Microsoft, like Google, cannot rely on manufacturers and cellular carriers obsessed with razor-thin manufacturing profit margins to deliver the kind of experience that Microsoft knows is possible with Windows 8 on a tablet. Apple releases one tablet at a time that works to its specifications, with one version of its software. Even if Microsoft is seeking to differentiate from the iPad, it wants that kind of purchase experience for its customers: “I want this kind of computer, so I’ll buy it.” The Surface is a big part of Microsoft’s plans for its Microsoft Store. Why pretend to be an art gallery curator, constantly having to cajole and curry favor among all the many makers of Windows-running devices out there, when you can use your prime retail space instead to show off the prime selling point for what you see as the future of productive computing?
All this is to say that I find it remarkable, and sad (Sadmarkable?) that the talk around the Surface has quickly devolved into the usual Spec-Then-Snark pattern. Unnamed sources claim it will cost $600? Doomed. Wi-Fi only? Sunk. No Angry Birds announced? Pfah.
Microsoft Surface may or may not feel amazing to people, particularly people who have been waiting to switch from tablet to traditional typing. But already nobody is happy. Bah.