Welcome Microsoft Surface. Now, about that tablet breaking mid-demo . . .

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It was simply inevitable.

With Apple selling 67 million iPads in April 2012 alone, Microsoft wasn’t going to sit on the sidelines forever and watch a massive sea change in PC hardware – and not offer a Microsoft version. Despite the 20+ year debate about the merits of Apple’s software-hardware integrated approach vs. Microsoft’s software focus, Microsoft has decided on an integrated approach with the Microsoft Surface.

Why an integrated approach? The articles are yet to be written about Microsoft’s development path for Surface. The decision was probably pretty simple. Microsoft execs looked at the market share numbers for Windows Phone and realized they had to pursue an integrated approach if they had any hope of success with Surface.

Regardless of the first month’s sales numbers for Surface or even the first year’s sales numbers, the launch of Surface is a great thing in the long run. Competition will spur Apple and Google to further improve their software and devices. Competition is good.

And, for those immediate doubters, Microsoft can probably succeed with Surface for several years without a single consumer purchase of the device? How can that be? Enterprise sales. There are many, many larger multi-national corporations that are Windows only companies. With employees demanding tablet computers, Microsoft has a ready and eager sales channel that will buy a lot of Surfaces – especially as Windows-only developers start adapting their software for Surface.

But, about Microsoft’s press conference yesterday.

Numerous business writers have opined at the difficulty other companies have had in seeing how Apple operates and replicating that success. That difficulty includes product announcements. Apple has perfected the art of the product announcement and demo – and no one – absolutely no one can match them.

If Surface doesn’t succeed, many writers will dig through the Internet in a couple of years and post the picture above. Unfortunately, for Microsoft one of the Surfaces stopped working mid-press conference and they had to run off stage and grab a new Surface. But, that wasn’t the only problem. No on sale date, and no pricing info. Compare that to Apple’s press conferences – product announcements. Pricing is prominently discussed vs. dribbling out weeks or months later. And, Apple’s massive supply chain has been firing on all cylinders long before their public announcements, and the products typically go on sales weeks or a month or two later.

So, why the announcement yesterday with no pricing and no on-sale date? Microsoft had their hand forced. The one thing that may have tipped their hand is the rumored Google tablet device. Some tech writers have predicted a summer announcement. Did Microsoft learn of a planned Google announcement sometime soon? Who’s to say, will there be a Google tablet announced by the end of the summer? We’ll have to wait and see.

Until then, welcome to the app ecosystem Microsoft Surface.

Photo via @Austin Carr

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