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Microsoft must passionately market Surface Laptop to take on Apple's MacBook

On May 2, 2017, Microsoft introduced a new addition to its family of first-party hardware, the Surface Laptop. Unlike the Surface Pro, Book and Studio, the Surface Laptop does not create a new category, however.

How Surface changed Microsoft forever

It doesn't have a removable display like the Pro or Book, nor can the screen be positioned at a 20-degree angle for a drafting-table effect like the Studio. It's just a laptop. A premium laptop, yes, but a laptop nonetheless. Microsoft's Devices Chief Panos Panay asserted during its introduction, however, that this laptop redefines the category.

He claimed his team built the optimal combination of design, feature set, battery life and more, making the Surface Laptop the most balanced laptop on the market. It is this premium laptop that Microsoft is pitting against the preferred laptops among college students, Apple's MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.

Surface Laptop vs. MacBook: It isn't all about specs

Microsoft's challenge will be communicating the passion that went into creating the Surface Laptop. Panay's team of engineers who poured their passion into crafting every detail of the Surface Laptop is not the team that will market it to consumers, however. Microsoft's marketing team has the daunting responsibility of persuading Apple-loving college students to buy a laptop from a company their uncool parents, perhaps, grew up loving.

Undoing and replacing the student-MacBook relationship, with a student-Surface Laptop relationship, will require a long campaign and tremendous resources.

It will (or should), therefore, span many quarters and must integrate the passion, not just the specs, the Surface team put into the product.

Panay's passion

No one knows a product better than its creator. When that creator can also verbally express the merits and features of that product with the same passion that went into making it, an audience feels it. During his introduction of the Surface Laptop, Panay did just that and explained how his passion began with lessons he learned from his father, as seen starting at the 1:02:10 in the video below:

My dad and I shared a room. His desk was in my room. He'd come in every night, and he'd go to work. I'd creep out of bed and go sit with him. He used to teach me. We would build TVs together ... He'd talk about every single detail and how it mattered. And if you got it wrong, then you'd have to do it again. And you'd have to do it again. And then again. But it mattered that you didn't miss anything. Because if you put everything that you had into this product, then you'd get everything you wanted out of it.

We see the fruit of these lessons in Panay's persistence and attention to detail that brought Surface from a billion dollar loss to an industry-inspiring, category-creating, billion dollar business.

Panay added that his team puts its heart and soul into every single detail, from the tiniest hinge to the creation of a product category to every small bit being aligned with a pixel on the screen.

He also said, "It's not all the details and parts that make these devices great, but it's all the passion that the people making these products put into them. It's that same passion that we want you to feel when you're using our products."

Is Microsoft's marketing team 'feeling' Panos?

Will Microsoft's marketing team put "Panay-level" passion into persuading students to use the Surface Laptop over a MacBook? It'll have to if consumers are to "feel" the passion that went into making the product.

Sadly, Microsoft's commitment to products and its marketing efforts have been inconsistent at best. Xbox and Bing received continued support even in extremely competitive spaces. Conversely, the Kin which was dropped after 48 days, Zune which was dumped after five years, and Windows phones, which lacked the comprehensive support of consistent, aggressive marketing and efforts to ensure broad distribution, have all been allowed to flounder.

Thankfully, Microsoft's Surface devices have risen to represent the company in the way Windows as an OS and Office for productivity have for years. Consequently, Surface receives more consistent marketing support from Microsoft than some less esteemed products. The Surface Laptop, therefore, should get the necessary support from Microsoft.

Microsoft must convey emotion in Surface Laptop marketing

Convincing 17-year-old to 20-year-old college students to give up "cool" MacBooks for laptops from a company whose efforts have focused primarily on the enterprise is a lofty goal for Microsoft.

Best Microsoft Surface Laptop Accessories

Best Microsoft Surface Laptop Accessories

As with many successful products, there's both an emotional and social aspect that contributes to MacBook's success, beyond its specs and capabilities. For college students, MacBooks are the socially endorsed laptop. As an Apple product, it benefits from the intangible value that makes virtually anything Apple brings to market a media sensation and the bar to which the rest of the industry is compared. Like it or not this is the reality Microsoft is up against.

Marketing that doesn't connect emotionally with the intended audience and that focuses only on the very balanced and competitive specs of the Surface Laptop will likely fail. Panay's passion-laden presentation of the Surface Laptop is the combination of emotion and information I believe Microsoft's marketing message will need.

This war won't be won in a day

As with any "war," Microsoft won't win college students with just one commercial during one fiscal quarter. It must be committed to what may amount to years of "battles" as it attempts to wrest from Apple what Apple is determined to retain.

For instance, Apple introduced updated specs for the MacBook and MacBook Air at WWDC 2017. Those updated specs already alter Microsoft's recent claim that Surface Laptop is 50 percent faster than MacBook and MacBook Air.

