Just as Apple gets more media exposure than it deserves based on product marketshare, Microsoft has received an oversized helping of kudos for Windows 10 and the Surface line of tablet-cum-notebooks while PC sales suffer.
We’ve all seen the Microsoft television commercials which pit a Surface this-or-that against an iPad and against a MacBook. It’s just no comparison. Surface runs Windows. iPads do not. Surface has a touchscreen. The Mac does not. Ipso facto, alakazam. Microsoft wins. Apple loses. Except for that pesky math.
Windows 10: $50
The latest has Microsoft selling a MacBook killer called the Surface Laptop. Think of it as a modestly powered Windows 10-based PC notebook with a touchscreen and priced hundreds less than a MacBook. Until you match hardware specifications. Then it’s priced the same. Up the specifications even more and it’s priced the same as a MacBook Pro. So, no, it’s not a MacBook killer but it does come with a killer feature.
Windows 10 S.
S? Yeah, Windows 10 S. Think of it as Windows 10 Lite. It does everything regular Windows 10 can do if you’re willing to pay $50 extra. This version of Windows is available only on the cheapest of cheap Windows tablet-notebooks and seems designed more to take on Google’s success with Chromebooks, which usually start at $299. The Surface Laptop starts at $999, so I’m not sensing as much competition as the news headlines or Microsoft’s promotional materials indicate, but the Windows makers OEM manufacturers might like it. Windows 10 S is free to manufacturers who sell cheaper devices.
If anything, it’s Windows 10 S that is a Chromebook killer, not a MacBook killer.
Why? First, it’s only available on the cheapest of Windows-based PCs. Second, it only runs applications from the Windows App Store. No Photoshop for you. No Google Chrome browser, either. If you want to run those and other popular applications on a Windows 10 S device you need to upgrade and that comes with a $50 price tag.
What If, Apple?
What kind of social noise would you hear across the world if Apple followed in Microsoft’s footsteps and sold a MacBook for $999 that only ran macOS Sierra Lite? You know, the version of macOS that could only run apps from the Mac App Store. No Photoshop. No Office. No Google Chrome. And if you wanted to run such third party applications that did not have Mac App Store counterparts, you’d have to pay Apple $50 extra to unlock the privilege.
How would you feel about Apple if you were faced with a $50 price tag just so you could run a few apps not on the Mac App Store?
I understand where Microsoft is going with this. They’re stuck between a rock and a hard spot and it’s not easy competing against free at the low end and Apple’s massive lock on the premium end of the PC spectrum. Google’s Chromebooks are selling at record levels. So are Macs. In between are Windows PCs and they’re getting creamed by the competition. PC sales are down. Again. Surface sales are down. Again.
What else can Microsoft do but lie about their products capabilities and screw their customers just a little more?