Microsoft Surface Pro: The Good, The Bad and The Reality

Microsoft Surface Pro: The Good, The Bad and The Reality

Microsoft's Surface Pro has turned some heads in IT, for sure, even given its shortcomings. The Windows 8-based Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) tablet made its debut earlier this year and was quickly seen selling out.  (Although Staples recently said that sales were falling short of expectations.) Less clear is how much inventory Microsoft actually had. But either way, people are interested in the Surface Pro (even as Samsung seems to be turning its back on Windows RT), in spite of Surface Pro's high price, low storage availability (after taking into account how much is taken up by the OS and standard apps) and Microsoft's refusal so far to sell the device through the channel.

Maybe you remember my IT friend whose company was very interested in the Surface Pro, but balked when I told him what the price was going to be ($899 and up, not including any accessories like a keyboard).  Well yesterday that friend told me that his company plans to order some of these devices after all. Why? Because while business users at his company love the iPad, they have an unrealistic view of how productive they can be using it. For instance, there are still hoops to jump through if you want to present a PowerPoint document using an iPad.  And it's IT that has to jump through those hoops, not the user.

Surface Pro Better for Business

CRN confirmed my anecdotal thoughts on Surface Pro yesterday, publishing results of a poll of channel partner readers that showed that 75 percent believe that Surface is a better product for business customers than Apple's iPad. The article goes on to quote a partner who says that Surface Pro is better for productivity than the iPad because iPad is really limited to information and game consumption while Surface Pro offers the productivity features you get with a laptop plus touch functionality of iPad at an affordable price.  The survey also revealed that partners believe that Surface Pro would offer better profitability than iPad for partners. (I couldn't finish reading the article, however, because it required me to download it to my iPad or Windows 8 device. I don't have either one of those.)

On another note, I did make it over to Best Buy eventually to check out the Surface Pro in person recently and I've got to say that I was unimpressed by how bulky it was compared with other options. Other Windows 8 tablets that were on display next to Surface Pro provided bigger screens, a thinner form factor and a lighter weight than Microsoft's Surface Pro. Yet they all lacked storage space after the OS sprawl. Next on Microsoft's to-do list for Surface Pro should be a lighter OS and a bigger SSD.

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