Getting off Apple and going all Google has increased my respect for both companies. I've come to realize that the very best mobile experience right now is built on a foundation of Google services on Apple hardware. I wish only that these two companies could get along better, and that Apple will allow more Google integration on the iPhone.
Surface Pro pricing likely to disappoint -- everyone
Microsoft has finally revealed pricing for Surface with Windows 8 Pro and the response from potential customers and OEMs is likely to be disappointment.
The 64 GB version will run $899 and the 128 GB version will cost $999. Those prices don't include the Touch Cover or Type Cover but they do include a Surface pen.
While Microsoft is trying to pitch this Surface as somewhere between a laptop and a tablet, most potential buyers are sure to compare the Surface with Windows 8 Pro against the iPad. And that will make the price hard to swallow.
By comparison, the 64 GB iPad is $699.
Microsoft has been hoping to get consumers to buy the Surface, in the same way they buy the iPad, and then bring it to work. The Surface with Windows 8 Pro is definitely more appealing as a device to use at work than the original Surface RT, which doesn't run full versions of Office or Outlook. But consumers will need a reason to pay more for the Surface with Windows 8 Pro than an iPad and it's not clear that people know what that reason is.
Up against laptops or convertibles, the new Surface is a slightly better deal, which is sure to annoy OEMs that are already annoyed that Microsoft has gotten into the hardware business.
Adding the $119 or $129 keyboard to the Surface with Windows 8 Pro puts it just below the price of some of the more hyped convertibles. The Lenovo Ideapad Yoga runs for $1099, for instance.
Microsoft itself seems uncertain whether to position it against tablets or laptops. So it's taken a middle ground.
In a blog post announcing the pricing, Panos Panay, general manager of Microsoft Surface wrote: "Surface with Windows 8 Pro will run your current Windows 7 desktop applications – it's a full PC AND a tablet."
Trying to define a new category -- including by throwing in a pen -- is going to be a tough sell in a market so dominated by the iPad.
We'll have to wait until January, when the Surface with Windows 8 Pro goes on sale -- just missing the holiday shopping season -- to see if Microsoft's positioning works.
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Surface has been a stiff so far, but Microsoft reportedly has big expectations for its next fiscal year. Here's why the company may not be crazy.
Brandon Porco, the chief technologist for defense contractor Northrop Grumman, says that IT will have to try lots of different things and move quickly to keep abreast of evolving employee needs. "Google has it very well-patterned: Launch and iterate."
Although Apple is often accused of not being an enterprise company, it's only in the last few years that Apple has abandoned its enterprise-oriented products. The real story may be that Apple's discovered that making enterprise-focused efforts simply don't deliver a huge return on investment.