Editorial

5 things Microsoft could announce on Oct. 22 to spoil Apple's iPad event

On Oct. 22, Microsoft will be releasing its second-generation Surface tablets to the public, and Nokia will announce several new Windows Phone devices and possibly a new tablet. But, to spoil the fun, Apple has scheduled a press conference for its new tablets on the same day and knowing how the market reacts to Apple news, Microsoft’s big day will be spoiled.

In an effort to generate more noise than Apple, we have created a list of five things that Microsoft could announce that would create waves across the industry that will muffle, if ever so slightly, the PR blast that Apple’s iPad event will create.

The list below is ranked from most likely to occur to least likely to occur and was created out of pure jest against Apple smoothing Microsoft’s Surface 2 launch day.

#5 Microsoft releases updated Windows 8 sales figures

Microsoft has been rather quiet on the sales figures for Windows 8 with the last announcement coming back in May with 100 million licenses sold. If Microsoft could come out with a huge number of Windows 8 sales, it could put a small dent in Apple’s information that will undoubtedly slam Microsoft when it talks about OS X Mavericks.

Of course, that number would have to be quite large since it has been since May, and if the number was anything less than Windows 7 sales rate, it could spell disaster for Microsoft.

#4 Xbox One pre-order sales figures

Microsoft’s Xbox One pre-orders appeared to be a hit as Microsoft indicated that the initial batch of Xbox One consoles were spoken for. Announcing these sales figures will surely get the gaming community talking about the success of the Xbox One and would generate a bit of noise alongside the Surface 2 announcements.

This announcement is less likely to occur than the Windows 8 sales figures, because Microsoft will be keeping this number close to the chest as they would hate to announce sales figures only to be trumped by Sony and its PS4. In addition, the Xbox One is not on sale yet and pre-orders are still being taken, so the number is constantly changing.

#3 Surface 2/Pro 2 sales figures

After all, Oct. 22 is the day of the Surface 2/Pro 2 launch, and if Microsoft announced sales figures it would be an unprecedented move as the company has yet to publicly disclose any Surface sales figures at all. While pre-orders for the Surface 2 and Pro 2 were off to a good start, if Microsoft was able to announce that they sold a million of the devices in the opening weekend, it would be a huge success for the company.

We would be surprised if Microsoft announced these sales numbers, as the company has not revealed the sales figures of the previous generation of Surface devices. Announcing Surface 2 sales figures, provided the number is quite large, would be a huge boost of confidence for Microsoft (and its stock price) but we wouldn't hold our breath here.

#2 Windows Phone sales figures

Windows Phone has been on sale for more than three years, but Microsoft has remained relatively quiet about the sales of those devices. If Microsoft were to come out and show significant momentum with Windows Phone on Oct. 22, it could put a small damper on Apple’s big day.

This announcement is probably unlikely as Microsoft has yet to muster a peep when it comes to hard sales figures for the platform. While the OS is gaining market share, it has a long way to go before it commands a significant footprint in the market. Still, if Microsoft could prove that users were moving to Windows Phone at a rapid pace, they may be able to attract more developers to the platform.

#1 The next CEO of Microsoft

Microsoft is currently, and very publicly, searching for its next CEO. If Microsoft were to announce that the candidate had been found and signed, it would smother any other news that came out that day. While the rumors persist that Microsoft is looking to find its next CEO by the end of the year, there is no shortage of rumors on which individuals are on the shortlist.

While this would be massive news for Microsoft and the industry, we doubt that Microsoft would make this announcement on the 22nd as there is a good chance the candidate has not been picked or even if that has occurred, contract negotiations can take a long time too.

But, if all the pieces are in place, it would be an easy way for Microsoft to take charge of the news cycle.

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free xbox ones every 10 minutes at the xbox one website to flood xbox site instead of apples. can you imagine? lol They did this with xbox 360 in the beginning.

Sales figures, unless detailed and sources, are meaningless. So what if X Million copies of Windows-8.x have been sold (and it turns out, say, only 2% are being used in business settings for productive work). Is Microsoft going to give out the 98-2% split? Hardly.

How could MS spoil the iPad event? If it was not for the iPad the tablet market as it is now would not exist. MS are playing catch up in the consumer computing space and are so far doing a really bad job. Hanging onto 'Windows' is a huge mistake for MS. The average consumer doesn't want Windows on their tablets and they don't want Windows on their phones. Sales number back this up, and no, its not a marketing problem.

