I have come to expect disappointment from Microsoft’s PC hardware. Over the years, the Surface business has been in a rut, with little sign of improvement. Even though Microsoft has managed to release some decent devices, such as the Surface Laptop and Surface Laptop Go, there is a lack of innovation and excitement surrounding its products.
The recent rumors surrounding Microsoft’s upcoming device launch do not inspire much hope either. It is expected that we will see updated versions of existing devices, like the Surface Laptop Studio 2, Surface Laptop Go 3, and Surface Go 4, with minimal design changes. This lack of innovation is concerning, especially considering that Apple has been consistently refreshing its computers with its latest M-series chips, and has recently unveiled the highly anticipated Apple Glass, a move towards spatial computing and mixed reality.
One of the issues Microsoft faces is that the initial pitch for the Surface, a tablet that can also be a laptop, has become tired and outdated. While it was exciting in 2012 to see a new form factor, the rise of lightweight and powerful ultraportable laptops has made the Surface less appealing. Why bother with a flimsy keyboard and kickstand when you can be more productive on a traditional laptop?
Additionally, Windows never truly became a tablet-friendly operating system. The shift away from the traditional desktop with Windows 8 was met with backlash from users, and Microsoft has since treated touchscreens as an afterthought. This is in contrast to Apple and Google, who are actively working to make their tablet platforms more versatile and better suited for multitasking.
Industry observers suggest that Microsoft needs to reconsider its PC strategy and go back to its roots. This could involve a stronger focus on Windows on Arm compatibility, as well as investing in AI technology to provide a better Windows experience. Microsoft has made progress in this area, but it is still behind its competitors, which could affect its growth potential.
Furthermore, Microsoft has struggled with new releases, often stumbling due to design or performance issues. The Surface Laptop Studio, for example, had a tilting screen but was underpowered, while the Surface Duo faced software and performance problems. In contrast, companies like Samsung have managed to innovate and deliver successful products, like the Galaxy Fold.
As a result of these disappointments, I have learned to expect compromise and heartbreak from Microsoft’s PC and mobile hardware. While some of their devices may appeal to mainstream shoppers, they have failed to change the face of computing as intended with the Surface. Microsoft needs to overcome these obstacles and find a way to deliver innovative and reliable products that excite consumers. Otherwise, they will continue to fall behind their competitors and struggle to regain their position as a leader in the PC hardware market.