When the Surface RT was previewed in June, 2012, the inevitable comparisons with the iPad began. Of course back then, critics could only speculate about the Surface. But then came October, and the criticism and comparisons intensified to point of bordering on the ridiculous.
In most side by side comparisons no matter how well the Surface RT performed, the iPad somehow always edged it out. It got to the point where I sometimes wondered if certain reviewers were being paid to bash the device. And being a proud Surface RT owner, I sometimes invaded (some would say trolled) the comments sections of negative reviews to defend it. Now, three months after its release, what the Surface RT is and isn’t, is much clearer. And the ridiculous comparisons to the iPad have been proven to be, well, ridiculous! But still, even when writing a positive article about the Surface RT, there are some who continue to hedge their bets.
David Needle, in his article “Take heart Microsoft, critics slammed the iPad too” wrote, “No. The iPad was not the first tablet computer, but it had a huge first mover advantage in creating the market for a consumer, mass market tablet and has established a dominant position. There are now many innovative competitors that I think have an excellent chance to chip away at the iPad, but not seriously threaten its leading position anytime soon.” He also posts, that for Surface products, the “price isn’t right”, and that “Microsoft needs a new pricing strategy.”
Writing further, he comments, “Along with improvements, like the inevitable expansion of apps available in the Windows Store, I think Microsoft should give up on the idea of merely matching the iPad’s price if it’s serious about giving Surface RT a chance to succeed over the long haul.”
But the Surface RT and the Surface Windows Pro are not simply tablets, they’re hybrids; and comparing them to the iPad now, rings hollow. When one considers their build quality, their processing power, and their small form factor compared to products that have the same capabilities, such as laptops and ultrabooks, their pricing seems reasonable.
Only time will tell whether or not either or both of the Surface devices will succeed. But reducing their prices so that they can compete with a product that is really only similar because of its form factor can’t be good strategy. Yes, the iPad was innovative; and it changed the mobile landscape. But the Surface RT and the Surface Windows pro are a revolution. And revolutions don’t start with an explosion, they start with a whisper.