Microsoft Surface Pro Tablet Must Overcome 10 Market Challenges

NEWS ANALYSIS: Microsoft will start shipping its Surface Pro tablet soon. Although it may receive a stronger market reception than the Surface RT, it will still face some challenges.

Microsoft’s Surface Pro has reportedly started leaving the manufacturing facility, meaning the device is close to launch. Microsoft so far hasn’t said exactly when it will start selling the tablet, which comes with a 10-inch screen and Windows 8 Pro.

But it has stated that the tablet’s release date will be sometime in “early 2013.” Microsoft has also said that prices of the Surface Pro will start at $899.

At first glance, the Microsoft Surface Pro looks to be a truly novel device. The tablet is bigger than Apple’s iPad, comes with a full version of Windows 8 and has one of the slickest designs in the marketplace. Plus, with a cover that doubles as a keyboard, the device appears to have the kind of innovation that would make it poised for greatness.

However, the Surface Pro, as nice as it might be, is entering a hostile marketplace that gave its predecessor, the Surface RT, an indifferent reception. Apple’s iPad is dominant, Android is gaining ground at a rapid rate and Microsoft has yet to cement its presence in the tablet market. Simply put, the Surface Pro will have to address some issues before it can establish itself as a worthy competitor in the tablet market.

But what are the issues that it will face? Read on to find out:

1. The Surface RT’s legacy

Microsoft’s Surface RT launched last year with hopes of establishing a beachhead for the eventual launch of the Surface Pro. Instead, consumers and enterprise users saw it as a second-rate alternative to the iPad and largely ignored Microsoft’s first tablet model. Microsoft’s Surface Pro must overcome that identity crisis when it launches in the coming weeks.

2. Windows 8 adoption

Windows 8 hasn’t been ramping up to the extent that Microsoft might have hoped. In the enterprise, especially, the operating system hasn’t been adopted by many organizations yet, due to its entirely new design and budgetary concerns. Since the Surface Pro is running Windows 8 Pro, its sales might be hobbled by its operating system.

3. Windows 8 competitors

At the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month, several PC vendors, including Lenovo and HP, showed off Windows 8-based tablets. Those devices will be hitting store shelves soon, which will make it harder for the Surface Pro to gain a leadership position. As the iPad has proven, it’s much better to be the only show in town, rather than one that shares the limelight with several other products running the same operating system.

4. The iPad is an insurmountable presence

Speaking of the iPad, that device has vanquished any and all competitors that have challenged it. Now, it’s Microsoft’s turn to try and slay the beast. Chances are, the Surface Pro won’t be able to achieve that goal, but if Microsoft can find a way to pick up the scraps left by Apple’s tablet, that might not be such a bad thing.

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...