Sometimes it feels like Microsoft just can’t help itself. After yesterday’s disastrous earnings report was made even worse because Microsoft had to reveal how badly the Surface RT had been selling, the company today released a new “Surface RT vs. iPad” ad that touts the tablet’s detachable keyboard, a USB plug and low price (which is only low if you don’t buy the detachable keyboard, of course). In this new installment, poor Siri also has to learn that the iPad doesn’t have a kickstand. Maybe Microsoft is just trying to sell the last few Surface RTs that are still in stock, but launching a new ad for the RT today just seems like very bad timing.
Microsoft notes in the ad that the iPad doesn’t have all of the accessories and bells and whistles that the Surface RT offers. But the problem is that consumers didn’t miss those. People just didn’t buy the RT and many of those who did expected a full-blown Windows PC and not a tablet that could only run Windows 8-style apps, which still struggle to compete with other platforms’ apps on quality. The RT was a very nice piece of hardware, but the whole idea of an ARM-based Windows machine was just ill-conceived right from the get-go.
Users didn’t care that the Surface RT has a USB port and kickstand before and they won’t care now. The x86-based Surface Pro is a much more useful machine, of course, but its price ($899+ at many retailers) puts it in a different category from the RT.
The other problem with the ad is that Microsoft also highlights the Surface’s type cover in comparison with the iPad but doesn’t include it in the $349 price for the RT that it shows at the end of the ad. That just leaves a bad taste after watching an ad that’s already ill-timed.