After posting about Microsoft’s subtle win versus the WWDC news juggernaut, I continued reading about the Surface—as it dominated the news as per my assertion. Part of the victory for Microsoft is that they gained traction in a news cycle that Apple usually has on lockdown.
Good ol’ John C. Dvorak, writing for PC Magazine, sees another place where Microsoft may win a small battle:
None of Microsoft’s partners have any idea what the long term intentions of the company are. Many claim that Microsoft will relent from the hardware game because of channel conflict. It would just hate to step on the toes of its OEMs.
This is baloney.
Dvorak goes on to suggest that the Surface is (at least to some degree) a showpiece for Microsoft stores. He rightly acknowledges Apple’s famous $4,000 per square foot retail numbers, though he puts too much emphasis on it for Apple’s overall success. If the Surface serves as the iPad and MacBook Air of the Microsoft Store, those retail locations start looking a little bit more like actual competition and less like a confusing copycat play.
So if all of this Surface stuff works out, Microsoft has points in the marketing message control category and in the establishing a brand-focused retail presence category. Are we seeing flawless execution? No. But is it better than what Google has been able to assemble? I say yes.