Strong Sales for Microsoft's Surface, But Enterprise Is Cautious
It's a good sign for Redmond. Microsoft is reporting that its Windows RT Surface tablet's $499 model sold out in a single day of pre-orders. The next batch is supposed to ship out within three weeks.
Consumers can still buy the $599 32 GB model and the $699 64 GB model, both with the black touch cover, for delivery by Oct. 26.
Despite what appear to be strong presales, Laura DiDio, principal analyst at Information Technology Intelligence Consulting, told us the mood among enterprises is cautious with respect to the Windows RT Surface tablet. The ITIC Windows 8 Deployment and Usage Trends survey polled more than 500 organizations in September and offers some key takeaways.
Windows 8 vs. RT
There is some market confusion over the difference between Windows RT and Windows 8 tablets. Windows RT is compiled to run on tablets that use a low-powered, ARM-based processor, and while it looks and functions much like Windows 8, is not compatible with legacy Windows applications.
Full Windows 8 tablets use a third-generation Intel Core processor and are basically PCs in a tablet form factor. In general they can run legacy Windows applications.
"Overall, survey respondents are taking a wait-and-see attitude," DiDio said, noting that 24 percent of respondents said they were already using the Apple iPad and were satisfied with its performance. Eighteen percent said other device purchases take priority, and 16 percent said they were waiting to see how the Windows 8 Surface tablet was priced.
Microsoft has since announced Surface tablet pricing for the initial Windows RT models. Windows 8 models are expected early next year. There are three RT models: a 32 GB version is priced at $499; a 32 GB version bundled with a black Touch Cover priced at $599; and a 64 GB version bundled with a black Touch Cover priced at $699.
How Microsoft Can Compete
"Not surprisingly, only 9 percent of survey participants said the touch interface factored into their decision not to purchase the Windows 8 Surface Tablet, since touch is standard for tablets and smart phones," DiDio said.
"The Windows 8 RT Surface Tablet is another story. In the tablet and smart phone arenas, corporations and consumers expect to use and, in fact, embrace the touchscreen interface. In the tablet arena, Microsoft faces two significant challenges to adoption: their names are iPad and Android. Microsoft is late to the tablet market, where the Apple iPad has a commanding 68 percent market share."
DiDio told us Microsoft needs to craft a cogent, compelling marketing campaign and back it up with strong features, excellent technical service and support and an aggressive pricing model if it is to have any chance of being a serious player in the tablet market. Microsoft is reportedly spending $1.5 billion to market Windows 8, but the price of the Surface tablets does not dramatically undercut the competition.
"Microsoft must do more than just enumerate the various product features and capabilities -- as powerful as they may be," DiDio said. "It must also emphasize to current and prospective corporate customers the myriad technical and business differentiators between Windows 8, the Surface tablet and rival devices."
Posted: 2012-10-20 @ 1:11pm PT
I pre-ordered my 32 GB with Black Touch Cover for $599 and it is going to be here by 10/26. I have an iPad 2 also but I want a light weight tablet that I can plug a regular mouse into and use Remote Desktop to work on my PC. That way I only bring surface and a mouse when I travel. Right now I travel with an iPad2, laptop and a mouse. It will be much easier to travel without my bulky laptop and an iPad.
Posted: 2012-10-19 @ 4:11pm PT
Windows RT is just like a Windows 7 Starter, it's just that you cannot upgrade it to any version of Win 8 or Win 8 Pro. The Windows RT (Runtime) is like a smartphone with no 3G or 4G, but it's good in connecting with Wifi, all programs can only be download from the Windows Store, good thing about it though is it comes with the Office home and student 2013 that you can get for free once launched next year. My colleague and I were talking and expecting that this one will not sell well compared to other tablets but heeey....it's out of stock already and you have to wait 2-3 weeks for the next batch. I was able to play around with the real Win RT and boy that was so fast...just to load the windows takes only seconds....the kick stand and the keyboard was a plus factor too...but I guess I'll still go for the win 8 that will come out in 3 months....that one worth the money...
Posted: 2012-10-19 @ 2:17pm PT
If anyone in the IT department is still confused about the difference between Windows RT and Windows 8 tablets, that person needs to go.
As with any new technology, cautious mood is a given. There is always software that needs new UI, equipments that needs new driver and new security issues to consider. Slow take on new devices is the norm for enterprises. Satisfy with what you got now and not keep up will be the problem.
Posted: 2012-10-19 @ 12:50pm PT
Speculation related to Microsoft Windows 8 and associated devices has been anecdotal with very few getting their facts straight. Windows RT screams enterprise. You get the benefit of the lower cost for Windows RT devices and extended battery while also being able to still access x86 applications from the Windows RT tablets using the RemoteApp feature in Windows Server 2012.
You can remotely stream x86 applications via the updated RemoteApp feature baked into Windows Server 2012.