Given the swiftly evolving tech industry, a spec race cannot be Microsoft's marketing focus. The Surface Laptop is a challenger to Apple's beloved incumbent. Understanding that it's just the first of many iterations, Microsoft's marketing must have the stamina to strive over time to build an emotional connection with students by conveying the passion that went into the product.

The challenge of Windows 10 S

Added to introducing a new product, communicating its specs, and passionately building an emotional connection with students, Microsoft has the challenge of explaining Windows 10 S.

The Surface Laptop runs the newest version of Windows which is more secure but runs only Windows Store apps. Classic Win32 programs like Chrome won't run on this device without a $50 (temporarily free) upgrade to Windows 10 Pro.

Microsoft must manage consumer expectation of Windows 10 S

The potential for angering unaware consumers who take a chance on the Surface Laptop is real. Microsoft must be proactive and comprehensive in its messaging to avoid alienating members of the very market it's trying to win.

Is Microsoft up to the challenge?

Will the marketing message do the product and the Surface team's efforts justice?

Some enthusiasts argue that Panay should market products. That's a longshot, but perhaps snippets of his presentation could be incorporated in some of the Surface Laptop television ads. "Normal consumers" would then feel what we techies feel when we hear the Surface's creator talk about the product. That's one way to ensure the passion that has gone into the product is integrated into the marketing.

Whatever Microsoft does, it must be persistent, creative, passionate and above all, ready. Apple's marketing prowess is unmatched. Rest assured that the marketing juggernaut won't sit idly by as Microsoft makes a play for MacBook-using college students.

The war is on.

Also Read:

With Windows 10 S and Surface Laptop, Microsoft takes aim at Apple and Google

Jason L Ward is a columnist at Windows Central. He provides unique big picture analysis of the complex world of Microsoft. Jason takes the small clues and gives you an insightful big picture perspective through storytelling that you won't find *anywhere* else. Seriously, this dude thinks outside the box. Follow him on Twitter at @JLTechWord. He's doing the "write" thing!