#5: Windows 8 gaining market share. Surprise surprise. Did anyone expect anything different from a company that has such a grip on the market? Hardly showstopping.

#4: If only that had anything to do with Apple.

#3: Still not going to be up to snuff at all by comparison to the competition so this number too is irrelevant.

#2: Pretty sure Windows Phone, while nice, is still not making a big enough dent to be noteworthy. Sprint if I'm not mistaken still has crap selection when it comes to Windows phones for that matter, with a whopping selection of phone A or phone B (neither of which are a Lumia).

#1: Honestly, many people don't care about the CEOs of the companies they buy from. With that in mind, why the heck would Apple users care anything about what Microsoft has to say about their own CEO? That just goes beyond reason here. Or maybe I'm missing something?

Microsoft could announce that they've reversed-engineered iOS 7, calling it MSiOS, added a handy OS command terminal for mobile geeks, replaced Helvetica Light with "more readable" DOS-style bitmaps, and will ship 'soon' on all Surface devices and MS phones. They're planning to ship MSiOS SP1 in March 2015, and that will add a Solitaire game as well as an estimated 4124 bug fixes. SP2 will follow early in 2016.

I don't know, man. I think the only thing Microsoft can do that will dethrone the iPad news is announcing that they are going out of business.

I'm not saying that I would want that to happen. I'm a fan of Microsoft, and I have a lot invested in their platform, so I want them to outlive me, it's just that the amount of attention Apple gets from the press, fans, and anti-fans waiting to spit venom is huge. It will take something shocking to divert people's attention.

As I brought up in another comment, when Apple announced the iPhone 5c and 5s, the post on Neowin received over 245 comments. A few days later when Microsoft announced the new Surface it received around 25 comments. The key to swinging the coverage the other way is for all of those anti-fans to stop clicking on Apple related articles, and to scale back on reminding everyone in those Apple articles about how much they dislike the company and their products. Until then, maybe we can get 35 comments when Microsoft announces the Surface 3...

Prediction: More people will comment on a single Apple article that day than all of the Microsoft articles combines (on this site).

I think they should announce nothing. Take the stance that Apple is no longer relevant and there's no need to spoil their events. Naaah.

Announcing a new CEO would be far and above any sales figures. Figures are just numbers but a CEO is a person and people like people. So if MS wants to spoil their party, that's the way to go.

Microsoft doesn't have to spoil anything for Apple. Apple will spoil the event themselves. Same crap, different year. It isn't a surprise ipad sales are down 14%. Would have been much worse if they hadn't released the cheaper ipad mini. Apple sure loves bragging about their day one and day two sales, but it always goes downhill from there.

October 22nd Neowin (who has been provided with advanced review hardware like NYTimes, Wallstreet Journal etc) gets to run one big story for the day. Do they choose:

• Microsoft sold 800k Surface units (pick any number you like: they're not even within an order of magnitude of Samsung/Apple sales)
• Windows 8 has sold roughly as many copies as Windows 7 sold in a similar time frame.
• Windows Phone up to 90% marketshare in 8 countries nobody has heard of with an amazing 3 million units world wide (Same as above: they're barely even also-run status)
• Review of new Apple stuff - the iPods and iPads that everybody's kids are going to be asking for this christmas?

Neowin isn't nearly so respected as the examples I gave - so it's not like they'll be able to do anything but regurgitate other reports and press releases: they could conceivably run some boring story about Windows phone sales and nobody would notice because their getting their iOS info from much larger news sources. For anything that world+dog is going to be reading/watching/listening to there's literally nothing microsoft can do that will make anybody take notice for more than 5 minutes. And that's to say nothing of the 'metric crapload' of cash that apple spends on advertising with the big media agencies. It might not be as much as microsoft or samsung but it's still sufficient that they've guaranteed coverage for anything they do by spending hundreds of millions of dollars. Failure to cover Apple's latest song and dance would be a bad idea for any significant media agency.

The same is true for new versions of office or the xbox-1 launch day. It doesn't matter what HP or Dell announces - it's doubtful even google could pull attention - people will be focused on Microsoft for that day.

