John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Microsoft Celebrates $900 Million Surface RT Write-Down With Ironic Advertisement

“I don’t think anybody has done a product that is the product that I see customers wanting. Not Apple. Not Google. Not Amazon. Nobody has a product that lets you work and play that can be your tablet and your PC. Not at any price point. This is a first-class tablet that people can enjoy and appreciate. It’s a PC; it’s a tablet. It’s for play; it’s for work. It’s got a great price. That product doesn’t exist today.”

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, October 2012

surface_adYesterday, Microsoft announced a $900 million write-down to reflect unsold inventory of Surface RT, the tablet the company says consumers really want, but just never seem to buy. Today, it’s touting the laggard device as best-of-breed in a new advertisement slagging Apple’s iPad — a device that dominates the tablet market in which Microsoft is now hopelessly floundering.

Yet another move to clear out Surface RT inventory in the face of lackluster demand for the tablet. But also an indication that Microsoft’s leadership remains committed to Surface RT, despite a failure so impressively well realized. As Brian Hall, the general manager of Surface marketing, told ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley, the device just needs a little more word-of-mouth buzz to help it succeed. Said Hall, “We know we need a lot of Surface users to start the flywheel of people recommending it.”


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work