A Different Perspective

A week ago, I sat in an auditorium and listened to Steve Sinofsky talk about the tablet market. He talked about how the iPad was a great device, and a logical extension of the iPhone. Give iOS a bigger screen and all of the sudden you could do some things better on this new device. He talked about Android tablets, and Google’s learning process there, going from a phone OS on a tablet to eventually building Holo and creating a tablet-specific experience. He had nothing but good things to say about both competitors. I couldn’t tell just how sincere he was being, I don’t know Mr. Sinofsky all that well, but his thoughts were genuine, his analysis spot-on. Both Apple and Google tablets were good, in their own ways. What Steve said next didn’t really resonate with me until I had spent a few days with Surface. He called Surface and Windows RT Microsoft’s “perspective” on tablets. I don’t know if he even specifically called it a tablet, what stuck out was his emphasis on perspective.

I then listened to Panos Panay, GM of Microsoft’s Surface division, talk about wanting to control the messaging around Surface. He talked about how Microsoft’s June 18th event was scheduled because Surface was about to hit a point in its production where he could no longer guarantee there wouldn’t be substantial leaks about what the product actually was. He talked about the strict usage and testing guidelines everyone at Microsoft was forced to adhere to, again to avoid major leaks. He didn’t want Surface to be judged immediately and cast aside on someone else’s terms, because of some leak. Panos Panay wanted Microsoft to be the ones to bring Surface to market. Sure some rumors leaked about it before the June 18th event. A couple of weeks earlier, while I was in Taiwan, I even heard the local OEMs complaining about it (a lot of the “surprised” public outrage by Taiwanese OEMs was mostly politics). But for the most part, we didn’t know what Surface looked like and we had no concept of its design goals. Touch and Type Cover were both well guarded secrets.

I started off by recounting both of these stories for a reason. After using Microsoft’s Surface for the past week I can say that I honestly get it. This isn’t an iPad competitor, nor is it an Android tablet competitor. It truly is something different. A unique perspective, not necessarily the right one, but a different one that will definitely resonate well with some (not all) users. After the past week I also understand Panos Panay’s desire for secrecy. From a distance, without using one, Surface is easy to judge. It’s a Windows tablet that doesn’t run most Windows applications, that doesn’t have most of the same new mobile apps that iOS and Android have, and it’s not priced aggressively enough to make those facts disappear. After living with Surface however, I understand the appeal. It’s worth a discussion, perhaps even consideration as it does some things better than any tablet on the market, and it does others worse. Like all tablets (or smartphones even), there is no perfect platform, there are simply combinations of features and tradeoffs that resonate better with some users more than others. There are different perspectives.

Surface is Microsoft’s perspective. With the exception of some technical display discussion, Microsoft hardly mentioned the iPad in our Surface briefing. And when it did, it did so in a positive light. Microsoft isn’t delusional, the iPad is clearly a very well executed tablet. At the same time it believes there’s room for something else.

Surface: Simply Put
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  • MilwaukeeMike - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Its not racism, its stereotyping. Racism would be if he said Indians were inferior somehow, prejudice would be if he had no prior experience with Indians and Apple devices, but since he does and he's applying it to this example, its a stereotype. Can we ignore the fool and move on now? Reply
  • Mumrik - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Why don't we have a report function?
    I don't even care if it's racism or trolling, he just needs to go away.
    Reply
  • Sufo - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Downvote him? Yes. Report him? No, that's ridiculous. Reply
  • kevith - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Where is the downvote button when you need it? Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    "but it definitely has everything to do with him being an Indian, " - Possibly the stupidest comment I've ever read. Ever. Reply
  • seapeople - Friday, October 26, 2012 - link

    I know... isn't Anand French-Canadian? Pretty silly comment. Reply
  • yourfather239 - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Yeah, He really likes his Apple devices and so does every Indian pos out there, it's nothing new. Moreover, in that part of the world cast system is at its finest, and if you think that Apple devices are a status symbol in America then multiply that shit thinking with at least a 1000 and you have the Indian mind set at work. So whether its Anand or Patel or any other Indian pos, just keep this in mind that they love their Apple devices for a reason. Reply
  • magreen - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    What you have written is disgusting. You are not wanted here. Please leave. Reply
  • Sivar - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    An intolerant racist on the Internet, with such gems as "Indian pos" and "the Indian mind set" (because there's only one).
    As user "magreen" said, this is not welcome here. If you continue to spew vacuous racist drivel, neither are you.
    Reply
  • PrajithNair - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Well said sir, well said. Reply

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