Apple’s Mac has a worldwide market share that probably does not touch double figures. Among influential and professional notebook users, though, the Mac holds its own and takes home about half the entire PC industry’s profits.
It’s safe to say that mindshare, revenue share, and profit share belong to the Mac. So powerful is the Mac’s influence on the industry that most Windows PC makers have their own line of premium Mac notebook killers. Here’s the latest one from Microsoft.
What Price Glory?
Some market analysts expect Microsoft to ditch the Surface line of hybrid touchscreen notebook-tablets and desktop PCs in the next few years. So far, Surface is something of a money loser for Microsoft and sales have declined for about a year, despite the pro-Windows technology industry touting the entire Surface line as veritable Mac and iPad killers.
Without touting the benefits of macOS High Sierra vs. Windows 10.x, let’s see what you get for what you spend, Surface 2 notebooks vs. MacBook Pro.
13-inch MacBook Pro with 256GB SSD storage, 8GB RAM, integrated GPU, and 7th generation Intel Core i5 is priced at $1,499. The new 13.5-inch Microsoft Surface notebook features 256GB SSD storage, 8GB RAM, integrated GPU, and 7th generation Intel Core i5, priced at $1,499.
$1,499. Same price for both. The Surface features a touchscreen and two USB-A ports and a USB-C port
New this year is a 15-inch Surface notebook which starts at $2,499 for an Intel Core i7, 8GB RAM, 256 GB SS storage, and a dGPU. That compares to the entry-level 15-inch MacBook Pro which comes with a 7th generation Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD storage, a Radeon Pro 555 GPU with 2GB RAM, four Thunderbolt-USB-C ports, and Touch Bar with Touch ID.
$2,499 for Surface vs. $2,399 for MacBook Pro. The surface features a touchscreen and two USB-A ports and a USB-C port.
Both lines– Microsoft Surface and MacBook Pro– can push specifications to 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD storage at about the same price tag. The most notable differentiation between the two are Windows 10 vs. macOS High Sierra, and the Surface touchscreen.
There are other notable differences, particularly in the displays. The Surface models have nearly 50-percent more pixels than the MacBook Pro models. There’s a full-sized SD card reader built in, and the screens use Surface Pen and detach from the keyboard. The high end Surface models also use Intel’s latest CPUs while the Macs do not. Yet.
What I find interesting here are not the differences– Windows 10 and detachable touchscreen– but the fact that Microsoft’s Surface has not caught on in the marketplace. Generally speaking, Windows 10 PC sales have dropped for years, and the only growth in the industry comes from detachable touchscreens– exactly what Microsoft pushes as a key differentiator from the Mac.
Yet, Surface sales continue to decline. Why?
Differentiation is important and the Surface PC line has more models than the Mac. What’s wrong? Differentiation requires a competitor to make a substantially better product at roughly the same price as the direct competitor. Microsoft’s Surface prices are about the same as comparable Macs, but detachable touchscreens have yet to become attractive enough to customers to switch. Other caveats include a quad-core Intel CPU in the 13-inch model which the 13-inch MacBook does not have. Microsoft claims better battery life, too, but we know from experience that tests and propaganda don’t always reflect real life situations.
The new Surface 2 line is not a Mac killer. But if Surface sales and Windows PC sales don’t pick up soon, Microsoft might kill the Surface.