The problem with neowin is the pay-per-view/comment system for posters. You can say any stupid thing you like and you still get paid so long as people come to look at the train wreck. I'm guilty of being trolled like that too (obviously), but I'm starting to feel embarrassed by it.

What were you talking about when you wrote "The problem with neowin is the pay-per-view/comment system for posters. You can say any stupid thing you like and you still get paid so long as people come to look at the train wreck. I'm guilty of being trolled like that too (obviously), but I'm starting to feel embarrassed by it."

Your comment confuses me. What is a Neowin pay per view?

I believe he was talking about the writer being paid on a per-view basis. Meaning, if the writer drivels out some nonsense flamebait post in effort to get people riled up and actually leave a comment, they're likely more successful than someone opting to post information that is common knowledge or otherwise a largely agreed upon idea with little for people to argue over.

It's all about controversy in that regard, whether real or not. Sensationalism if you will at times. Now, I'm not going to pretend I know how Neowin handles its business, but I can agree that the creation of content in order just to receives views can sometimes be a bit of an issue within itself. Makes it hard to rely upon the information being given.

I agreed ages ago not to talk about private business of Neowin, I'm not saying "Neowin is using a pay-per-view model of remuneration for writers" even if I did know that for sure. You can treat my comment as general criticism for popular media generally Most content is paid per-view/per-impression/per-click -- television, online media, movies, talk radio, you name it. When "getting eyeballs" is the name of the game it becomes easier to just post imaginary controversy than do any real work.

Worse, when you actually do the hard work to investigate an issue - you'll discover it's not black and white. The world is complicated and simple answers are almost always wrong, complex ones usually say "nobody is right": and we hate that. Our culture is built on sound bites, one-liners, "facts" (I use the dick-quotes knowingly), and simple causal relationships. There's no room for subtlety, for emergent properties, for saying "I don't know, and probably nobody does". You can't sell complexity to a wide audience and so you can't get paid for writing that kind of thing. You can sell simplicity - even if it's wrong and that's what we get. We want cocksure bravado not cautious temperance.

The result is posts like this. It's what causes every news headline to: end in a "?" (eg Is Catfood Causing Cancer? Is Microsoft Doomed?); nonsense lists (5 Reasons Why Android is Doomed. 3 Reasons Blackberry Will be Back On Top); or be hyperbole (How the Government Shutdown is Ruining Science Forever. Google Says **** You to Asus). If you ever find yourself bitching about the quality of popular culture it's because we fall for stuff like this article. It's trashy, and it gets views. That's what makes it embarrassing: we're smarter than that.

So long as we keep clicking on nonsense titles and leaving stupid comments like this one (and others) we encourage the behavior. In a way: we get the headlines we deserve, that we demand even, because by our own actions we're too ignorant or too conditioned to ask for more.

Edited by the evn show, Oct 16 2013, 3:22am :

Announcing a superb CEO would work. Announcing a new version of Windows on ARM adaptable to phones, tablets, laptops, etc would be another way to capture the headlines. Sales figures wont do because no matter what they'll be the underdog and nobody cares. Day 1 pre-orders of the newer newest iPad would dwarf any figures they could produce.

- Announce big names that will port apps and games to WinRT/WP....
- Announce price adjustment (reduction!) for touch/type covers for Surface 2 / 2 Pro
- Announce new accessories for Surface

- Join force with Nokia for whatever Nokia is announcing that same day.

Your first one I agree with the most. When Apple first started promoting the iPad it was the exclusive apps optimised for tablets that they used to sell it. Even now when Android undercuts the iPad on price and with better hardware people still stick with Apple because the apps are better. Windows needs those apps and even smarter apps. If they can showcase how doing things is better on a Surface (or Nokia tablet - well any Windows RT device) than it is on an iPad then they have a chance to overshadow what Apple do.

5) good one. but this will just get drowned by the trolls saying they are not actual sales even when MSFT got paid and it is no different from when apple "sells" to retailers. for some reason, when MSFT sales to retailers it doesn't count...because trolls don't believe in gravity either.

4) not a good one. sony would retaliate and they are likely winning due to MSFT stupid E3 fiasco. Instead, they should announce that windows RT and windows phone are now free for every OEM on earth to do as the want. And windows 8 pro is now significantly discounted for tablets and low priced devices. This would rock the halls as it would essentially turn windows into a Trojan hourse for their services, like android does.

