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Monthly Archives: June 2012

is it Microsoft Surface? Or THE Microsoft Surface. How about Surface by Microsoft. At least it isn’t Microsoft Surface for Windows 8 RT. Oh, that’s the official title. Microsoft at it again.

The Pro is a product that serves no purpose other than a product that will be bought by stupid early adopters who mistake this as something better than a ultra book. I think the Pro is dead on arrival.

Microsoft has been getting a lot of flack for how everything and anything. Critics are giving bad reviews to a product that hasn’t come out yet. It doesn’t help that not even a third through the product presentation, the Surface crashes and has to be switched out for a fresh unit. It seems like that was planned or expected somehow. Regardless, the product isn’t ready. RELAX.

Regardless, I like the Surface. It’s a product that adds something fresh to the market. Android and IOS are the de-facto tablet operating system choices and I feel innovation has been stagnant from both ends. Surface probably will not succeed in the tablet market but it has a good chance of helping drive the future computing user experience.

Pricing has not been released, but if they try to match prices with Apple, Surface is going to have a really hard time competing with the iPad. I think price points for the Surface RT and Surface Pro should be, $349 and $749, respectively. Microsoft can afford to lose money for the sake of sales on this product. Microsoft may not be as dominant as they once were, but their cash resources are as abundant as before.

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The mystic of American made products have always been interesting to me. Companies can get away with outsourcing by stating it’s designed in America. Some companies can get products 90% completed and have shipped to their home countries for finalization, but only then can the company say the product was made in America or Italy, etc.

American Apparel has been strongly stead forward with their vertical integration strategy of American manufactured clothing. The company has been known to produce clothing, such as t-shirts, hoodies, and underwear, in their factory in LA. They produced their own clothing, have in-house dye facilities, and shipped to their own retail stores. The company can respond quickly to trends and be able to stay ahead of the curve against competitors who may typical see months of planning before production and then retail.

Unfortunately, according to a recent Los Angeles Times interview, internal and external pressures are causing the company to take a long hard look at outsourcing production to overseas factories. Financial strains are the main culprits of these problems. Posting strong revenues, the company face overhead expenses befitting their quality American made strategy.

Can you still call the company American Apparel if it’s not fully made in America?

So Microsoft dropped a bombshell on the tech industry on Monday. A secretive, but well speculated and informed bombshell. The Surface is probably the most important product launch for Microsoft since the original Xbox.

This is not the first time that Microsoft has tried Tablet PCs. Their first effort were hardware driven products with patched on hand writing recognition features. Clunky devices that were more laptop than true tablets of today. Microsoft would have been more successful if the product was more integrated.

Make no bones about it, Microsoft is still all about the software. But for a company known for 3 decades as a software company, suddenly making hardware products is a big leap. Microsoft used to just license software and wait for hardware manufactures to create and innovate around their product. With this strategy, there was not an harmonious connection between hardware and software. Windows based PCs feel like clobbered messes. Junk software wth mix and match hardware. Microsoft is taking a stronger control with their overall product presentation. Their own software and hardware in a strong synergetic fit.

Microsoft has also been known to have one of the most confusing product segmentations in the tech industry. Windows 7 comes in 6 flavors with also 3 additional sub editions. Microsoft thankfully avoided that with the surface and Windows 8. 4 editions of Windows 8 and there are only two flavors of their tablet, Surface and Surface Pro. No more confusion and regrettable decisions at the computer store. You’re either a basic user who only wants the essentials or someone who knows their way around the computer and wants full power. This is a sign of the evolution at Microsoft.

No longer a broken company with a disjointed company culture, Microsoft now has a strong design and software language.  The future is strong for Microsoft and the technology industry as a whole. Competition is strong and innovations are coming. Android and iOS are at the top, but Windows Phone 8 is a strong product. Microsoft has answered the Mobile challenge and they are coming in strong.