Microsoft Surface Pro Tablet Must Overcome 10 Market Challenges

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2013-01-16 Print this article Print

5. Customer education

The Surface Pro looks exactly like the Surface RT. At first glance, the Surface Pro’s Windows 8 Pro looks like Windows RT. That means customers might become confused over the differences between the products. To address that, Microsoft will need to educate would-be customers on the products’ major differences. The success of that education will determine the Surface Pro’s fate.

6. The value argument

Microsoft could have some trouble making the value argument to customers. The iPad starts at $499 and goes up to $829 for the high-end version. Microsoft’s Surface Pro prices start at $899. Customers seeing those two price points might hesitate to buy Microsoft’s option.

7. App support

Although Windows 8 is adding new applications to its digital marketplace each day, it’s still far behind iOS and Android in the kind of mobile apps favored on tablets. In the tablet space, especially, customers want to have as many applications available to them as possible. Unfortunately for Microsoft, right now, it’s losing that battle.

8. Timing

If the Surface Pro launches in late January or early February, as expected, Microsoft might have some trouble getting customers to come out to stores to buy the device. Historically, the best time to launch a technology product is late in the year to take advantage of the holiday shopping season. To launch a tablet a month or so after consumers have spent all of their cash isn’t the best idea.

9. Addressing Microsoft’s brand problems

Microsoft isn’t exactly the most beloved company in the world. Granted, its brand is viewed more favorably now than it was in the late-1990s. But the company is viewed by some to be a stodgy, aging company that lacks a modern vision with products that are burdened with security weaknesses. That could contribute to tepid Surface Pro sales. It’s something Microsoft must start addressing right now.

10. The “coolness” factor

There’s no debating that the Surface Pro is a nice-looking device with some neat features. However, Microsoft hasn’t done enough yet to make customers believe that it’s truly a “cool” product that can rival the tablet designs of other established players. In the tablet market, the “coolness” factor sells a product. Thus Microsoft’s tablet must have that coolness factor, even if the company is seen as lacking it.

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