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Ballmer: Microsoft testing next-gen Surface tablet

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Ballmer: Microsoft testing next-gen Surface tablet
The Microsoft Surface tablets were not a success for the Redmond based company. In fact, the software giant ended up taking a $900 million hit to its earnings in the second quarter to write-off inventory of Surface RT tablets.This took place shortly after Microsoft slashed as much as 30% off the price of the slabs. But the experience hasn't deterred the company and its CEO from giving the device another chance.

During an internal event at Microsoft on Friday, CEO Steve Ballmer talked about his concern over low sales for Windows devices in general. He also revealed that the next-generation of the Microsoft Surface tablets are currently undergoing testing. The executive didn't discuss much about the new Surface tablets except to say that the new slates will feature "typical improvements" and that the reaction from inside Microsoft has been positive. 

During the event, Microsoft also stated that it is more important that Instagram be made available to the Windows Phone platform than scoring a huge number of apps. Right now, those using Windows Phone are relying on third party apps for their Instagram fix, such as Instance. It would only make sense that the most popular photo-sharing app becomes available for the Nokia Lumia 1020. How long will this case of unrequited love last?

source: Neowin, MicrosoftNews via WMPoweruser

32 Comments
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posted on 26 Jul 2013, 12:10 8

1. PAPINYC (Posts: 2231; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)


Micro$oft should resume "testing" on their current generation Surface tablets.

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 14:49 3

17. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5586; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


Personally, I think that MS should have kept on 'testing' their Surface offering until they were able to get the combination of features, weight, battery life and price better sorted out. Some of the limitations are just soo annoying.

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 16:56

24. PAPINYC (Posts: 2231; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)


Sad, really! At least there's still good copies of Windows 7 and Windows XP

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 12:25 2

2. TOMarsh1 (Posts: 9; Member since: 15 Jun 2013)


their existing products seem to be made of " oh let's stick a tablet and laptop together,". Hopefully next years products will bring a little more unique experience...

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 13:06 1

10. the_best (Posts: 132; Member since: 14 Oct 2012)


Thats exactly what i whant in my PC.
The only problem was that it was weak as a tablet.
So i bought the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga Series. its great for games and paying the bills, but i can also use it as a tablet when the mood strikes =)

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 13:17 1

13. designerfx (Posts: 66; Member since: 26 Mar 2013)


ideapad yoga doesn't function for games. who are you kidding?

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 15:19 1

22. xq10xa (Posts: 123; Member since: 07 Dec 2010)


yeah it does. Super Meat Boy, Worms, and pretty much all games before 2002. cmon. lol

posted on 27 Jul 2013, 07:55 1

29. the_best (Posts: 132; Member since: 14 Oct 2012)


just bought anno 2070, works just fine.
Then theres civ 5, gta 4, portal 2 just to mention a few with no lag.

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 12:28 4

3. deathgod (Posts: 119; Member since: 23 Nov 2011)


M$ wants their surface to be a success, then get rid of RT and just use plain version of windows 8. Price those tablets competitively with Android and iOS tablets, even if you have vastly surpior hardware. You're not going to get the numbers you're looking for by having the starting price be $900...

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 12:37 3

5. cwiley5045 (Posts: 16; Member since: 07 May 2010)


I completely agree. RT version has to go. The problem is if they just make the Haswell version they cannot compete with Android or iOS they would need to take a lose on ever tablet if priced at the same price as an iPad.

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 13:25 2

15. Luuthian (Posts: 204; Member since: 09 Sep 2011)


Taking a loss is okay if they have services that back it up. The real problem here is that they don't. Google and Amazon can offer their devices so cheap because they make up for the loss via ad revenue and app store sales.

Microsoft is in the unfortunate position of having virtually no services and weak ad revenue. The Zune music service failed miserably and Bing is only being used by MS devices, of which there are few out there. MS has Office... And that's largely it. Ballmer is trying to fix this by focusing on goods and services, but it could take years to catch up. In fact, it already is. Look how far behind they are in their app offerings compared to Google and Apple.

It's going to be a rough road. They can't really sell cheap because they don't have the ability to recoup those losses well, but no one wants their devices because they're too expensive. It's a catch-22. It's even worse when you consider that a decent laptop costs less than a Surface Pro (especially with the snap-on keyboard), and it'll do more for you.

