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‘Microsoft Pro Tab Will Find It Hard To Compete’: Analyst Warns


Leading analyst says Microsoft new tablet, Pro 3, will find it hard to compete against an army of cheaper Android and Windows tablets, notebooks, and Chromebooks. Microsoft new tablet may also rock relationships with OEM partners.

OEMs were initially dismissive of Microsoft entrance in the tablet market, but now three generations on, Surface Pro 3 has caught up with rival tablet solutions, having ironed out some initial issues with the first generation, says Foad Fadaghi, Telsyte analyst.  

Previous Surface models had been criticised as too bulky to use as a tablet and too small to use as laptop. 

But now, Pro 3, launched yesterday, is even being flagged as an MacBook killer. 

Microsoft claims the 12 inch Surface 3 “with a simple click, transforms from a perfectly balanced tablet to a full-functioning laptop”.

Aimed at working professionals, Surface Pro 3, runs an Intel Core i3/ i5/ i7  processors delivers the power and performance of a laptop with up to 9 hours of battery life. IT also boasts a new multi-position kickstand that lets you place it at any angle, Surface Pen stylus, and Dolby Audio speakers.

Prices start at A$979 for the i3 64GB model – a keyboard costs $150, bringing the total to $1129. 

Microsoft is looking to break into the executive market dominated by Apple’s MacBook Air. Surface 3 is thinner than a MacBook Air and lighter than its predecessors at 800g. The basic MacBook Air weighs in at 1.08kg and starts at A$1099 with an i5 chip. 

It will be marketed through JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman retail stores as well as Microsoft’s online store.

Laptop or PC users looking to move to a new device will be Pro 3’s core market  – a high end Microsoft application user and PC user who never owned a tablet, says Fadaghi. 

And luckily for Microsoft, there are a lot of people in that space, and the company are targeting the ‘mobile professional, working professionals, student, creator, creative.

However, the challenge is the market is not what it used to be as we’re living in a ‘post PC’ world.

“There are too many substitutions for Windows products. Microsoft will find it hard to compete,” the analyst warns.

Price remains a “challenge” for Surface Pro – getting consumers to cough up $1000 plus for a tablet when they can get an Windows, Android tablet or even an iPad for a lot less. 

Windows-operated laptops have also plummeted in price – you can buy a decent spec one for around $500. Meanwhile, Surface 3 is twice the price. 

Even in the education market, Surface will also have to compete with Google Chromebooks priced at around $350. 

However, JB Hi-Fi Director Scott Browning believes Microsoft Pro will continue to be a winner for the retailer, having previously proved hugely popular. 

“We anticipate that Pro 3 will continue the momentum for Surface,” he told CN. 

‘Competitive Tension’

Pro 3 is directly competing against other Windows tablets and laptops from Toshiba, Asus and Acer, and Fadaghi  points to “competitive tension” between Microsoft and its hardware partners. 

The continuance of Microsoft in the tablet market “may cause some increased strain on OEM relationships moving forward,” he says.  

OEMs are also not as reliant on Windows platform as they once were – there are lots of new OS’s on the horizon, which may jeopardize the relationship further, if Redmond isn’t careful. 

‘Post PC’

But the irony for Microsoft as it makes a fresh bid for the tablet consumer is its most successful ‘post PC’ device is, in fact, a PC. 

There are still more PCs than iPad users, globally. 

Fadaghi also questions reports previous Pro tablets has sold well, saying demand may be “proportional” – it may be selling well compared to previous Pro models or PC’s. 

Windows OS tablets still makes up just a tiny proportion of the market, and Microsoft remain a minor player in that space. 

Its early days to measure its real impact on the market, he says. 

Time will tell.