convertible or touch-screen ultrabook. I don't know about you, but I need more than that to give Windows 8 equal time on my desktop.

OK, so Mac users aren't going anywhere and Windows 8 means diddly-squat (or worse) to them. But that's not Microsoft's objective. It simply needs to staunch the flow of defections to OS X and iOS.

Thus the June 15 Windows-8-plus-Surface pre-announcement. A soup-to-nuts hardware and software platform that is unmistakably Apple-like. And proposes to trump Apple and make Tim Cook eat his refrigerator-toaster analogy in the process.

The only remotely valid reason for Microsoft to abandon Surface is if it suddenly spurred HP, Asus, Acer, et al to design consumer devices that are cooler than Surface and go head-to-head with Apple.

Anyone out there think that's possible?

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About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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