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 14:26 1

16. SuperMaoriBro (Posts: 264; Member since: 23 Jun 2012)


They took 900mil loss in inventory writeoff. If they had just taken that loss by selling the hardware below cost they wouldve sold more units, giving them more market share. A larger market share would attract more developers. More developers attract more consumers. More consumers would mean more app sales. Etc. Ms shouldve focused on capturing market share rather than trying to make a profit with an unproven product, especially in a market with well established players

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 14:52

18. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5586; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


Well, they are taking the loss by selling the current inventory below cost. Do you think they are just going to scrap the current inventory of RT tablets?

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 14:59

19. Bilpocalypse (Posts: 301; Member since: 13 Oct 2012)


So basically your saying that Skype, Hotmail, and Xbox Live aren't services? I agree with you on 90% of what was said, but MS has a bunch of services... most of which are just as good or better than the competition. The main difference is that MS is a software/hardware/services company. Amazon makes no money from their tablets and ereaders, only from the digital merchandise you buy to use on them (books, music, etc). Google makes all their money from ad revenue. MS does both, but not at near the level of the other two, because they are still primarily a software company.

posted on 27 Jul 2013, 01:21 2

28. Luuthian (Posts: 204; Member since: 09 Sep 2011)


To be more clear, I mean they don't have services that net them strong levels of revenue compared to the competition. But when your competition gives everything away for free and makes money off the simple fact they have HEAPS of users, it's hard to compete.

For example, Google's services extend so far that they encompass social life, business, and consumable media. Microsoft's do only to a point... Bing, Skype, Hotmail, and Xbox live are not going to make the same kind of money as Youtube, Google Maps, Google, Google Docs, Google +, GMail, etc. The reason being that Google has designed themselves around delivering services for free and then using the massive user base to score cash on ad revenue. Microsoft preffered to make their money through licensing fees, and as their userbase begins to slip that model no longer works.

I guess the real problem here is that Microsoft is spread too thin. Google went one way with their revenue and Apple went another. Both are doing extremely well because their focus is so keen. One company sells ads and builds their services around ads. The other company makes money buy selling hardware at an extreme mark up, with the promise of reliability. Microsoft tried to gamble on multiple fronts and lost. They want to sell the hardware themselves but they have no history in doing so. Yet they also want to offer people services that most have already bought into somewhere else.

It's going to be a rough adjustment for them. You can tell they still don't quite get it simply by looking at the Xbox One fiasco. They wanted to be Steam, but they didn't understand what made Steam work. They're learning too slow, and in an industry that moves this fast it'll be their undoing if they can't keep up.

posted on 27 Jul 2013, 09:13

30. Bilpocalypse (Posts: 301; Member since: 13 Oct 2012)


I agree... and I hope they figure something out. I use alot of MS services and I wouldn't want to have to switch to another provider for those services.

posted on 27 Jul 2013, 21:47

32. glitch177k (Posts: 1; Member since: 27 Jul 2013)


You blatantly don't know what you're talking about.

The zune music subscription wasn't a failure. It's still making them money today as the xbox music subscription service.

Speaking of xbox, heard of it? It's this little gaming device that has sold MILLIONS of SUBSCRIPTIONS to this SERVICE called xbox live.

Though you got me with the ad revenue. It's not like Microsoft has their own search engine or ad system that sells ads to the hundreds of millions of people using windows 8 devices (tablets, phones, computers) and very soon apple devices as well.

And even if all of those weren't enough to offset the losses, it's not like Microsoft is making a percentage of each android device sold that would offset their losses.

And even if that weren't enough. It's not like they are making billions of dollars from Office 365. Or cloud services. Or business software. Or server licenses. Or just about EVERYTHING THEY TOUCH.

Oh, actually, that's right. They are one of the top 5 most profitable companies in the US along with Apple. Hmmm....who isn't in the top 5? Oh....Google and Amazon.

Maybe they actually CAN take a loss. I guess they DO have a couple of "services that back it up".

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 12:33 1

4. cwiley5045 (Posts: 16; Member since: 07 May 2010)


The problem with CEO Ballmer is the fact that he doesn't understand that everyone in Microsoft is scared of him and is afraid to challenge him. He stated "that the new slates will feature "typical improvements" and that the reaction from inside Microsoft has been positive." Inside Microsoft, he should be using third party people to test the device that way he can see ahead of time the short comings of the device.

I know Microsoft has a tone of money even enough to right $900 million away yet your talking about the typical updates. To me your already starting off wrong. You need to totally look at everything about the surface, one would be not to bring back a ARM version and just create a Haswell version.

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 12:51 1

8. ballaonnabudget (Posts: 34; Member since: 15 May 2013)


You know what i agr... wait i can't take you seriously with that profile pic. Nevermind.

