Will Surface Surprise Apple?
Board: Microsoft Corp.
I went to the Microsoft Store in Bridgewater NJ yesterday. This was the first time ever in their store. I was there around 3PM. Store had some customers, but not a lot. I saw no purchasing going on, but really not sure about that. There were a lot of sales people, or whatever they are called. Most if not all seemed knowledgeable, helpful and polite. I talked to one in particular who seemed to know Win8 and Surface fairly well. I had not experienced either the Surface or Win8 till yesterday. I enjoyed both. The touch screen on Win 8 both PC and Surface are cool. I think I got used to it fairly quickly, and had no issues with the experience. The store had a wide array of products, from tablets, Lumia and HTC phones, laptops and desktops. They had a Samsung laptop displayed, that also converts to a tablet. Yet, they were out of it. I was wondering if they were phasing it out for Surface Pro.
I enjoyed my first time on the Surface. I first used the less expensive Touch Cover. I found that to be slightly awkward, and was feeling disappointed at first. One of the employees mentioned I should try the Type Cover as a comparison. I had no issues with the Type Cover, and it was a big improvement. The salesperson mentioned that Surface sales were brisk, and this person thinks sales will continue, especially when Surface Pro comes out. The machine felt strong in all respects. I kept plugging and unplugging connections, and all seemed fluid and strong. There was really nothing I did not like, other than the pricing of the Surface Pro. Granted, I have never used an iPad before, and occasionally play with my wife’s Kindle Fire. I am not sure if this is accurate, but the salesperson explained that the iPad and other tablets are consumer devices, whereas the Surface is a business and consumer device.
I was kidding with one of the salespeople that I was going to journey over to the Apple Store, and unlike the Microsoft Store, it might be packed with customers. The salesperson said, “You are probably correct. They have an installed base and have been around a lot longer.” I went to the store, and really the customer concentration was not vastly different at the Apple Store. There were more customers for sure, but whereas Microsoft employee to customer ratio seemed like 5:1, the Apple store seemed like 4:1. An Apple salesperson was showing me different devices and tablets. I saw a big screen which was a computer, and really nice, except it wasn’t touch screen. I was shown the iPad mini, iPad 2 and iPad Retina (I probably am getting the names wrong.) I was toying around with it, and it was okay, no great shakes. The Surface felt better and I liked it more, yet at a minimum, I have positive sub-conscious Microsoft bias. I asked the person how it compares with the Surface. The response went something like this: “I spent some time on the Surface, maybe about an hour. I liked it. It had lots of unique things that surprised me. I like the way Microsoft went off their Windows format, and seems to have completely changed that experience.” I asked, “Would you buy a Surface?” The salesperson responded with something like, “I have really only used Apple products, plus I work here, so I only buy Apple stuff. I bought my dad an iPad, and he is an old time Windows guy. He likes the iPad, but it has its application limitations. I think he would like the Surface because it can use some business applications. Yet, those applications are not the same as a laptop, so there are still limitations.” I asked “What about when Surface Pro comes out? It seems like other than what appears to be a high cost, you get a tablet that does full applications?” The Apple Salesperson said something like, “Are you sure, I have not heard of this product.” I suggested we check it out online. The Apple Salesperson said something like, “Wow, this is cool. You are right, a bit pricey, but first look and being introduced to it, it looks cool. I think my dad should see this.” I asked if he would consider buying his dad a Surface Pro as a gift, and the salesperson said, “I have to evaluate the cost and so forth, but this looks like something my dad would love. If I could substantiate the cost, I would definitely consider getting my dad the Surface Pro. Wow, I can’t believe I haven’t heard of this, it looks really cool.”
There are my 2 cents.
I submit this with bias and hope that Microsoft continues to succeed in her big picture ventures.