A little over 5 months ago, you made an announcement that made me more excited than any human should be for an inanimate object. With the Surface came the possibility of what I had been waiting at least a year for. While others have come to love these glorified transitional products we call tablets, I maintain my position as a stubborn bastard and will settle for nothing less than a fully-realized PC/laptop replacement. I dream of the day that I can drive down the road to the local coffee shop, order a green tea and sit down not to merely watch youtube and peruse the internet in the presence of the public hoping some cute girl will walk by and against all odds comment on my excellent taste that she would have never noticed on my tragically not-quite-large-enough phone screen, but to do actual work. I want to put together that spreadsheet I couldn’t finish at the office, go through my project plan as I sip on my hot beverage, make a half-hearted attempt at designing an android app on the side. I believe it is time that we have both the portability of a tablet with the FULL functionality of the clunky laptop my company so foolishly entrusted to my care.
To give some more background, a little about myself. I am a budding IT professional 2 years removed from college. By no means do I so much as entertain the idea that I’m any kind of technical wizard (professionally the most technical task I have completed is writing a script that creates a CSV file with the sizes of all files in a directory) but I don’t think it would be narcissistic of me to assume that I understand more about technology than the average user. I do a fair amount of research and know how to apply these tools to what I need to get done. As such a user, I was immensely excited to read about the Surface tablet. Now don’t get me wrong, I was fully aware of the difference between the Surface and the Surface Pro. I even knew that the plan from the beginning was for the Surface Pro to debut 3 months after the Surface. While it bugged me that I would have to spend an extra 90 days with the bruised and battered soldier of a PC I am currently typing this on, I was fully expecting the wait to pay off. Sadly I can no longer say I maintain such expectations, and you seem to be doing nothing to convince me otherwise.
Last weekend, I made my way down to the one regional mall containing a Microsoft store. This is made more impressive by the fact that I live closer to 3 other major shopping malls. As I said, I have been fully aware of the differences between the Surface and the Surface Pro, but this also meant that I was aware of how good of a preview the Surface would give me. Now don’t get me wrong, as promised the Surface is a beautiful piece of technology. I felt like a child again playing with the magnetic simplicities of the snap-on keyboard and awesome stand. Unlike many I actually love the interface of Windows 8 and by extension Windows RT. However, it became more obvious by the minute that a device of this size, this rigidity and this keyboard could never become the object of all of my computing needs. If I am to believe everything I have found going through the tech blogs for the past 5 months all of these features will be the exact same on the Pro model. Perhaps my biggest annoyance however was the lack of knowledge by the staff. This certainly isn’t there fault, it’s yours for not informing them enough to handle those that have so patiently waited.
I am now at an impasse. I see many hybrid tablets and superlight touchscreen ultrabooks with all the capabilities I am looking for available. While I was prepared to wait just a little longer to see this baby fully-realized, I was also expecting to know quite a bit more about it at this point. At the very least I would have liked to know the price of the device I have seeked out every detail about by this point. While the size is admittedly another dealbreaker, should I be able to buy the Surface Pro in a slightly larger size and a price under $900, I would more than gladly wait through this holiday season to make my ultimate acquisition. Honestly, I might even drop the size issue if the price were to be as low as the rumors have some believing. Unfortunately, not even your store staff can give me assurance on these issues and as such may be driving me to another device by a different company. While I am probably not the most average of consumers, chances are most of those waiting specifically for the Surface Pro are thinking similarly to me.
The purpose of this letter is not so much to criticize your product as much as how you have campaigned it. I am loving my brief interactions with Windows 8 and most of my qualms with Surface RT are personal preference rather than critical issues. But like the english language, Windows is the choice of business. I believe part of the reason you have taken such a drastic change with your strategy as of late is to make sure your company continues to see growth. If you do not keep current and future leaders such as myself in the loop, this will not be your result.
I took away three major things from [the Microsoft Surface] event, and the only one them that directly related to the device hardware being shown off was that integrating the keyboard into the cover was a stroke of awesome.
(…) For the first time, I can really see a tablet replacing a notebook as my primary computing device. Before today, I couldn’t say that with any real conviction - I tried it with the iPad on multiple occasions, and it just didn’t work. I’m a writer, tablets aren’t ideal for writing. Surface changes that in a big way."