Homepage This page's url is: -crn- Rankings and Research Companies Channelcast Marketing Matters CRNtv Events WOTC Jobs HPE Discover 2019 News Cisco Wi-Fi 6 Newsroom Dell Technologies Newsroom Hitachi Vantara Newsroom HP Reinvent Newsroom Lenovo Newsroom Nutanix Newsroom Cisco Live Newsroom HPE Zone Tech Provider Zone

State Of The Surface: Microsoft Set To Ramp Up Its Fight Against Apple

A new addition to the Surface line could be coming Wednesday as Microsoft goes after creative professionals.

The feelings of a prominent NFL coach notwithstanding, Microsoft is heading into its fall product event Wednesday with a lot of momentum around its Surface line of devices -- which rumors suggest is set to grow with at least one new addition this week.

The Surface line is "the premium Windows experience that you can get right now," Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst with IDC, told CRN. "That's not just for tablets -- it's even across PCs in many ways."

[Related: Apple, Microsoft Prep For Possible Device Launches Next Week]

Microsoft introduced the Surface Book laptop during its fall event last year to join other devices such as the premium 2-in-1 Surface Pro 4 and the lower-end Surface 3.

At Wednesday's event, the company is expected to debut the first all-in-one Surface PC, according to reports.

That computer would likely be aimed at competing with Apple's iMac and Microsoft appears to be particularly looking to spark defections from Apple devices among creative professionals, judging by how the Redmond, Wash., company is casting the Wednesday event. "Get ready to get creative," wrote Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft's corporate vice president for the Windows and Devices Group, on Twitter while posting a link about the Wednesday event.

Apple will hold its own event Thursday, but rumors suggest a new MacBook and MacBook Pro -- not an iMac -- will be unveiled.

The opening of a new front in Microsoft's battle with Apple comes as Surface sales continues to lag far behind the iPad.

For the first nine months of 2016, Surface generated revenue of $2.99 billion for Microsoft, not an insignificant amount but also well below the $4.88 billion in iPad sales that Apple generated in the April-June quarter alone (Apple reports earnings for the most recent quarter on Tuesday).

Apple CEO Tim Cook said during that quarter that the iPad Pro -- the device that most closely rivals the Surface Pro 4 -- had been driving the strong sales in the iPad line.

Douglas Grosfield, founder and CEO of Five Nines IT Solutions, a Kitchener, Ontario-based strategic service provider, noted that Apple is not the only player that Microsoft has to worry about. Lenovo, for one, has some compelling offerings that compete with Surface as well, including the ThinkPad X1 tablet, he said.

"I would love to see Microsoft continue to invest in the [Surface] product line. But I think they've got a ways to go. If they're going to continue it in that market, by investing some real R&D dollars in it, that horse has legs," Grosfield said. "If they back off on it, like they have in the past with other hardware experiments, I think it's an opportunity wasted for them."

The spotlight on Surface last week -- when New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick said he would no longer use the tablet on the sidelines due to technical issues -- pointed to how Microsoft's strategy has evolved over time, IDC's Ubrani said.

Microsoft paid $400 million to the NFL in 2013 to put Surface tablets into the hands of coaches and players on the sidelines, but at the time Microsoft was "far more focused on consumers then than they are today" for the Surface, Ubrani said.

Microsoft now is mostly targeting Surface devices for commercial purposes, including in education and enterprise, he said. "Consumer is not as important as it was back in 2013" for Microsoft's Surface push, Ubrani said.

Back to Top



sponsored resources