The Microsoft Surface is Redmond's answer to the iPad, a productivity-enabled, business-leaning tablet. While initial reaction to its design and technical specs have been positive, the big question was the price.
It's a fine line - too high, and it would be hard to compete with the iPad, which starts at $499. Too low, and you undercut Microsoft's long-time partners, who are all now building tablets, too.
So what did techies who heard about the $499 starting price (sans keyboard) for the Surface think? Here's a roundup of social media reaction analyzed on Tuesday Oct. 16 1:30 pm PT, several hours after the announcement.
Note: all searches were for "Microsoft Surface" or some variant thereof. I tried adding the keywords "price" or "$499" but that in most cases failed to return any results.
At SocialMention, which claims to track blogs, Twitter, comments and other sources, people were six times as likely to be positive towards the Microsoft Surface as negative:
(What do analysts think about a $499 Microsoft Surface? Hear VDC Research's David Krebs and SAP mobile director Adam Stein discuss on Wednesday Oct 17 at 8 am.)
At TweetFeel, sentiment was 83% positive (more than 4:1 in favor):
According to Twittratr, it's also nearly 4:1 positive for Surface, though the vast majority are neutral.
Same goes for TipTop - 34% positive for Surface, 9% negative (4:1 ratio), with 57% undecided:
Even at its weakest, Microsoft Surface garnered twice as much positive social media reaction as negative.
At Sentiment140, Twitter users were 68% positive, 32% negative, with an unknown number of neutral tweets:
At the oddly-named StreamCrab, 23% were positive and 14% were negative (51% were neutral).
For comparision, I searched the same sites to see what attitudes are towards an iPad Mini:
SocialMention: 10:1 positive BETTER THAN SURFACE
TweetFeel: 54% positive WORSE THAN SURFACE
Twitrratr: 8.3% positive, 1.7% negative, 90% neutral BETTER THAN SURFACE
TipTop: 23% positive, 15% negative WORSE THAN SURFACE
Sentiment140: 52% positive, 48% negative WORSE THAN SURFACE
StreamCrab: 30% positive, 19% negative, 50% neutral BETTER THAN SURFACE
In other words: the tools were equally split on whether they thought people liked the Surface or iPad Mini more.
Few doubt that the iPad Mini will sell well, if not awesomely. In that context, the Microsoft Surface seems to have a good chance of winning substantial customers.