You don’t have to open a bible to understand the ancient Proverb that says pride cometh before the fall; you need only trace the haughty moves made by Microsoft over the last two decades to witness how arrogance can cripple a giant.
Microsoft was so busy forcing terrible versions of Windows down our throats, they missed all the PC makers who were continually diluting the flagship operating system with shoddy components and damaging bloatware. The company finally awakened to find a damaged product in an industry now focused on hardware and apps — never part of the MS wheelhouse. This is where the company Gates built ran into issues because, well, Gates left. Repeated attempts to bully their way into the mobile race came up empty and even close to crushing after literally flushing eight billion perfectly good dollars down the toilet by purchasing Nokia, the undisputed Yugo of smartphones.
Its failure in smartphones along with the garbage OS that resulted in Windows 8 provided a double whammy so bad it introduced Microsoft’s face with the floor. Goliath was left looking like a cockroach on its back after a shot of Raid. As bad as this was, the climb back to prominence has been good for Microsoft. They’ve since stayed out of the rat race of the smartphone derby and focused on their core products. Windows 10 has been a hit, Xbox One has satisfied its fan base and the Surface Tablet has provided a much-needed foothold in the device arena.
You really can’t talk about the recent release of the Surface Laptop without fully understanding the MS testimony. They are no longer the bully on the block, but the comeback kid. Like Apple in the early ’90s, Microsoft knows what it’s like to hit rock bottom, yet now finds itself standing on the rock of corporate salvation that is compelling hardware. You see, you have to look at this more than just another laptop, but a redemption song. To this end Microsoft has developed a very nice product. Out of the gate it will compete directly with the Apple’s Macbook Air and immediately standout in the ultra-light genre.
Microsoft obviously has college campus envy and it’s clear by the attention to design detail that they intend to go head-to-head with Apple with a younger, more fashionable audience. The $999 device features an all-aluminum lid that goes a step further on the inside inside with an Italian fabric called Alcantara that is laser cut to precisely fit each device. On first glance it certainly has strong gee-whiz chutzpah. The touchscreen Pixel Sense display along with MS’s line of digital pencils and accessories should garner support from those tired of waiting for such advances from the competition. Surface Laptops come in hipster-centric hues of burgundy, platinum, cobalt blue and graphite gold. Needless to say, young people will fit in nicely at Starbucks or the campus rathskeller with this trendsetting device.
The timing seemingly couldn’t be better for an attractive pure-Windows laptop. The company smartly realized the damage being done by OEM’s, who in their race to sell cheaper computers, completely sold out their devices to bloatware and spyware firms, which hurt the Windows platform more than anything else. I’ve had Geek Squad employees tell me off the record that they would never by a PC off the shelf for this very reason. One way MS has combatted this is by singling out and selling devices in the Microsoft Store that promised nothing but a virgin-Windows experience. Now that they’ve gotten the kinks out of Windows 10 and put a better polish on Bing and their most recent browser, Edge, Microsoft seems to have shed the problems of the past and finally stand capable of taking back their place in the market.
Fans have been clamoring for a gorgeous Windows laptop and MS might have just delivered their most attractive device yet. Surface will go a long way in solidifying a solid brand ecosystem and potentially pave the way for another run at the elusive smartphone market which might be a tough place to make a buck but a great grout to tie in the rest of Microsoft’s revamped product line.