3) not a good one. whatever they are they are not as good as the ipad. They should instead blow the socks of apple with a surface book. a high end retina class 13-14 inch mag vapor ultrabook/laptop. This would burry the ipad news instantly.

2) are you kidding? these are not even remotely good news. maybe % growth in latin america and Europe but apple will just be seen as superior regardless. Instead, they should show off windows phone 8.1 or windows 9. A windows 9 preview would burry the ipad instantly.

1) YES.

However, I think they should just move the date. clearly apple fears Microsoft or they wouldn't be trolling. Just reschedule for the week(s) after. by then everybody will be bored of the new ipad being nothing more than same old, new look.

Microsoft should do something for Day One buyers like the Xbox One.

Microsoft should announce some major new apps, or at the very least, announce the merging of the Windows RT and Windows Phone app store.

Microsoft should show release a new video showcasing how the Surface and Xbox One work together.

Microsoft should announce a new program that gets Surface into people's hands at lower price points.

But most importantly, Microsoft should just keep their mouth shut because there's nothing they can announce that will trump the announcement of a new iPad with slightly enhanced specs and a higher rez screen...

Spicoli said,
It's hard to beat a rectangle that's basically the same as the last rectangle.

Probably because it's the rectangle with the most powerful hardware out there, and what they will be announcing will put them a bit farther ahead.

Android will always have better hardware than the iPad, there's too many tablets out there for Apple to ever be the best hardware wise. They can be good enough, but more importantly they have great tablet apps that Android doesn't, so it's worth paying extra for not as good hardware for many people. What Microsoft need for the Surface to compete with both of them is more great apps pronto.

StandingInAlley said,
#0 Windows 9 and Windows Phone 9

A Windows 9 that was more like an evolution of Windows 7 and a Windows phone 9 that was being renamed as Windows Mobile 9 (yes I know) but available on phones and tablets.

I would trade all 5 of those for 5 positive reviews on the Surface Pro and Surface 2 products in 5 prominent media outlets. Whenever I mention anything having to do with technology to any of my average everyday, consumer folks, they tell me about what they read about it from Mossberg or Pogue or USA today.

they should announce the total figures of all the figures from all the figure announcements.

thing is, if somethings popular you don't need figures to tell you, you'll see people talking about / using it in your life. if you don't hear / see anything then its probably not relevant to you anyway

If they announced a Surface running Windows 8 (not pro), a Surface Mini, new touch cover colors, Xbox One, Office running in the modern UI (same day download), their smart watch, Windows 8.2 development and the new CEO. That would blow apple far away.

And showcased WP 8.1 (or whatever the next major release is called - the one with some actual decent new features)

Since it's the Surface release day, I'm betting you'll hear more about Windows 8 sales figures, or Windows 8.1 downloads more than anything else.

Releasing surface sales figures isn't going to scare apple, it's plainly obvious that sales of surfaces don't even come close to sales of iPad and Android tabs.

Javik said,
Releasing surface sales figures isn't going to scare apple, it's plainly obvious that sales of surfaces don't even come close to sales of iPad and Android tabs.

If Microsoft wanted to avoid clashing with the iPad announcement they should have simply cancelled the october event and moved it to november instead. Surely its not beyond the wit of a 300B company to adapt.

Deviate_X said,

If Microsoft wanted to avoid clashing with the iPad announcement they should have simply cancelled the october event and moved it to november instead. Surely its not beyond the wit of a 300B company to adapt.

You don't want to make it appear that someone else is making decisions for you.

Deviate_X said,

If Microsoft wanted to avoid clashing with the iPad announcement they should have simply cancelled the october event and moved it to november instead. Surely its not beyond the wit of a 300B company to adapt.

Did I miss something? Didn't Microsoft make the 22 October Announcement before Apple did. If so, why the hell should they cancel their event that they planned. Apple doesn't own the damn month of October.

No one reschedules for A**h*l*s that purposely schedule events on the same day that you did.

Yes.. you are right...

Any one of those announcements would make me forget all about a new toy.

Because.. erm.. yeah

I honestly don't care about any of it anymore.

Avatar Roku said,
Sales figures sales figures sales figures.

