Surface 3: A Retreat, Not a Pivot

Dieter Bohn at the Verge on the Surface 3:

Even with these design improvements, the Surface’s core design is simply physically more complicated than a laptop’s single hinge. You will find yourself mucking about with setting the kickstand in the right place on your knees and dealing with that cover flapping about. Microsoft may have needed two years of design iterations before it could honestly make the case that the Surface can be used on your lap like a, well, a laptop, but it’s finally gotten close enough to make it. It’s just strange to think of so much design effort going into what other companies solve with a hinge. The simplicity of a clamshell is easier, but it’s also not the end-all-be-all of “getting stuff done” computing. If you buy into the benefits of a tablet computer — and there are many — the tradeoff could well be worth it.
Let’s borrow Steve Jobs’ analogy of PCs (including laptops) being “trucks.” In this world this makes tablets small coupes and/or motorcycles. The motorcycle Apple built is the iPad: more fun to use and easier to carry around. It can solve most problems, most of the time.
Microsoft tried to build a motorcycle with sidecar and a roof and small trunk to keep a spare tire. To top it off, they’ve decided they’re not going to race against other motorcycles like the iPad and the Nexus 7, but other cars like Macbook Airs and Lenovo Thinkpads and the more I read about the Surface 3 the more I’m convinced it’s not equipped to race against anyone now.
Microsoft has painted themselves into a flat, Windows 8 tile.
Microsoft wants badly to take down the iPad and they went after laptops. To be clear, this is not a pivot. This can be more accurately described as a retreat.