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Team Microsoft: Device Police... 'Are you pumped? I'm pumped'

Surface? F**ck Yeah!

The puppets from Team America: World Police gather at a bar for drinks.

Analysis “Someone out there must have a family,” Panos Panay remarked yesterday, surveying his audience of potato-shaped gadget bloggers. An optimistic view, I thought. Panay was presenting Microsoft’s Devices event in New York, an event designed to get bloggers’ juices running.

And boy, it did.

Years ago, I was in a MacWorld audience for a Steve Jobs keynote, where the fans even applauded a price increase. But this was far more hysterical. I suspect Microsoft execs had prepared for the event by watching Team America World Police. Several times they told us how “pumped” they were. Thanks for sharing – we might have guessed by the veins throbbing, Hulk-style, on your temples. Maybe next year the Microsoft Devices Event will simply be called, “Surface, Fuck Yeah!” That’s really what this year’s should have been called, it was so aggressive, and single-minded.

Partly this is a function of changes in the tech media. 15 years ago the tech press attending Microsoft presentations wore the same generic uniform as the presenters: a regulation blue Gap shirt (no tie) tucked into Chinos. Now that so many publications have gone, taking the cooler and more analytical voices with them, the audience is predominantly poorly paid, hormonal and adolescent. Some even write for no pay at all – events like this are their big thrill. So the timbre has changed too.

Let’s look past the chest-beating and testosterone, though, and see what we really learned.

This was a hardware event, and it had an explicit goal and an unspoken one. The obvious goal was to showcase Microsoft’s hardware, not counting Xbox. The unspoken goal was to hide the software, which is in (to put it kindly) a stage of transition. Microsoft achieved both, managing to hide Windows 10 almost completely. Phew!

Sinofsky introduces Surface, 2012

How Surface events used to be.

How Surface events are now

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