In 2001 I bought a revolutionary product from Microsoft. It wasn’t the first of its kind on the market and far from the best. I just bought it because compared to the other choices it was the newest and it held promises for the future that the other systems did not (at least from my point of view).
Compared to the competition the product was a flop. It sold 24 million units over 6 years while the then market-leader sold 175 million. Even number two in the market sold 5 times as many systems as Microsoft did.
Nevertheless, this product – the original XBOX – is a huge Microsoft success. In ended the dominance of Sony’s PlayStation and prepared the rise of the XBOX 360 as the dominant gaming platform of today.
Why is this of any interest when looking at the Surface RT? Well, first of all the sales numbers are following a similar pattern. If Surface RT keeps selling at around 1 million / quarter it would reach the same amount of sales as the XBOX did. But more importantly, it demonstrates the Microsoft model:
Release a Version 1 product, learn from it, release Version 2, take over the market.
And it shows that Microsoft thinks long term. Between the first XBOX sold and the dominance of the 360 lie more than 10 years.
So is the Surface RT an epic fail? No way! It is a Version 1 (together with the Surface Pro which will be released next week). Microsoft will learn from it, adapt Version 2 and take over the PC hardware market together with their by then fully integrated hardware manufacturers Dell and Nokia.
Let’s just wait 10 years!
(and hope the XBOX model holds true and this is not another Zune)