Ever since its prestigious release date a couple of months ago, the Microsoft Surface RT Tablet has only been able to garner “modest” sales and interest, as agreed repeatedly by company CEO Steve Ballmer. This has led much of the world’s contingency of critics to throw water on the whole Surface RT and Surface Pro project as largely dead in the water, but in reality it could prove that “modest” performance is all that Microsoft was looking for in the first place.
When considering the relationships Microsoft has with so many leading OEMs around the world, the Surface Tablet business model begins to look decidedly less disastrous and more of an inevitability. By going into the Tablet PC hardware market with the Surface Tablets, Microsoft has faced a bit of a tricky balancing act to say the least.
On one side of the argument, there’s little denying that a Surface RT Tablet garnering modest sales and a Surface RT winning little advance praise is a negative result. The company invested enormous efforts and capital in the production and marketing of the Surface Tablets, which at present aren’t really doing a great deal for the reputation of Windows 8. Seeing a Windows 8 or Windows RT product fail leads to other machines and devices running the OS being tarred with the same brush.
Conversely, had the Surface RT Tablet release date brought the start of an unstoppable success story of biblical proportions, this would not have come as positive news for Microsoft’s key partners like HP, Asus, Dell and Acer who are already finding it difficult to keep PC and laptop sales strong in the so-called post-PC era. Anything that further bolsters the power of the Tablet PC isn’t a good thing for PC-makers, on whom Microsoft is reliant.
The result therefore is a situation where the only happy medium for Microsoft is indeed a happy medium – or to put it another way the “modest” performance the Surface RT has so far seen.
Exactly how the Surface Pro release date will alter things remains to be seen, but for now at last it really is a case of less being more for Microsoft and its partners.