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Dyed-in-the-wool Mac guy Gruber could not resist putting in his two cents' worth, starting with a heaping helping of schadenfreude:
Watching the Microsoft Surface event video, I sensed uneasiness. Not panic, but discomfort. Some will argue that I’m simply spoiled by Apple’s on-stage polish, but Monday’s Microsoft event struck me as rushed and severely under-rehearsed. Ballmer offered nothing but blustering bromides, and nothing even vaguely resembling a coherent answer to the big question: Why? Steven Sinofsky was nervous and hurried. It didn’t help that his first Surface RT unit crashed before he’d done anything other than wake it up. There was a moment where he said Surface was perfect for sitting down, relaxing in a chair, and watching a movie. He sat in that chair for about three seconds before rushing into the next segment.
I found the presenters far less rehearsed and the presentation far less cohesive than an Apple event. (With the notable exception of designer Panos Panay, who was very solid on stage.) There was no story.
In the 1383-word post, Gruber continually returns to lengthy discussions of Apple's product philosophy and launch procedures and economics. Then, after a few paragraphs, he snaps back to the subject at hand with a start. "Ah, where was I again?"
He concludes with a bold prediction: "If I’m right, it’s inevitable now that Microsoft will acquire Nokia."
I'm filing that under claim chowder.
Harry is one of my favorite tech journalists of all time, precisely because he excels at posts like these. In the hands of a lesser talent, this would be a hackish list of cringingly obvious questions chosen for their SEO value. Harry, on the other hand, promises 23 questions and delivers the goods with each and every one.
21. What if Microsoft had begun work on all this a half-decade earlier?
Surface borrows its name, certain user-interface principles and perhaps some technologies from Microsoft’s pricey table-top computers. Those machines were announced back in 2007–here’s a piece I wrote about them at the time–and I suspect that the company sincerely thought they’d be everywhere by 2012. Instead, they never amounted to much. It’s tempting to fantasize about an alternate reality in which Microsoft skipped the Surface table research and proceeded directly to the Surface tablet. Instead of rushing to catch up with the iPad, the company could have rendered it less of a milestone by releasing a great tablet first.
Worth reading the whole thing.
Newman notes that Google is following a similar path, and that both companies are drawing their inspiration from the same well:
"We believe that any intersection between human and machine can be made better when all aspects of the experience--hardware and software--are considered in working together," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said at the Surface press event. You could probably attribute that quote to Steve Jobs and get away with it.
Microsoft's not the only company that's taken a liking to Apple's approach. Google also intends to build more of its own hardware. A new Google-branded tablet, manufactured by Asus, may be announced next week at the Google I/O developers conference, according to numerous reports. Several more Google devices, including new Nexus phones, are also reportedly on the way. Don't forget that Google now owns a hardware maker, Motorola, which may start churning out its own Nexus hardware in the future.
The optimistic tone is noteworthy compared to the cautious, skeptical tone of just about everyone else in the industry (Gizmodo excluded).