105 Comments
  • Thanks for reading folks!!! Microsoft must be ready for a long and ferocious battle. The emotion that connects college students (and others) to MacBooks must be met with a campaign from Microsoft that reaches students on an emotion and passionate level. This won't be accomplished with one commercial and in one quarter. It will take many quarters of persistent passionate advertising and communication to make college student Surface Laptop users rather than MacBook users. Focusing on specs won't work. What are your thoughts? LET'S TALK!!!
  • Brilliant content from you all lately - thank you guys.
    On this topic specifically: Do they need to??
    Surface is a demonstrator for Microsoft to 'egg-on' OEMs more than anything. The Surface Pro, Book (and, arguably, Studio) have achieved that with a new generation of *desirable* hardware copying or building on the Surface blue print.
    The laptop is there for the same purpose. Yes, I'd like to see it marketed, but it already comes from Surface pedigree and OEMs again are quickly pushing thinner, better hardware.
    As long as Windows ecosystem products are selling, Microsoft has won.
  • I would say Yes!  They need to.  I still don't believe public perception of Microsoft is strong.  The more they market and advertise and more importantly sell the Surface line I think that can spill over to other products Microsoft sells.  Usually once consumers believe in a brand they tend to want to invest in a brand and their products.  So yes.  I think Microsoft should go all out and market their Surface Laptop.  And let the chips fall where they may.
  • Marketing: a non existent devision at Microsoft.
  • If Microsoft relies on marking for the Surface Laptop to be sucessful with students, then it is destined to be a failure.  In the history of Microsoft, I can't remember one single sucessful marking campaign, ever!.  They are all failures.  Microsoft doesn't know how to market to consumers, they never have.  It is like their marking team is a bunch of out-of-touch old guys sitting around making up their advertisements.
  • While I agree that MS marketing doesn't have the best track record, you've clearly forgotten about the original surface ad campaign: http://youtu.be/wfdc8G1KZJk
  • Good example! Sorry to say but I don't believe Satya will allow to go "so far" ;-)
  • Your articles are thorough and informative, but the only marketing coming out of Microsoft these days are from Paynos when he's introducing them; Once the event is over, that's it! Marketing and lack of mobile support are Microsoft greatest failures; Satya doesn't seem to want to fix this any time soon either, he thinks the name Microsoft alone will sell a product like in the early days of windows!
  • That's what he's saying. He's saying Microsoft needs to do better with marketing, especially after the initial announcment event. There's a bunch of hype about it during the event and a little after, but then few weeks later, nothing.
  • I recently helped a good friend of mine buy a Dell XPS 13. Last week he told me his 17-year-old daughter thought the XPS 13 was inferior to her high-school-issued laptop (which I can only assume was a Chromebook). Now my friend wants me to help him buy an Apple laptop as a high-school graduation gift for his daughter. I didn't bother explaining the pros & cons of PC vs Mac since they were both non-tech people. As you wrote in a prior article, you can have the top specs in a device, but if it ain't "cool" you're not gonna win anybody over, especially the younger demographics. MS needs to start them young. Elementary, middle school, high school, then college. Like you said, MS has to be passionate about Surface. Their message should be clear: Surface is cool and ... sexy!!!
  • Very well summarised
  • If they are non-tech people, then the MacBook is probably the best for them if they can afford it.
  • Disagree,  MacOS is a mess...and confusing.  WIndows by contrast is straight forward to use.   Close a program in MacOS.  without special key commands.  How do you do it...NOT just hit the X in the top corner like it is on windows.  you have to go into the menu at the top and find close program....it's a dumb OS>
  • I am not that familiar with Macs, but I have always just hit the red circle in the top corner of the window. I think it turns into an "X" when you hover it.
  • Nope.  that just minimizes it....it is still running.....see!  DUMB OS!
  • Kids have been growing up with Apple products for a decade now, iPod touch, iPhone, and iPad. It's only natural for them to reach for a Mac.
  • My God you write beautiful!
  • Jason... I've "passionately" preached about marketing for years... I've "passionately" said that poor marketing would get MS nowhere with WP, and all It's other products, but especially WP... I've always said that Marketing (in every sense of the word) was WP's greatest issue... I said it over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again..... Nevertheless, I was met with much disagreement, opposition, and ridicule... Others said that it wasn't marketing that's the issue, rather apps, MS being "late", and so on... I disagreed, and stuck with my point...
    ""Marketing is WP's greatest issue, because no matter how many apps WP has, no matter how good of quality those apps are, no matter how soon MS came to market with WP, no matter how terrific the OS is, and no matter how great the hardware is,,, none if it matters if nobody knows about it""... "it's like the biggest tree falling in the forest, and nobody being around to hear it"........
    So, now, here we are. Lots of fans talking (complaining) about marketing, and it's gone so far as to where WP "suggest" ideas to MS for marketing their products.... Let's step back, and think about that for a second.. No, I'm not talking about the fact that I TOLD YOU GUYS SO🙂, rather a more humble, less self involved, fact😂... Ok, let's ask ourselves 3 questions.
    1. Do iFans complain about Apple's marketing for any of their products❓
    2. Does iMore run articles suggesting to Apple how to sell/market their products❓
    3. Do Apple's products get attention❓
