June 19, 2012 Will Microsoft be able to pull a 720 and reclaim Surface margins
All kidding aside these two technologies are poised to either propel Microsoft back into happy dominance, or be yet another money sink that will further cement the dominance of Apple in the software and hardware markets.
First, for those who don’t know two important tech announcements came out last week -
The game plan for the x-box 720 (coming out in 2013), which is meant to be an all inclusive living-room experience for populations of gamers and non-gamers alike. This gaming system along with other elements of the Microsoft model (yammer acquisition) further position Microsoft to be a viable player in the cloud.
The Microsoft answer to the iPad – the Surface, which is essentially a tablet with a keyboard.
Why could it go right?
- As a player of the x-box 360, I can vouch for just how addicting the games and subsequent send can be. All consoles have exclusive games, but the games on the 360 tend to have fiercely loyal following in user groups that actually have the money to spend.
- There’s already a precedent for games to be only shadows of themselves without the downloadable content (dlc) that’s only accessible when a player pays for x-box live. The 720 will be making this even more true where gamers will have to buy into x-box live to play games at all.
- The Surface answers a big reason why people have not switched to tablets: touch screens can be annoying to type on.
- Some people just don’t like apple’s interface and the Surface provides a meaningful alternative in the tablet space.
Why could it go wrong?
- As loyal as the following is, the x-box 360 has begun to alienate its audiences with making the x-box live subscription mandatory.
- The gamers with money are not happy about the prospect of not being able to buy used games/share games with friends. This could push gamers onto other systems.
- Apple explicitly stayed away from a keyboard on its tablets because it did not want to bring the baggage of the notebook to the tablet. Microsoft is ignoring this, potentially to its detriment.
- People don’t associate Microsoft with “cool” they associate it with boring (stable) business, and these two platforms represent more of an identity crisis than anything else.
Will you be buying Microsoft’s newest gadgets? Do you think they’re just what the doctor ordered or another Steve Balmer sadface moment?