Microsoft Priced the Surface to Be Competitive

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2012-06-19 Print this article Print

There are hundreds of small touches like this, from perimeter cooling to a built-in stylus, to support for a local-area network (LAN) client and network-based printing. In other words, this is the iPad alternative for the enterprise. Because it runs Windows, it€™s something the IT department is used to managing, security for Windows is a known quantity, and while the iPad learning curve isn€™t exactly steep, neither is the learning curve for Windows 8.

What this really means is that the Microsoft Surface, designed by Microsoft hardware engineers to be the ideal tablet for Windows 8, isn€™t really intended to be an iPad killer. Instead, it€™s an iPad alternative. The iPad is a device for consuming content, originally designed for consumer use, but adapted to the enterprise. The Surface is designed for creating, as well as consuming content, and is designed to work within the enterprise as well as for consumers.

The differences may seem slight, but they are very real. While the Surface will vie for market share in some parts of their respective shared markets, it€™s not a direct iPad rival. Instead, the Surface is designed to operate on a different level from the iPad. There will be buyers for the Surface who would never consider an iPad, and buyers for the iPad for whom the Surface is not the answer.

But what will catch the attention of the iPad fanciers is that the Surface is a brilliant piece of industrial design. The Surface was clearly manufactured to very tight tolerances, and it looks it. This is a device that is intended to feel good in your hands, to be as ergonomically perfect as a tablet device can be, and to make both the hardware and software work properly together. Of course, Apple does the same things with the iPad, and that means that we€™re seeing a form of competition where the race isn€™t to the bottom as it is in some areas of technology, but rather it€™s a race to excellence. It will improve the breed on both sides. It€™s pretty hard to argue with that. 

Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazine's Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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