    Well, I think it's clear.... Microsoft does a horrible job "selling" their products to consumers... Now, I will give credit to MS for what they have done with Surface.. Nevertheless, if a "Surface Phone", or "Cortana Hub" were offered, I'm sure they would be TERRIFIC products, but we'd all have our doubts about the world finding out about them outside of MS telepathic idea of marketing........ Well, I'm just glad everyone finally sees now.... It's all about root cause. Sure there are always many factors that lead to a product not being successful, but their is always root cause. In MS's case it's marketing, and IMO, that's really all that matters until it's addressed first, and foremost..... Oh, and people... don't argue with me on this... Don't make me have to say it over again🤓
  • I was and currently in agreement with you!
  • You're a smart man💥💥💥
  • You're right, but please don't do marketing yourself... Your text is a total mess to read 😂 
  • Lol. Touché
  • They need never mention Apple in any of their marketing. Apple should not even exist in their minds.
  • Of course.
  • you made my point Jason :-)
  • you made my point Jason :-)
  • I so hope they distance themselves (by a continent or two) from whomever put together the clicking type cover ads from the first Surfaces.  And anything that sprays color as some way of showing themselves as fresh and colorful.  What Panos does consistently in his keynotes is brings a level of gravitas and futurism and sobriety and passion along with a dash of levity.  It's why he resonates IMO.  It's serious, and it's cool (not hip, but cool like timeless) in how he basically sells that passion.  And passion isn't dancing college hipsters in tubetops.  When you really give a damn about something you produced, you want folks to take it seriously, and thus there needs to be that gravitas and sobriety.  And it does need to have a little lift at times too, enough to not make it feel heavy, enough to let the serious bits breathe a touch.  I might be an old fogey but Porsche - who just flat out knows how to market that serious and passionate very well - ran an ad in the late 80s that I can still remember like yesterday.  And I used to get amped when the commercial came on - it sparked a long time passion for Porsche as a fan (something I have since gotten over since owning a measure with micrometer, mark with chalk, cut with axe variant myself).  It was an ad for the 951 (944 Turbo), not their flagship or even their soon to be only ship but the step-child 4-cylinder (see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfnbrEtOuYw).  This is dated now obviously but the bones of the campaign are what I so wish MS would dial into for their surface products; and perfect for the Surface Laptop which is sort of this very 951 child.  The notion of selling what it does, how it does it, how you feel from it, what it puts in your hands is so much more valuable than specs.  And so much more valuable than "better than Apple" messaging too.  Especially when the specs are in fact better - but don't sell that, let folks "realize" that as the punchline. ... Imagine you are a laptop.... is not just the ad but the mantra I wish they'd adopt with these products (including a rebooted phone), I just fear we'll get something closer to Gallagher smashing watermelons with a type cover.
  • #Aesthetics (more on UI)  ... And advertising budget 
  • Thank you Jason. I'm really glad you wrote this piece. Let's hope the right people at Microsoft read this article and listen.
  • Unfortunately, the Microsoft marketing team doesn't seem to understand how to sell their products. Too many times we've seen Microsoft come out with an obviously superior product, but then the marketing team falls down when it comes to convincing people that they need the product. For some reason Microsoft thinks that everyday users are sold by specs, but they're not. What does Apple do? As we all know, their products are often inferior, but the sales pitch is never about how big the hard drive is, or how much memory - it's all about lifestyle. Apple sells a much better life if you buy their products. You'll be able to take beautiful pictures, and listen to great music and you'll be much closer to your family because you own that amazing Apple product. Microsoft tells me how great the hard drive is, how much memory it will have, and the great keyboard - boring! Just once I want to see Microsoft market a product with lifestyle stuff instead of specs. That being said, maybe they advertise differently to the U.S. market, but in Canada their advertising is typically boring.
  • Microsoft buys a lot of companies.  They need to buy/hire whomever does Apple's marketing and advertising and then things may just turnaround sharply for them.  :)
  • Absolutely agree. People are buying Apple products often without full knowledge what is under the hood. Actually they don't care. It looks nice, it works and they think they will have "better life" with it. Unfortunately for them usually the inside is rotten, like with many apples ;-)
  • Can we please look beyond the last 3 years?
    "the Microsoft marketing team doesn't seem to understand how to sell their products"
    ... well, I think the founding fathers of Lotus 123, Wordperfect and Borland dbIV etc. etc. have a different view about the MS skills to sell their products.....
  • Typing this on my Mac Pro, and I am certainly not impressed with it. After 3 months of light usage and it is scuffed up. The keyboard is not the great thing the fans proclaim it to be. And then there is the trackpad. While it feels great to touch it, in practice it is a mess; touch, but don't touch too hard because that means something completely different. I had one of the new ones with the touch bar, but that mess went back after three days. I prefer the now 3 gens back devices rather than one with the touch bar. In all, my personal XPS 13 and XPS 15 are all around much better devices. They need to market them, but Apple laptops are far from the best devices that some would like you to believe. And that is not starting in on the complete cluster-f that is OS X.
  • :-)
  • "but don't touch too hard because that means something completely different."   You mean if you press hard on the trackpad it does something different, like click? Unheard of!
  • I have to say, I'm a little confused: on the one hand, I keep reading pieces on this site about how Surface devices, including the Surface laptop, are reference devices that Microsoft builds, in order to encourage its OEMs to build better Windows machines. And on the other hand, I read articles like this one, about how Microsoft's marketing department should challenge Apple with their own Surface devices. It can't be both, otherwise the message from the company will sound schizophrenic (as it often does).
