Follow us:

Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

July 19, 2013 at 9:36 AM

New Surface RT ad taking on iPad part of Microsoft’s efforts to goose sales

A day after Microsoft announced it was taking nearly a billion-dollar write-down on Surface RT inventory, it’s releasing a new ad pitting it against the iPad and touting the Surface RT’s now-lower price.

[do action=”custom_iframe” url=”” width=”630″ height=”500″ scrolling=””/]

Of course, the lower price — a $150 reduction — is the reason Microsoft took a $900 million write-down in its fiscal fourth quarter on the Surface RT inventory in the first place.

The Surface RT tablets, which run a “lite” variant of Windows 8 that will not run full desktop Windows programs (other than Office) but will run apps designed for the Windows 8 tile interface, was originally priced at $499 for the 32 GB version and $599 for the 64 GB version. The price reduction brings the cost down to $349 and $449, respectively. The keyboard covers that feature in all the ads for Surface cost extra.

The new ad and price reduction are part of several actions Microsoft folks have taken in recent weeks to try to goose sales of the Surface RT.

It’s also reduced the price of the Surface RT to schools and allowed more resellers to sell the tablet.

Brian Hall, general manager of Surface marketing, said in an interview Thursday that “people who use Surface RT are strong advocates of it.”

But there simply aren’t many of them out there and, he acknowledged, “it’s going to take a significant number to compete with 100 million-plus iPad [users.]”

The challenge, he says, is “we’re establishing a different category in the tablet market — the productive tablet.”

Some analysts and users have pointed out, however, that the app ecosystem for the Surface RT (which, aside from Office, runs only apps from the Windows Store) lags behind that of Apple’s and Android’s in terms of number of apps and specific apps that people in particular industries may need to use.

“The Windows Store is growing really fast,” with some 100,000 apps in it now, Hall said. And “the most important apps for getting things done — Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook — are on it. We’re the only tablet with the Office suite.”

The new Surface RT ad, like a previous Microsoft ad¬†featuring a Windows 8 tablet, ¬†goes one-on-one with the iPad, using a fake “Siri” — the Apple iOS voice-activated assistant. This new ad, which will air on TV and online, makes fun of the iPad’s lack of kickstand, USB port and custom keyboard, ending with “Siri” saying: “Do you still think I’m pretty?”

The ad had been shown earlier this month at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference where it received loud applause from the attendees.


Comments | More in Microsoft | Topics: advertising, ipad, surface


No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.

The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.

The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►