Microsoft unveiled its exciting new Surface Pro 3 tablet at a press event in NYC yesterday targeting a very specific demographic of end-users : nobody.
Here’s why. The very basic 12-inch model which runs on the older generation Intel core i3 processors costs a gargantuan $800. The core i7 model, which is the only version any sane person should consider, costs $1550. And this is before you add the cost of must-have accessories like the $130 keyboard, $200 docking station, $50 surface pen, $80 Ethernet adapter. Plus taxes, of course.
New CEO Satya Nadella expressed hope that the new product, touted as a laptop-killer, would be very appealing to enterprise and retail customers who are not all that good at adding numbers.
Nadella must also be fervently praying that nobody notices he launched a supposed “laptop killer” product without including a keyboard (at least in the price of the device). In nerd terms, this is akin to Batman trying to kill the Joker in The Dark Knight without the batmobile.
The timing couldn’t be any better either. After years of spectacular growth rates, the tablet market is expected to drop from 52% in 2013 to less than 19% growth in 2014. “We were patiently waiting for this precise moment to launch our most exorbitantly priced high-end device yet” said Nadella, before adding “If we can somehow make the iPad seem the cheap tablet option, we would have done our job”.
Product Chief Panos Panay explained that the device will be driven on the dual marketing strategy of adding features like 4K-support that no one wants and micro-targeting customers who have no idea there are other vendors also selling laptops / tablets.
He also clarified that the company had backed off plans to introduce a smaller, less expensive version of the Surface tablet due to concerns that “some people might want to buy it”.