So the Microsoft Surface is still D.O.A. (as predicted a long time ago…)

“…One of the bright spots in Microsoft’s (MSFT) quarterly report last week was that Surface sales more than doubled sequentially. The software giant rang up $893 million in sales of its Windows-fueled tablet during the holiday quarter, [up from $400M in Q3.]

However, the more that one thinks about it, the worse that Microsoft’s $893 million in Surface sales becomes.


How many Surfaces did Microsoft actually sell during the quarter? Well, the Surface 2 starts at $449, but the Surface Pro 2 can set buyers back as much as $1,799. …the the cheapest Surface Pro 2 — the one running Windows 8.1 Pro instead of the scaled-down Windows RT operating system — starts at $899. So when Microsoft says $893 million in tablet sales it likely translates into a little more than a million devices.

Apple on the other hand sold more than 26 million tablets [$11.5 billion worth] during the [September] quarter. If we look at the unit levels sequentially, Microsoft’s sales grew by less than a million sequentially while Apple sold nearly 12 million more iPads than it did during the prior three months.”

Note: This is not meant as particularly pro-Apple, and Android sales figures are also impressive and are in essence blocking Microsoft’s entry into a lower-priced tier (which is likely why MSFT didn’t even try to enter it?). Exact sales figures  and revenues for Android tablet vendors are much harder to come by/break out however, so this comparison of Surface and iPads shall suffice.

The point being: Remember that the Surface was supposed to be the rationale for Windows 8’s formerly-known-as-Metro touch-centric interface, as well as MSFT’s entire “Devices and Services” strategy. From the formerly massively dominant PC OS vendor, such miniscule share for the Surface line is nothing short of embarrassing.

Let’s just say for argument’s sake that Android tablets sold the exact same number as iPads (it’s likely more in the direction of 60 / 40), so the total being 2 x 26M = 52M. 1M or so Surface tablets sold would be about 2% share!

Again, this is what Ballmer et al. essentially bet the farm on in terms of trying to regain some relevance in tablets and Mobile. Except that a 10.6″, 2 pound device (the Pro) qualifies as neither, as I predicted repeatedly since long ago (6/2012).

Will MSFT’s next CEO simply put an end to this entire embarrassment and kill the Surface line, in order to concentrate on all enterprise/cloud services, all the time?

Has Google already capitulated in the Chat App wars?

Two brief items: Messaging Apps are now bigger than social networks
Googles mobile search just got a boost from Facebook

= Google capitulation to the Chat App economy?

The latter deal especially trying to salvage things for search, given that Google+ went nowhere?

The former is sign of my long-held conviction that Google made a massive strategic mistake in trying to “fight the last war” against FB with Google+, while in the process missing out almost completely on the “Messaging Revolution” of recent years, which by virtue of owning Android they SHOULD have owned, or at least fast-followed…

At a minimum Zuckerberg’s willingness to drop $19B (10% of his company!) on WhatsApp last year (2/2014) should have awoken them to the threat, but I’ve never seen much of an effort to even play. Breaking out Hangouts from the tarnished Google+ brand was certainly far too late to matter much.

No two ways about it: Microsoft hasn’t gone anywhere in Mobile so far

Screen shot 2012-04-09 at 1.24.26 PMWhile we are witnessing and analyzing what I at least take to be the slow-motion trainwreck that will be Windows 8/RT and the Surface RT tablet, it is worth bringing back to mind for a moment another already full-fledged trainwreck that is Windows Phone thus far. Nokia is still only selling Lumia phones at a 1 Million PER MONTH run rate in Q3.

Compare that to the 1 Million+ Android devices being activated PER DAY, as well as the recently announced 26.9M iPhones Apple sold in Q3, which is about a 300k per day run-rate. Microsoft and Nokia are going exactly nowhere, market share in Europe (which was supposed to be more Nokia-friendly than the U.S. market!)

“…Across the “big five” EU countries – the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain and France – Windows Phone now show[ing] a 5% share, up one point from a year ago.”
-> Guardian (many more sales stats there)

And TechCrunch recently wrote that “Windows Phone Is Taking Share From RIM”, which incidentally is dying and has been toast for a good while now. So when can we go ahead and declare that Windows Phone 7.x at least has been an unmitigated failure?

Yes, it is possible that things will pick up a smidge over time with WP 8.x, and some supposedly super-secret advantage of getting access to Windows compliant apps on a smartphone. Which so far is belied by the fact that there are very few such apps ready for Windows RT and the Surface RT.

Every review so far, even the largely positive trending ones, are complaining about the fact that the apps situation is looking very bad for MSFT, and Robert Scoble at least thinks from his mobile developer contacts he surveys regularly that that isn’t about to change much at all.

And you may say “who cares what Scoble thinks”, but in reality wasn’t the Windows RT and Surface RT launch supposed to be what would stem the tide of MSFT #PostPC era irrelevance and make everything better? So one would think that MSFT would have pulled out all of the stops to get a lot more apps developed, it’s not like they don’t have the funds to buy/bait developer interest directly.

So I just have to ask, what is the hold-up there?! Frankly, it doesn’t make any sense, especially since MSFT have already now been through the “chicken-and-egg” problem (essentially a vicious circle of negative reinforcers) re:low amount of apps / low sales / low developer interest / low amount of apps with WP7.x for about 2 years.

For Steve Ballmer, who once snidely remarked that he didn’t get Googles #Android / #mobile strategy, maybe the “learning curve” really is infinitely steep…?