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 12:44

6. xpr3ss10n (Posts: 55; Member since: 15 Dec 2011)


Typical improvements? Do they really think that will turn it around?

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 12:47

7. gd761 (Posts: 105; Member since: 18 Sep 2012)


Add at least 256GB of Storage to Start the Low End amount with.
Add Better and LOUDER Speakers.
Add Legacy Support for Windows Programs.

Don't Make ANY EXCUSES that You"Microsoft" Can NOT Accomplish All of this Especially Legacy Support, Because if the Guys over at XDA Developers can get the Legacy Programs to Work on the RT Model, then You "Microsoft" will NOT have Any Problems to Make it Possible to have the Legacy Programs to Work Flawlessly.

A Bonus would be to Make it also Possible for the Customer to Upgrade the Storage by having Access to it Behind the Kickstand.

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 12:56 1

9. TheLolGuy (Posts: 483; Member since: 05 Mar 2013)


I love all these armchair CEO/MIT engineer internet dwellers that think they can dictate the company's direction and engineering decisions better than real ones can, barring the very few exceptions. It's hilarious.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIraCchPDhk -- replace politicians with business executives, and the public as the consumer. I always thought this way before I came across this gem... it expresses the sentiment exactly. I laugh at all these average people who think they know better.

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 15:18 1

21. scottae316 (Posts: 10; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)


Well, let's see fire sale loss pricing on "RT" tablets and a 900 million dollar write off, poor sales of the Pro version. You think that these "armchair CEO/MIT engineer internet dwellers" could do worse? MS has a history of making bad decisions and products but they survive and profit despite themselves. While these may be "armchair" comments the one thing you forget is that it is these very people who have NOT bought what your experts a MS have produced.

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 13:13 1

11. PK1983 (Posts: 165; Member since: 08 Aug 2012)


Could he at least muster up something a little more enthusiastic than "typical improvements".
Sounds more like a supervisor at the Post Office then a tech industry leader.
What I want to know is will it suck less? By suck less I mean not cost so much, have a wonky os with missing or convoluted features that takes up the majority of the harddrive.

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 13:15

12. xoxoGeorges (Posts: 194; Member since: 11 Jul 2013)


Intel or nothing to be honest

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 13:23 3

14. jove39 (Posts: 1261; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


If MS want Surface to be a success...launch Surface RT at $299 (32gb) and Surface Pro at $499(64gb)

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 17:34 1

26. Hallucinator (Posts: 340; Member since: 24 May 2010)


Actually I think they should skip RT altogether and if they came in at $499 for a Pro, I would buy one.

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 15:16

20. 7thspaceman (Posts: 1047; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)


some tech writers say the Microsoft surface computers did not sell well but one thing for sure most people who bought a "Surface pro" report that it works great!. the problem is that people have to understand is that Windows 8 or the new Windows 8.1 operating system is a PC operating system with a good touch screen gesture interface. any good windows 8 PC needs an Intel i5 or Intel i7 CPU to operate PC Programs to make a long story short do not expect to buy a good Windows 8 or 8.1 tablet computer for less than 400 dollars unless it is an Atom tablet. An excellent Windows 8 tablet will cost at least over 500 dollars period. so the cost of the Surface pro was not a shock to me because I know a good PC cost's money

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 15:44 1

23. fanboy1974 (Posts: 1139; Member since: 12 Nov 2011)


Too late. I just bought a Nexus 7 (2013).

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 23:32

27. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5586; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


Lucky Dog! I wanted to buy one, but for now, I have to be satisfied with being on a waiting list. :-(

posted on 26 Jul 2013, 17:32

25. Hallucinator (Posts: 340; Member since: 24 May 2010)


I can see it now...Surface 2, the next generation of failure

posted on 27 Jul 2013, 09:45

31. 7thspaceman (Posts: 1047; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)


Folks I think the "surface Rt failed because of 3 things != it cost too much to buy. 2=No Apps
3= People want a Microsoft Tablet that runs their OLD Windows 7, Vista, Windows XP software.Folks let me Educate you The Windows 8 and the coming better Windows 8.1 are PC type Operating systems To run them properly requires an Intel i5 or Intel i7 or AMD equivalent CPU PC computers that use theses powerful CPU's are not cheap folks so do not expect to pay less than 400 dollars for a Windows 8.1 Tablet.. atom CPU Windows 8 tablets work but are slower and cannot do a lot of multitasking. Price the cost of good and excellent rated PC's and laptops using Intel i5 and gamers Intel I7 CPU's and you will know that I am telling you the truth

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