For the past three-odd years, Apple has been telling the world a version of the truth that may not stand up to reality. Some would refer to this as a lie. I think that’s a bit harsh. It’s more of a case of believing your own story. I’m from Texas. We have a slightly more colorful way of saying this but I’m trying to be family friendly here peeps.
With the introduction of the iPad the Cupertino company began pointing out that we live in a post-PC world where tablets will be the direction of travel for the industry. And let’s be honest and give them their due. They have done a phenominal job of marketing the iPad and the post-PC mythology. But the myth isn’t quite living up to reality and all you have to do is look at the Microsoft Surface numbers for this past quarter from Microsoft to see it. The Surface division recorded $908 million in revenue for the company last quarter.
That doesn’t sound very post-PC to me. That sounds like people wanted a better PC experience and that is exactly what Microsoft has delivered with Surface, specifically the Surface Pro 3.
As a reformed Apple user I can tell you that the distortion field of the post-PC mantra is attractive and it has been made even more attractive with every increasing improvements and sexiness to the iPad lineup. But there are some fundamentals to the iPad that looking back, thwart the computing experience. Simple things like having multiple apps visible at once. You simply can’t do that on an iPad – not yet at least. With Windows on a Surface you can and while it sounds like a simple thing, it is hugely powerful in making you more productive.
Then there is the whole file format and/or storage challenge. Microsoft has built a true ecosystem around Windows, Surface and
OneDrive. I can get to any file I have stored in OneDrive from any of my devices. Try that with iCloud. If I want to use the presentation app Keynote from Apple, in order for me to use it on an iPad or iPhone I must store it in the Keynote folder in iCloud. That is restrictive in the sense that it limits how I can organize my files that best suits me. That’s not the case with OneDrive. Microsoft has left the power of choice in the hands of users which, coupled with a compelling device like the Surface Pro 3, gives a user experience that people have longed for in this supposed post-PC world.
Windows users are not immune to being attracted to the sexiness of the iPad. I was and I’m sure there are a slew of you reading this who have an iPad within reach. You may even be reading it on your iPad. Hey, I get it. I was there once too. But it is that appeal that Microsoft has had to capture and get back into their camp. It took them a few iterations of the Surface but they seem to have hit the balance in the Surface Pro 3. It’s sexy but highly functional and expandable. It is a true tablet but it runs real Windows.
Microsoft, I think, knows they have a winner on their hands in the Surface Pro 3. They continue to advertise it heavily, highlighting the productivity gains and flexibility of the device. That’s all that people wanted and they have provided it. There is no reason to think that the Surface division won’t break the $1 billion barrier this quarter given we have the holiday season fast approaching.
Will Microsoft with the Surface lineup outsell the iPad? Not likely in the short term. Have they however proven that we are not quite in the post-PC world? Undoubtedly.