Microsoft plans midnight launch for Surface
Who does they think they are, JK Rowling?
Say what you like about Microsoft, but the company has never lacked chutzpah.
According to invites sent out on Thursday, the company is to launch its Surface tablet hybrid at midnight on October 26 from its pop-up stores. This means Redmond is expecting punters to queue up through the night for a chance to buy a system that has no firm pricing, limited specification data, and that hasn't been properly reviewed by independent third parties.
As El Reg has pointed out, Microsoft has a mountain to climb with Surface, although the tablet could inspire OEMs to be a bit more creative with Windows 8 systems. The Surface certainly looks good, but the devil is in the details – and there have been precious few of those.
Sure, Microsoft has released some specifications for the systems – one for an x86-powered Surface and one running Windows RT – but even at the launch event this June there was little chance to try the units out. No one is sure what processors Surface units will be running, how much RAM has been packed in, or if there's a battery in there that'll last a useful amount of time.
It's a brave plan, since midnight launches are more common with staggeringly popular things such as the latest Harry Potter tome. True, Apple fanbois and girlz are renowned for waiting through the night to be the first with a shiny new toy, but this is Microsoft we're talking about. With a few notable exceptions (some nice peripherals, later Xbox models) the company hasn't covered itself with glory on the hardware-design front.
Steve Ballmer may be convinced that the Surface systems will fly off the shelves, and Redmond will be issuing around 93,000 to full-time employees, but a midnight launch could be overdoing it, in The Reg's opinion. ®
I presume they've chosen such a late hour to allow people to queue under cover of darkness and thus avoid the shame of being seen to be standing in line for a Microsoft product.
Outside at five minutes to midnight
Journalist with camera, " so you've been here all day waiting for the store to open?"
"Yeah, can't wait to be the first to get the new model!"
"So what is it that you think makes this the must have product of 2012?"
"I got an iPhone, iMac, iPad, the mini sounds so cooool!"
"The mini? But this is the queue for Windows 8!"
"Didn't you realise you are the only one here?"
That's a good way of hiding your failed launch from the general public so of course they're going to do it.
Re: Shhhh! - you'll ground the suspended disbelief!
> at midnight on October 26
Excuse me is that the midnight just before 2012-10-26 00:00:01 or the midnight just after 2012-10-26 23:59:59 ?
> an NZ boy becoming the "first in the world" to buy a copy of Win95 (queued for a day for the midnight opening).
He probably turned up at the wrong midnight and had nothing better to do for the next 24 hours.
There are enough MS fanboys
Surely a few stores in larger cities will see people queueing up, especially if the weather's nice. Microsoft just wants to make the regular (non tech) news like Apple launches, so regular people are aware of it and possibly consider it if they're planning on buying a tablet for Christmas. Whether it does well after the initial day's hype or not would depend on the pricing and quality vs. iPad, Galaxy Tab and Kindle HD.
I'm not sure that the 'sorta' Windows compatibility that doesn't extend to running the same stuff you run on your Windows PC, and having a keyboard in the cover that hasn't been a big seller for iPad and Android in the past year or two they've been available from third parties on those tablets, is enough to do this. Its success or failure will probably be a result of the strength or lack thereof of Microsoft's brand in the minds of consumers.