UPDATE: Three HUGE Things Microsoft (MSFT) Screwed Up with the Surface Event...

June 19, 2012 9:16 AM EDT
(Updated - June 19, 2012 12:49 PM EDT)

Though Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) new company-branded PC line seems like it will be a force for competitors to deal with, the company, which explicitly tore a page from Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) playbook for the debut, made a few key slip-ups which could hamper initial sales.

  1. Naming - There are two new portable PCs being offered from Microsoft, but both are simply being referred to as the Surface. One is a tablet with a keyboard/cover attachment while the other spouts more Ultrabook-like features. In reality, Microsoft could name the devices Thing 1 and Thing 2, as long as there's distinction between the two. Apple can pull off calling the iPad 3 "the New iPad" because the original isn't available any more. Microsoft's not there yet, unless it wants to call its next Windows offering "Windows" instead of "Windows 8."

    (UPDATE - Microsoft is calling the tablets "Surface for Windows 8 Pro" and "Surface for Windows RT." Despite the more defined naming, let's hope those are tentative. Moving forward, we'll refer to them as "RT" and "Pro.")

  2. Pricing - RT will cost somewhere in the range of ARM-based tablets currently on the market, while Pro will be priced in the range of Intel-equipped Ultrabooks. That means RT's price could be anywhere from $100 to $700; Pro's is at $500 to $1,200 or more.

  3. Shipping - One thing noted by blog TheNextWeb which is something Apple did well and Microsoft didn't do (this time around): availability. Okay, there's a new Microsoft tablet. We're excited, we want reviews, we want to buy one...wait, we can't? Not for another four or five months? When Apple announces a product -- whether its an iPhone, iPad, or iOS update -- shipping begins then and there. Apple's online store shuts down for "updates," which we all know is code for "new products."
Although the Surface might be key for Microsoft, why didn't they just wait until Windows 8 is available to debut the new portable PC line? Further, Microsoft made a big huff about not giving the keynote at CES in Las Vegas this year due to the event not being in-line with its product cycle.

Hopefully, consumers will still be as anxious in September or October when we hope Surface shipments begin. Otherwise, investors might "shut the blinds" for this Windows effort.

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