Anatomy of a Cover Up


Watching the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 event, the Fox was struck by how good companies are getting at copying the style, language and presentations of Apple, even down to the packaging used for their products. This Surface event was fairly well done, but still reminds me of this original post from June 26, 2012 when the original Surface tablet was unveiled.

By now, you’ve all seen the hugely circulated video that documents Microsoft’s blatant copying of Apple’s presentation style when unveiling their new Surface tablet.

But Michael Mulvey of Daily Exhaust picked up on something even more disturbing.

But the solid hardware isn’t what has me perplexed. It’s the complete lack of software demonstrations. It’s ironic, isn’t it? Here’s a company that has made billions of dollars selling software for over 30 years, and when it comes time to debut the device launching them into the future, they don’t bother to allocate even a few minutes to showing off how well software runs on it?

Nothing smells fishier at a technology presentation than not being able to see the technology work. Mat Honan at Gizmodo also noted as much.

At the Surface release, I saw an impressive demo, but didn’t get a good hands-on. My guess is that my total in-my-mitts time with the various tablets was somewhere between one-to-two minutes…and got no time at all using the keyboard—its killer feature.
The Surfaces that we got to examine that were turned on didn’t have SmartCovers attached, and the Surfaces with SmartCovers weren’t booted up. Microsoft was covering something, alright.

Reminds me a whole lot of the presentation given by the Palm team at CES in 2009 when they announced the new Palm Pre phone.

The demos at CES weren’t faked, but large swaths of critical functionality were still missing under the covers. “The emperor had no clothes,” one source told us. Palm made the controversial decision to prevent any members of the media from touching the phone after CES prior to launch, a move that raised eyebrows and led many to start asking questions about the company’s readiness.

Compare this to Apple’s unveiling of the iPhone where Steve Jobs setup 1-hour sessions with prominent tech writers, such as David Pogue from the NYTimes and gave them each an iPhone to play with directly.

Or the iPad unveiling where Steve sat down on a couch and used the device for nearly 20 minutes on stage. And after the keynote iPads were everywhere for reporters to touch and play with and use.

For all their copying of Apple’s presentation style, competitors still has a lot to learn about convincing consumers that it can actually make their fancy wares a reality. Until someone can get their hands on a Surface tablet, the jury is still out on this one.

Fox Tip: If it’s not ready, don’t pretend like it is and think no one will notice.

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