  • Hi Johnny:
    Great question and that is a point I neglected to hit in this piece but that I DID address in an earlier piece that is linked at the end of this article: "With Windows 10 S and Surface Laptop, Microsoft takes aim at Google and Apple" ( https://m.windowscentral.com/microsoft-takes-chromebooks-and-macbooks-wi... )
    An excerpt from that peice reads:
    **"Inspiring a new class of laptops**
    As an aspirational device, we can expect OEM partners to build similar devices to this $999 Surface that will also target college students. As a range of laptops that will certainly come with an equally varied price range, Microsoft is hoping the Surface Laptop and inspired OEM devices will appeal to MacBook owners, just as the Surface Studio has done with Apple's creatives."
    So as you can see, it can do both😉.
  • Why can't they do both?
    And, what message from the company?
    Sometimes we fail to remember that everything WC post about MS, although may be true, MS never said themselves. MS is free to do whatever they want.. We just want them to do something.
  • Even https://reddit.com/r/winphonecirclejerk is using your warditorial stamp 💁
  • If Microsoft can get art students and designer/engineers using them they'll have a better shot at it. I'm a musician and I remember when if you wanted to use Pro Tools to record you had to use Apple. That's what made it cool, cool people were using it.
  • All through high school my daughter had a school supplied Macbook. As such she got to know it and prefer it over the Windows laptop she had at home.  When it was time to head off to college, she was persistant that she needed a Macbook for her Interior Design degree. Turns out, after her first year, she was asking for a new WIndows laptop because the Macbook couldn't efficiently run all the Adobe and Autodesk software that she needed.  Most of her classmates also made the switch.  Windows has come a long way from the days when it was almost a requirement to get an Apple to do any kind of design work.  That is what Microsoft needs to market effectively.
  • You are absolutely right. Unfortunately, you won't be able to run most Adobe or Autodesk software on Windows 10 S, since their not found in the Windows Store, and probably won't be. That makes the Surface Laptop a more difficult sell. 
  • That's true. A switch to Windows 10 Pro would be needed.
  • Which is here until December 31, 2017..... Easy upgrade, easy sell!
  • Also it is free for school any time if they need Win10Pro.
  • and 49 bucks after that...not like its 500 bucks or anything.
  • MSFT marketing to the consumer?!?!  They don't understand the consumer so the answer is "No!  The MSFT marketing team is not going to have the same level of passion or understanding to properly market the Surface Laptop." Unless college students are going to be perusing magazines called "Business IT" or "IT for the Enterprise". Next question!
  • The Surface Studio is aimed squarely for the creative type. College students learn what will get them a job, and the enterprise runs on Windows. And contrary to what you may like to believe, the average student does not carry around a Mac, the average student uses Windows. Mostly because Windows computers are more accessable because of their lower price. The Microsoft devices are not exactly cheap so the average student will buy a different device, but it is just another competitor against Apple. And while you may like to believe that Apple has a large marketshare of desktop and laptop computers, they simply do not.
  • So Nohone, what you are saying then is that MSFTs current non-marketing approach and keeping with the same "build it and they will come" approach is the best?  How did that work out for just about every consumer focused product that MSFT has come out with?  How is it working now? An earlier article today says that there may be another reboot/retrenchment.  I'm guessing that you are on board with that.  With this being the 3rd or 4th reboot/retrenchment, it isn't that big a deal.  The expectation now is that MSFT will keep rebooting/retrenching. I thought one of the definitions of insanity was doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.
  • If they don't market surface products well. What chance do they have with Surface phone?
  • That's my concern... But, they do in fact have a history of doing at least adequate marketing for Surface products, and they are catching on... MS needs to do the same, and more, for a Surface Phone, and needs to hit the right demographic initially. With no apps a Surface Phone is gonna have to thrive on it's obvious merits, which are productivity, and media consumption. MS must sell hundreds of thousands of Surface Phones to consumers who don't mind the app situation, but enjoy having a PC in their pocket (although they don't know they do yet)... Right now, nobody sitting in the room I'm in knows, or understands, what continuum is that type of stuff is gonna have to change.. MS marketing is so poor that if an uniformed consumer just happend to go for a Surface Phone, that consumer would not know it has desktop capabilities, is a full PC, or any other merits of the product. That consumer will get rid of a Surface Phone, and go back to a typical smartphone. There's literally a chance if informed about the capabilities of a Surface Phone, they may see value in it, and keep it regardless of Snapchat being MIA.. Granted most who buy a Surface Phone will buy with intent, and this is a more rare case, that issue still will arise.. Per my comment above, apps do matter, and they are nice, but they don't have to be the end of a device that doesn't have them. Apps don't have to determine a devices success if that device is marketed properly, and mostly from a demographic standpoint. Market the Surface Phone right, first, and apps will come second. They just need to ****** do the damn thing.
  • Ms has pretty much made good marketing impossible by releasing windows 10 s. Good luck communicating that. Nobody will understand the difference between windows 10 and 10s and lots of people will get peed off. Its not as MS has any goodwill to spare, any people switching to MS will do that with bad memories about MS its past products. At the slightest problem they will go back to Apple to never return.
