So I woke up this morning t to see the Microsoft announced its Surface tablet. Since I was burned by Vista a few years ago, I decided I wasn’t going to be an early adopter of Windows 8. But the tablet looks interesting.
But I still think they will drop the ball.
What bothered me the most was the pictures from the announcement. Steve Ballmer standing in front of a cheering crowd in smart casual clothing showing off what the “kids” would love. This is how you do things these days—you try to be the rock star. That’s how Apple does it, so that’s how everyone does it. But Microsoft isn’t Apple. Everything Apple does is not great.
I would like Microsoft to do what they do best—take an existing idea (copy) and make it available to everyone. They copied Windows, but they made it available to everyone. They made it easier for software developers to code on, so millions of apps were built. They put it in people’s offices. They let manufacturers build new specs of hardware. They made the special things about Apple boring and mainstream.
I looked at the Microsoft Surface “About” page on Microsoft.com and see things like “Now you can chat with friends and respond to emails comfortably”. I love it when their marketing people try to sell it by making assumptions about what the mindless masses would do with it. I don’t want to see any pictures of people on skateboards or young people with perfect teeth excitedly pointing at a tablet. I don’t like the assumption that all anyone does these days is chat with friends and update Facebook. Windows succeeds because people use what they make as a tool—and not as a toy.
I use Windows because I like it better than I like the Mac. I stopped using an iPhone because I liked the freedom you get from Android.
The Surface marketing looks like the marketing for the Zune.
I don’t want Microsoft to try to join the cool kids table. I want them to make something I can use. They could really hit this one out of the park. But they have to stop trying to be Apple.
I hope they don’t blow it.