It’s everywhere. You see it in religion, politics, education, and business. Remember Windows vs. the Mac? Now it’s Android vs. iPhone. Both are historic battles of false equivalencies. Windows is an operating system. The Mac is a personal computer. Android is an operating system. iPhone is a smartphone. Yet, here we are with Microsoft keeping the flames of battle from dying out. Again.
Here’s the story as viewed by an aging boomer. Comparisons matter. So do false equivalencies and we see those everywhere. The entire personal computer industry is in decline; or, perhaps at best, in the throes of a wicked transformation. Yes, thanks to iPhone and the mobile revolution embodied in smartphones, the post-PC era is here. But to hear Microsoft tell the story, all is well. It is not.
Technology pundits and market prognosticators– often nattering nabobs of negativism when discussing anything Apple– herald Microsoft’s Surface PC line as the industry’s savior. In a series of television commercials, Microsoft itself throws more light on the meme by comparing a Surface notebook to an iPad, and a Surface notebook to a Mac.
See? False equivalencies. They are not the same. Microsoft touts the Surface line as both a PC and a tablet. The iPad is, well, a typical tablet. The Mac is a somewhat traditional notebook. Without a touchscreen. I admire Microsoft’s efforts to turn around falling PC sales, but the handwriting is on the wall. That toothpaste ain’t going back into the tube. We’re living in the mobile era now, and compromised hybrid devices just haven’t done much to stem the tide.
Wait. How is that possible? Pundits and analysts all say the same as Microsoft’s commercials. Microsoft’s Surface wins while Apple’s iPad and Mac lose. Well, a funny thing happened, and it’s a true story. Memes often are disguised lies. Numbers are, well, somewhat more factual.
While Apple’s iPad sales have dropped in recent years thanks to changes in the marketplace, the company still sells about as many iPads as Dell, and the Mac is selling at record levels. Again. What about Microsoft’s Surface devices? Well, they’re in decline. Again. Sufficiently in decline that Microsoft executives warned investors about the upcoming decline.
Competition and reality. PC customers found out that Windows 10 touchscreen devices are more of a cheap-assed personal computer than a tablet that resembles and competes with the iPad. A Surface– regardless of the touchscreen– is a poor tablet, and as a hybrid device, compromises too much.
Still, there’s another pesky math problem. Though Microsoft isn’t afraid to toss a false equivalency into a television commercial to make a compelling reason to buy an all-in-one tablet-notebook hybrid device vs. iPad or Mac, customers are not buy the hype as much these days, and are paying more attention to what I refer to as equivalency math.
An entry level Microsoft Surface Book starts at $1,499 which is the same as a MacBook Pro which comes with double the storage. A fully tricked out Surface Book with 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD storage, and Intel i7 inside comes in at $3,199. That’s the same price for a similarly equipped 15-inch MacBook Pro. $3,199.
Windows PC makers struggle to make a profit while the Mac sells at record levels. Microsoft Windows 10 hybrid Surface devices featuring touchscreens and detachable keyboards are experiencing sales drops. For all intents and purposes, for now at least, Microsoft is out of the Windows Phone business. But, thanks to the twin cash cows of Windows and Office, and a few new cloud businesses, Microsoft is doing OK.
It’s just that customers have seen through the tech media hype and are calling Microsoft’s fake battles what they are. Failed battles.