  • I don't know about that, can you tell me why schools use Chromebooks? Is it for the play store or boot speed and security? I'm an IT director for a city who communicates with schools a lot and I've been told its price, boot speed, and security more than the play store.
  • The problem is that of need. Apple NEEDS impressionable people to overpay for apple hardware. OTOH Microsoft has no such need. Microsoft will not waste $14 billion marketing Surface as Samsung spent advertising  phones last year. What MS needs to do simply put is establish Win10S in elementary schools (replacing chromebooks and google) and have a presence in college book stores.
  • They need to offer the colors in ALL VARIANTS too.   I would grab a burgandy and blue top spec surface laptop ASAP!
  • Sadly, over the years, Microsoft's marketing has consistently been horrible.  Their TV ads always miss the mark where Apple nails it every time. No TV ad should even mention a single spec of the laptop.  Average consumers don't care, don't understand and will immediately write it off as a "nerd" computer. Apple shows people what the machine can do.  They show it doing cool things and running fun software.  Having a bunch of hipsters dancing around a board room clicking a keyboard on and off connects with nobody. I've been a tech guy my whole life and an MS fanboy most of it.  I have a Surfacebook and love it.  My daughter knows I'd have the best.  She's on her way to college this fall and I offered to get her an SB like mine.  She declined and wanted a Mac Air.  Dagger in my heart.  She doesn't know anything about either of them.  It's just that Apple is cool (as the article aptly points out). The Surface laptop looks as good or better than any Apple product but getting into that market will be tough.  I think they should sell them to students at cost.  Way undercut Apple's price.  That's the only thing that will offset the cool factor.  Students will reluctantly buy a Surface product because they can't walk away from the price.  Once they have one (and other students come to school with them) the cool factor will begin to sink in.  After they graduate, you have a customer for life.
  • If your daughter takes a Mac Air to college she will regret it later. My daughter (an Interior Design student) did and she wanted a Windows laptop after the first year because the Macbook couldn't handle all the design software efficiently enough, particularly when it came to renderings.
  • Sounds like She needed a Macbook Pro. The Air was probably under powered for heavy useage.
  • Perhaps but I wasnt willing to take a home equity loan out for a laptop and I can't image many students having the money to buy their own Pro.
  • The Macbook Pros aren't that much, especially for a PC to be used in a professional/creative setting. You might find a PC with similar specs for less, but you are going to sacrifice quality in other areas. I am no Mac fan, but they are hard to beat, especially when you consider resale value.
  • Microsoft: "We dont want to make a 'Me too' device"
    .
    .
    .
    Samsung, Apple: "Lets focus on China"
    Microsoft: "Me too"
  • Just have Panos do a few commercials and market it. He'll make sure it sells :P
  • Haha, we have created the Surface laptop and loaded it with Win S to become a joke.
  • Students are an age group in which group social acceptance is extremely important. Hence, group conformity plays a big role. Not too easy to get one to something else. That means addressing the leader, trend setting types.
    Go for it Microsoft, go! ;-)
  • Agreed.   I wanted to buy my son who is 18 in University a top spec xps 15,  touchscreen,  super hardware etc....he wanted a macbook air...the lowest spec is the one he wanted because all his friends had it....simple.   MS has to get this view changed.   Damn shame too,  that XPS is 10 times the computer that the chitty MBA is.
  • I think that putting Windows 10 S on the Surface Laptop, in particular, was a mistake. It's fairly obvious that this laptop is intended for the MacBook crowd, so in order to catch their attention, Microsoft should have put it's best foot forward. The Surface Laptop is a premium product; its operating system should not be a limited system. Using Windows 10 S confuses the message. How do you explain Windows 10 S without saying that it's somehow less capable than Windows 10 Home Edition? That's the wrong place to start, if you want to sell a premium laptop.  
  • "Look at this cool Surface Laptop! It runs Windows 10 S, which is just is just like normal Windows 10, except you can't . . . " "That's alright. I'll just stick to my MacBook. It just works."
  • It can only bring Microsoft bad press. Windows 10S has no advantage for any but Microsoft.
  • I disagree with the statement that the creator always knows his or her creation best. Sometimes I created something and others saw potential I didn't see myself. The other way around I have played a multiplayer game for over 15 years and together with a group of fans we created a playing style, a way of playing, that the creators never could have imagined. The creation of something is just the beginning. Others can add lot to it or give it unforeseen use. Therefore I advise Microsoft to hire some experts, because they themselves can't do it. Proven by history.
  • It's not only Microsoft...
    Here in the Netherlands, the national news never mentions the new HW products of Microsoft.
    But if Apple only has to do the smallest thing and it would make the evening news headlines...
  • Microsoft reinvents the planet Earth...nobody notices, nobody cares. Apple thinks dirt is the next big thing in farming and the Internet goes wild!
  • Yet no Apple commercials are shown on tv in the Netherlands. And in the major soap Windows Phones were used and Surface devices were shown. Also, when MS updates its operating system it is mentioned in the news just like with Google and Apple. 
  • All Colors at all configurations would be a good idea
  • Wow such a great article that explains what I've been wanting Microsoft to do for years!
  • Thanks Rohan. Feel free to share😉
