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Analyst: Surface 'Truck' Can't Compete With iPad 'Sports Car'

Especially the initial presentation, which not only revealed an unfinished product with Windows-typical screen freezes, analysts believe that the information that is available right now is rather confusing.

Analyst group Yankee noted that Microsoft did not address key consumers concerns such as price, battery life and connectivity options. The firm compared Apple's iPad the "Tesla sports car of the computing world, a product that delivers speed in style but only on smooth roads". In contrast, Microsoft's Surface was compared to "well designed, but traditional sports utility vehicle that can haul boats and climb a hill of rocks." The firm said that it doubts that "consumers will trade sports cars for trucks."

Another firm, Ovum, chimed in and noted that it was unclear what Microsoft was trying to achieve with the tablet how a "mishmash" of Windows for desktops and for tablets could make sense. At the very least, consumers could be left confused. The firm repeated the common suspicion that Surface was born out of frustration that hardware makers simply couldn't come up with a device that showcases Microsoft's Metro UI in Windows 8. However, the company also notes that Microsoft may not be happy with OS licensing fees alone and may now be looking in hardware revenues as well, which is, however, rather unlikely, given the razor thin margins today. Even Microsoft may not want to burden itself with a less profitable and painful additional business.

Ovum also highlights a problem that Microsoft could alienate it partners: "Rarely is it a good idea for an OS owner to start competing with its OEM partners, but Microsoft is clearly taking a page out of the Apple playbook by bringing Surface to market." The company also hit Yankee's concern of pricing information: “The lack of pricing information makes it impossible to judge, for certain, what the market impact will be, but it’s expected be positive given Windows' huge installed base and Microsoft's second-to-none partner ecosystem. However, to ensure true success, Microsoft must now get Surface into the hands of trend setters, influencers, and IT managers - easier said than done when they're all carrying around iPads."