Microsoft renews efforts in tablet battle vs. iPad
By The Los Angeles Times
Published: Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Microsoft Corp. had a rough go with the first generation of its Surface tablets, but the company hasn't let those early struggles deter its mission to compete in the tablet market.
The first Surface tablets — the RT and Pro — were slow to sell, so much so that Microsoft took a $900 million charge over the summer because of unsold inventory. Later, the company also cut the prices of both products.
The Surface was supposed to be Microsoft's answer to Apple Inc.'s iPad, but despite ads that showed off some of the Surface's superior features, Apple still has a dominant grip on the tablet market.
But Panos Panay, corporate vice president of Microsoft and the creator of the Surface tablet, said the company is staying the course. He said he believes customers who want to use their tablets to get work done will see the benefits of the Surface.
“If the team stays focused and the people believe in what they're building, I think you're going to see that in the products,” Panay said during a recent interview. “It comes down to this: If you're making great products, people will buy them.”
Panay said it was important for Microsoft to stick to its brand and focus on users who “want to be able to get more done.”
“If that's not your primary goal and it's about watching movies or playing games and only that, that's a great thing. And people can select the best device for that,” Panay said. “But if your goal is to get more done, and we stuck with that, the promise of this product brings that truth to life.”
Microsoft will release the second generation of the tablets — the Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro — on Oct. 22, and they are already available for pre-order online. They are faster, thinner and lighter than their predecessors, and Microsoft has also improved them in other areas.
Panay said the upcoming gadgets feature higher-resolution screens, and their glare has been reduced to some of the lowest levels in the industry, according to Microsoft. Additionally, the Surface's new kickstand has a second viewing angle that Panay said makes the tablet easier to set on one's lap and more comfortable for tall people to use. There is now a silver color option for the tablet as well as the original black.
But perhaps more important, Microsoft has beefed up the battery life on its tablet, addressing the chief complaint about the first generation of the Surface. The Surface 2 has 25 percent more battery life than its predecessor and now lasts 10 hours — the same as an iPad — and the Surface 2 Pro received a 75 percent increase in battery life. Microsoft did not say how long the battery lasts on the Surface 2 Pro.
“Both products had a significant focus in making sure if people were going to be productive, we needed more battery life in both products,” Panay said.
He said Microsoft also has improved the pricing for the Surface.
For starters, Microsoft will continue to sell last year's Surface RT for $349, giving first-time customers a lower-cost option.
Second, Microsoft is selling the Surface 2 for $449, which is $50 less than what its predecessor debuted for last year. Microsoft also is including its suite of Office programs with the purchase of the Surface 2.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- More women seize opportunities to start businesses
- Meat prices drain barbecue budgets
- Salad dressing company manages growth
- Pa. unemployment rate falls to lowest since 2008; 12,000 more enter workforce
- Lawsuit challenges Hollywood standard of unpaid internships
- Investment in Western Pa. startups reaches 5-year high
- Squeezed by competition, Chobani to expand offerings
- Retailers tailor store experience to phones
- Record cold facilitates coal’s comeback
- Consol Energy transitions as leadership changes hands
- Low pay, commutes among top stressors