The problem with Surface confusion is less about naming, and more about misleading ads

I wrote a post about Microsoft's recent admission that the RT naming was confusing. The real problem, as I see it, is less with the naming, and more with Microsofts misleading ads that conflate the features of the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2. There are other issues that sew confusion among buyers. Here is the entire post, no need to visit the site:

I am incensed by what I believe to be blatant, intentional lies throughout the advertising. I would like to think it is not as bad as I have made it out to be. Now that I have calmed down a bit, I thought I would run it by the community to see if I made any factual errors. I would be happy to make any, necessary corrections to any mistakes I may have made. Is the pen being offered with the Surface 2? Are keyboards being included? Does Office now come with the Surface Pro? Was this a joint ad for the Pro 2 and 2? What am I missing. If I am not missing anything, what possible justification could there be for this misleading ad?

Microsoft admits Surface RT naming caused confusion, still clueless

The above video is an ad for the new, Surface 2. But, what is the Surface 2? There are two Surface tablets being upgraded. One is the Surface RT, the other is Surface Pro. Which one gets the new moniker of Surface 2? If the new naming confuses you, take solace in the fact that Microsoft thinks it is far less confusing than their old naming scheme.

"In an interview with Australian publication ARN, Microsoft Surface product manager Jack Cowett admits the RT name was confusing for customers. "We think that there was some confusion in the market last year on the difference between Surface RT and Surface Pro," admits Cowett. "We want to help make it easier for people, and these are two different products designed for two different people." Microsoft first released its Surface RT tablet under the name "Microsoft Surface with Windows RT," but the company soon dropped the full name for Surface RT shortly afterwards."

Not only has Microsoft not cleared up the confusion with their new, naming scheme, they fail to understand the real source of the confusion. The most confusing aspect of the product is not the name, it is their own messaging about the product. People are confused because they keep lying in their ads. Harsh charge? You bet! Take a look at the linked video and see for yourself.

First, I like the ad. It would be great if you could believe a word of it. Unfortunately, you can't, and Microsoft knows it. They say something misleading with every other breath. This ad is for the Surface 2: the successor to the Surface RT, not the Pro. Neither product comes with a keyboard. Yet, the tablet is never shown without it. Microsoft did this with the previous ads, too. They showed the Surface being used with a keyboard, then, the price, as if it was a part of the package. It's not. It is more than an additional $100.

Even more blatantly, they show the Surface being used with a stylus. That, however, is a feature exclusive to the Surface pro. That is not just sewing confusion; that is telling lies. But, if we are talking about the Surface Pro, we should't be talking about an included copy of Office, which only comes with the Surface RT... I mean, the Surface 2.

There are good reasons Microsoft does not want to be perfectly honest about their tablet offerings. They want to blur the lines between their $450 offering, and their $1,000 offering. When you walk into the store, they do not want you to know exactly what you are getting. They do not want you to know that Office does not come with the Pro, or that the pen does not come with the RT... I mean, the 2. They would rather take a chance on you returning the item, than for you to never buy it.

Yes, there is a lot of confusion surrounding the Surface tablets, and it all comes from Microsoft. And it is 100% intentional.

David Johnson