I’m sure most clicked on this article believing I, the author, was either an outlandish fan boy or simply producing click bait. You’d be wrong on both accounts though an argument could be made that I am somewhat a fan boy. This editorial is solely my opinion but I think its one that mirrors a lot of consumer and windows users mindsets. As a point of clarification the success metrics I speak of are not sales units or market position. I am speaking from the point that the Microsoft Surface is proving to be the vanguard for the next phase of mobile computing. Sure the iPad made possible the mainstreaming of tablets and larger mobile devices. I would be a fool to say that it didn’t. What I am referring to with the Surface is a device that can be perceived to work best on a touch interface but true thought has gone into the OS to allow input devices (keyboard and mouse) to have a more integrated feel.
The Surface is the first Microsoft produced hardware that I deemed a “must have”. It was unveiled at a time where I was in the midst of purchasing an iPad for my wife and myself. In an instant the iPad had been relegated to the “its good that consumers have options” pile in my head. My heart had been stolen and to sound totally cliché, it was love at first sight. A little background on myself. I’ve been a straight-laced guy my entire life. I don’t drink or smoke and never have. Lately though I’ve been consciously stripping away the sharpness to my life and going for a more edgy and vibrant way of enjoying life. The iPad has always represented what was popular, the mainstream. As much as people today wants to believe having an iDevice makes you cool the truth is that it just makes you mainstream. There is no inherent thrill and sense of living on the edge with an iDevice. Hundreds of millions are being sold each year because they are safe and you know what you’re getting. I have no idea what the user experience will be with the Surface. I’m under no illusions that the Surface will transform my lie as I know it. All I know is that I want it and will pay handsomely for it. I want one so badly that I’m delaying my upgrade for the Lumia 920 that I’ve been craving.
People, yes actual people, are already talking about the Surface. I’ve been watching my friends on Facebook and Twitter. They are sharing Surface with their friends and telling each other they like what they see. Its not just my tech-savvy friends but the ones who have iPhones and have been looking for something like an iPad but haven’t pulled the trigger yet. Combined with the billion dollar advertising budget for Windows 8 and the colorful contrast between device and keyboard the Surface will wow those who see it. Yes there are many pundits that say the change to Windows 8 is too abrupt and turn people off but there will be more, far more, people who see the visual screen and be drawn in. Just look at the new ads that Microsoft has produced for the Surface and Windows 8. They far exceed what most, including me, thought they’d be capable of. Both videos are consumer marketing at its best. They draw you in and make you feel an irrational desire to know more and possess it. Consumers don’t buy things, they are sold things. Selling your wares doesn’t always mean throwing the price front and center at every turn. Its bout creating a desire in the consumer to have the product. Ever notice how the best products usually don’t have the price shown up front? Its because if the customer wants the product they will rationalize in their head plenty of reasons whatever price they have to pay is justified.
To that end I say the Surface is already a success. I want one and will pay a premium to have it. I don’t care that it won’t magically transform my life and what I do. I want it simply because I do. Its pretty, colorful and looks like I’ll have a blast using it. Yes, I sound like someone unfit to make any adult decision and that’s the point. Marketing works when even the most revered minds are reduced to the most basic responses. The Microsoft Surface may have started out as a North Star product meant to inspire OEMs but its far exceeded that designation. It is now a symbol that times are changing and Microsoft and fun just might become good friends after all.
Am I totally out in left field on this? I don’t think so but I’ve been laughably wrong on occasion. Not that I care. Good times are coming people. If you’d like another great read I’d encourage you all to read former Microsoftie and current Amazon Mobile Division Exec Brandon Watson’s blog post on the Surface: Gangs of New York