Microsoft! The Surface Pro, what happened?

I’m a big fan of Microsoft and their products. I’m a professional .Net developer, I have two Windows Phones and a host of computers with Windows and other associated Microsoft software installed on them. I saw the announcement for the Surface RT and Pro a few months ago and new the Surface Pro was the tablet I’ve been waiting for. A portable device that I could actually do work on. The very best of both worlds. The stylus was an added bonus that completed my decision making process. I could finally use One Note in meetings and have a searchable notepad. That was it, I wanted one!

Well, not only was the Surface RT launched like an unwanted step-child first but then the launch of the Surface Pro, which would come out 90 days later according to Microsoft, was put back a few days. Fair enough, it’s a complicated device, they have their reasons. But then the realisation sets in, it’s been put back a few days for the US and Canada. The rest of the world has to wait for some unknown time. Here in the UK we had the Surface RT at roughly the same time as in the US, why would we now have to be left in technological purgatory? What’s different now?

This is not to say that the rest of the world hasn’t suffered with the same US-centric launch woes. In fact that’s my point. Microsoft is an international company and yet it doesn’t seem to be able to sort out its international markets. Zune didn’t ever officially get an international release even though I knew people over here were chomping at the bit to get hold of a Zune device and the Zune service. Podcasts, such a minor non-licence issue thing in the now Xbox marketplace, isn’t available outside the US. Why? Especially when Apple seem to be able to bring all these things to multiple markets at the same time.

What it appears to come down to is that Microsoft is a hugely complex beast with no real direction when it comes to this sort of thing. I hate to say that, like I said I’m a fan of Microsoft and their products, but if they want to beat Apple and Google at their game they need to start wearing the international company moniker as a serious player. The various factions and departments need to stop in-fighting, it didn’t work for the Nazi party and it hasn’t worked for Microsoft. Most of all they need to start talking to their customers.

Microsoft have, in all intents and purposes, fouled up the release of the Surface Pro. Maybe they thought it would be good marketing to sell out within hours of the release like the Wii. Maybe after the Surface RT release they were nervous of having pallets of unsold Surface Pro devices in some warehouse. Who knows? What they should do now is admit that they’ve made mistakes and talk honestly with the US and rest of the world about the release of this and future products.

If they want an indication of sales numbers they need to allow their customers to pre-order their products. Right now, I’d pay a non-returnable deposit to guarantee myself a Surface Pro when it is release in the UK but they won’t even give me that opportunity. Essentially, I’m in the strangest position when it comes to Microsoft. I’ve had money in my bank account for the Surface Pro for months. I’m the very customer they want to sell it to. I’ll end up going out in the world and showing people its virtues. However, Microsoft seem totally uninterested in taking my cash.

Microsoft please take my cash in return for a Surface Pro!