Surface, Windows 8 Debut as Big-Stakes Product Launches for Microsoft
NEWS ANALYSIS: The official introductions of the Surface tablet and Windows 8 at an event in New York seemed rather low key despite the fact that Microsoft has a lot riding on their success.Considering how much Microsoft has riding on the successful introduction of Windows 8 and the Surface Tablet, the launch event on Oct. 25 was almost laid back. Various Microsoft executives came out to talk about the new products, explained their use and conducted extensive show-and-tell sessions. In the process, they demonstrated how Windows 8 works on legacy and new computers as well as how it performs on tablets. What wasn’t obvious from the surprisingly calm atmosphere at the launch event was that Microsoft is essentially betting the company on the success of the many forms of Windows 8. While a failure of Windows 8 probably wouldn’t cause Microsoft to close its doors, it would have a catastrophic impact on the company’s future profitability and growth. But there was none of the frenetic energy of, say, the typical Apple launch. This isn’t to suggest there weren’t plenty of superlatives flying around. “These are the best PCs ever made,” was said several times. Some of the other comments heard from Microsoft executives were that the Surface kickstand has the feel of opening and closing the door of a high-end car. The Surface as a moment of inertia that’s low enough that it feels much lighter than its pound and a half. The magnesium case feels and looks like a fine watch.
A lot of emphasis was placed on the quality of the Surface’s construction. Apparently it can be dropped from great heights without damage. One Microsoft engineer glued skateboard wheels on the tablet and went skateboarding with it. That’s something you can’t do with an iPad. Actually, you can’t drop an iPad from any significant height either—I know—I’ve got kids with iPads.