  • I think in 2017 Microsoft won more attention from tech media than Apple regarding laptops. First, this is Microsoft's first laptop, previously they only launched 2 in 1 with Surface Pro and SurfaceBook and AIO with Surface Studio. With that said, Windows 10 S was aimed to compete against Chromebooks which I think it was a homerun for Microsoft.  Apple unfortunately, had more attention from press media from their refreshed 10.5" iPad Pro which I think its less powerful than Windows 10S since it runs a toy OS called iOS.  When Apple launches a 2 in 1 with MacOS I'll have their attention and my money, for now Microsoft won over Apple on both tablets and laptops.
  • This may be true. But if the laptops, macOS, iPhone and iWatch Apple introduced during WWDC 2017 get great reviews then it will've most definately taken back the initiative. The new Ipad pro while not being defined as a 2 in 1 has been given a boost in performance and productivity. As I said, if Apple's new hardware and software get rave reviews from techies and consumers alike, then the would have regained the initiative and momentum from MS. But we will probably only know to what extent by the end of the year.
  • I am not sure Gabriel.  You and I both know that MS is way ahead of apple in desktop/laptop hardware and software,  the general populous still thinks that MS is work devices and mac are "lifestyle" devices.   I know better....My w10 dell 2 in 1 kills my sons MBA in every way.
  • MBA is very good choice for your son congratulations. :) I want to have a MBA for my Dad, but he thinks he can get one used MBA for better price. I'd probably buy it now that Apple still makes them, who knows and maybe in 2018 they cancel MBA shipments and focus on high end only (MB Pro and MacBook) which are more expensive.
  • It's only good because everyone he knows has one.  the XPS i was going to get him is much much better.  If I were you,  I would get your dad something like that instead of the mac.  Hell,  as mentioned,  my 500 dollar dell is a much better device than the macbook is.
  • Microsoft.... passionately market something? I think I have better chances of seeing flying pigs in tutus.
  • well... if you live in the USA, Roger Waters is currently on tour so you can see pigs fly in various Gigs all over the USA....
  • Microsoft marketing team use Apple products how can they have passion with Microsoft products.. Fake it till you make it
  • How do you know? I'm genuinely curious. 
  • Microsoft marketing team use Apple products how can they have passion with Microsoft products.. Fake it till you make it..
  • IF IT'S TRUE MICROSOFT'S MARKRTING TEAM USES APPLES PRODUCTS MS CEO NADELA SHULD FORCE AT ONE OF THEM THEM TO USE THE SURFACE LAPTOP TO GET THE FEEL OF THE PRODUCT SO THEY CAN SELL IT .
  • Microsoft marketing team is suck!
    They don't share the passion of the product team!
    The old days Nokia marketing team is creative!
  • I actually see the issue as marketing AND software simplicity/clarity of purpose. Windows 10 is a good OS, but still needs more clarity. I think 10s does a lot to do that, but ... but then we have action center and Cortona and and and. They must simplify the OS too.
  • Speaking of apple envy... Who cares about laptops anymore... They should focus on mobile. But please, bring a nearly finished product... MS is becoming synonymous with "work in progress" unfinished buggy OSes.
  • I couldn't hate Microsoft's hardware division more right now. They're completely lost, it feels like. This article seems to also almost forget your last--Microsoft, as a brand, isn't capable of this. They're setting themselves up to be either EXTREMELY niche or a total disappointment. Despite this site's rabid supporters (who will threaten you with death if you don't worship the entirety of Microsoft at all times), the fanbase for the company isn't wide enough to pull this off. The Surface Laptop just makes no sense, from basically every angle. The aiming at education is useless with the starting price. Why would a school mass-purchase these things when they're so pricey and have such dismal internals? Schools are going to want to save money, not make fashion statements. They can't compete with Chromebooks here, nor can they cmopete with their own OEMs--they've set themselves out of the mass-market education business, IMO. For regular students, what do they care about the MS brand? You said yourself before--it's not cool. Apple is the cool brand, and that's the long and short of it. Micorosft can't price itself as an ultra-premium brand like this without the fan base to support it; not enough folks will buy it. The student market is the Apple fanaticts and the people looking for practical machines; the Surface Laptop is neither. Even from a functionality standpoint, the Surface Laptop is just a mess. They made this inking push, then made their new toy a nightmare for inking. Who wants to write on the screen of a non-hybrid laptop? It seems like it would be quite annoying. If they had simply made this a convertible-hinged device (like a Yoga), it would have been a much nicer product. Instead, they refresh the Surface Pen and shut it out of the new product category they entered? Seems bizarre. So, then you get to folks like me. I was initially really pleased with what Microsoft was doing in hardware with Surface. Now, they've become the epitome of what I hate. They pulled the pen from the Surface Pro, while even raising the price on some models (like the i5 8 GB model), so your device price stayed flat or went up, then you added another $50 upcharge for the pen. You've priced yourself out of any interest I have with the Surface Laptop, since it's so woefully underpowered, then you followed with the same thing on the Surface Pro refresh. It's not a device priced for practicality; unless you're a MAJOR pen user who needs to do that content creation at absurd levels, there's 0 value in the Surface Pro, and even less in the Surface Laptop. In the last 2 year,s MS has driven me from pushing Surface al the time to putting it at the top of my "do not buy' lists. Even at work, we've bought a dozen or more Surfaces for employees, and with this latest refresh and pricing/feature structure, we're likely done with the brand because it's just a money sink for no quantifiable benefit. Anyway, I just don't see where the Surface Laptop works. It's underpowered at its price in general. Put it next to other Windows OEMs, and it's maybe $200-300 more than it should be. It lacks the premium reputation and fa base to be sold at a premium price and be a hit, like the Macbook. It might be as good as a Macbook at the same price, but Microsoft doesn't carry that ability to brand tax like Apple. I just think the Surface Laptop is, like I explained, the very pinnacle of why I think Microsoft hardware has gone woefully astray in the last year or two,
  • You have clearly NOT understood the purpose of the Surface Laptop. And I do not need 617 words to make that observation.....
  • Microsoft innovation spell can break Apple fan spell.
  • Can somebody please enlighten me, what category Microsoft actually created with the Surface line with the exceptance of Surface Pro? Because I work in a big IT company, traveling and getting into the offices of other big IT companies, also have lots of tech savvy friends, considered casual customers, and haven't ever seen any Surface Studios or such, or Surface Books or such, or even Surface Pros or such devices in the wild??? Noone in Europe is using such devices and everyone actually is using normal laptops that are here for ages. What are these categories that Microsoft invented, because as far as I know, to invent a category there must be someone in it to be considered a thing.. It's like I can invent a category right away and what so? Can we please stop with this BS?
  • I've been seeing the Surface and other 2 in 1 devices for a few years now, I admit most people I know have a regular laptop, but obviously with every OEM copying Micrsoft they've created a new category of computer. Before the Surface, I hadn't even heard of a 2 in 1 with stylus support, it's something I wanted nearly 10 years before it happened.
  • Who is copying Microsoft exactly on the mass scale? I work in one of the largest IT corporations on the planet and travel a lot and told you, in the massive continent of Europe I haven't seen a single person using 2 in 1, whatever this bullsh*t is. People everywhere are using normal laptops. Category...
  • Wow Jason! Great article and like so many here I agree whole heartedly with you. But, and there is always a “but” with MS, I think your supplications will or already have fallen on deaf ears. MS reminds me of the Ferrari/Lamborghini story( http://www.newsday.com/classifieds/cars/lamborghini-built-sports-cars-to... ). Pay attention to paragraph 4. I do not think MS listens. Some MS fans here and elsewhere have only made things worse by treating people who have called for a smarter marketing as lepers. If you watch Apple’s WWDC2107 keynote, you will see that they have done exactly what you advise here. And the crowd present was evidence enough to support this. The trouble may be Satya and his habit of using iPhones for demonstration purposes. It’s like the C.E.O of Ford driving BMW as his daily driver and then taking it to work to demonstrate Ford’s sync infotainment system. How will he improve the quality of his own products? Why did the first iPhone have a glass screen? A Steve Jobs took it for a test drive and was not impressed with the screen quality ( http://www.businessinsider.com/steve-jobs-new-iphone-screen-2012-1?IR=T ). But, in his defense and commentary to his iPhone use, MS or M$ appears to be a tech company that wants to make a lot of money first by making things. Apple appears to be the opposite. It’s a tech company that wants to create things that people want and in turn make them money – and a lot of it. Some here will howl and scream but it shows. The Surface line is amazing on its own. W10 is amazing on its own and so is OneDrive. But you get a distinct sense that they do not tie into each other well, a sense. With Apple, your iPhone is in sync with your macOS, your mac book, carplay, iwatch, ipad, itunes and apple tv and now homepod. Whether you need all this stuff is another story but there is a distinct sense that they are all tied together in some way to make your life easier. Without apps MS will be seen the thing you need to deal with from 9-5 or however long you at the office after which you go home (using your iPhone) to the Apple ecosystem. It is the job of marketing make it clear how the MS ecosystem can work to make your life better. So, you need to be a MS guru to fully enjoy the MS ecosystem. We cannot all be that. All that said, I do really love my WP 10(the last true Nokia 830) and the performance and ease of W10 OS.
  • Thanks William and great input!😎
  • Not sure in which Europe you live In my European based multinational company 20% of the laptops are no longer Dells by MS SP (so that's several thousands of units) . No manager wants an iPad anymore as they realize it is a toy. The MS SP is in a very convenient form factor to carry around when walking in to meetings and docked in the office with 2 monitors it is as robust and fast as the fastest Dell laptop.
  • I visit (big) companies regularly in Europe but haven't seen many Surface devices. Sometimes some people that work for themselves use them but general management use an iPad or the thin clients or basic laptops. They live on their phone anyway (mostly iPhones). 
  • It is the same in Africa. Africa is probably 99% MS but no one uses any Surface products for work or leisure. Even in coffee shops you only see iPads, more than you'd expect but no Surface or W10 tablets. And like your experiece, managent use iPads. I'm not sure how it works but there are very, very, very few W10 tablets used by management teams. 
  • Panos has this face like "omg what have I done". But man that Red laptop looks gorgeous. I want one. That's right just like when people buy cars to have pretty ones, they do the same with tech.
  • YEp...they are awesome looking.  Blue for me red for my wifey!
  • There was an ad, I think for a Lexus, a few years back. It was all about the headlight. It talked about the seamless fit between light and the metal around it, how the shape perfectly went through the air without adding a whisper of sound, the color of the light on a dark foggy road, how it cast light perfectly in front of the car even around a turn, etc. Then the ad ended with something like, "and if we put that much attention into the headlight, just imagine the rest of the car." One of the most compelling car ads I've ever seen, and exactly the theme Jason recommended in the article. I would say something like that (not exactly that of course -- don't ever be derivative in advertising a new product) is the way to capture the attention to quality and passion that Panay and his team put into the Surface Laptop.
  • I would like to try Surface book, or Surface Pro 4 but it is still not in Czech republic Microsoft store?! Why, I don't get it?