They are fighting an uphill battle. Even if they can achieve 500% growth they would still be dwarfed by the competition. There is just no way sales figures could end up as positive news. So its smart to keep them a secret even if they are happy about them internally.

Avatar Roku said,
Sales figures sales figures sales figures.

Who cares about sales figures, its what a product is capable of which is what matters.

Deviate_X said,

Who cares about sales figures, its what a product is capable of which is what matters.

Great salesfigures determine whether a great product stays around to be enjoyed in the future. So I do care about sales figures. Considering how smartphones and tablets are cherished properties I imagine a great deal op people care about sales figures of their favorite products.

Not to mention everyone involved in the industry, Including developers who want to know whether its worth investing in a certain platform. And developers help determine the capabilities of a product.

Deviate_X said,
.... its what a product is capable of which is what matters.

That's what me and my running copy of Microsoft Bob say while listening to my Zune texting my friends on my KIN.

Ronnet said,

They are fighting an uphill battle. Even if they can achieve 500% growth they would still be dwarfed by the competition. There is just no way sales figures could end up as positive news. So its smart to keep them a secret even if they are happy about them internally.

Investors care about growth and not market share. Having a large market share is actually be a negative because it means less room for growth. Defining the market is also guess work and opinion.

Spicoli said,

Investors care about growth and not market share. Having a large market share is actually be a negative because it means less room for growth. Defining the market is also guess work and opinion.

Come on, don't turn this into a semantic argument. If you want to discuss growth then stakeholders wont be satisfied with 500% growth. My point remains that Microsoft has a long way to go so no sales figures (no matter if you measure in terms of growth or marketshare) will be enough.

(EDIT: Not enough to spoil the iPad events at least)

And investors aren't the only interested party. Releasing such figures will reach the general news having a negative impact on the general public. More importantly developers will decide whether they like WP enough to invest in based on such figures. And its not smart to release a bunch of figures regarding sales/markethare/growth during an Apple event that will likely release figures that will dwarf the WP figures.

Avatar Roku said,
Sales figures sales figures sales figures.

Lol I noticed that too.

Sales figures for xbox, yes. Windows phone / 8.1 / surface, who cares.

You could have easily added a new windows phone 8 device, or updated announcement for Xbox one..

Ronnet said,

Come on, don't turn this into a semantic argument. If you want to discuss growth then stakeholders wont be satisfied with 500% growth.

That's not semantics. I would be ecstatic about any of my investments having 500% growth. Just getting two digits on a percentage is a good day.

Spicoli said,
Investors care about growth and not market share. Having a large market share is actually be a negative because it means less room for growth. Defining the market is also guess work and opinion.

I can understand the argument, but what I don't understand is why you then went on and on about where Apple stood in terms of market share in your previous posts.

(not to be argumentative here, but it's bothersome when contradictions seem to appear)

Andrew Lyle said,

Lol I noticed that too.

Sales figures for xbox, yes. Windows phone / 8.1 / surface, who cares.

To each their own, I guess. I personally couldn't possibly care any less about Xbox and would be a lot more interested in the Windows figures...

Ronnet said,

They are fighting an uphill battle. Even if they can achieve 500% growth they would still be dwarfed by the competition. There is just no way sales figures could end up as positive news. So its smart to keep them a secret even if they are happy about them internally.


Your view applies to consumer market. I am sure Microsoft does way better in the Enterprise than Google, Samsung and Apple

Deviate_X said,

Who cares about sales figures, its what a product is capable of which is what matters.

Exactly, new Nokia tablets, Surface 2 and Windows 8 launch; really they have enough ammo to blow any Apple iPad launch into insignificance. They just need some brilliant new marketing and advertising showing why Windows 8 is so much more useful and fun than an iPad. Some strong exclusive apps and basically new apps that make the Windows Store start to look competitive with the apps available for the iPad is what they desperately need. Apps are the iPad strongpoint, it's the reason people pay double over Android tablets that beat it in hardware, the well built tablet apps that just don't exist for Android. If Microsoft can get the apps, show how Windows (even RT) is a full OS and can do so much more than an iPad then Apple will have a fight on their hands.

Riva said,

Your view applies to consumer market. I am sure Microsoft does way better in the Enterprise than Google, Samsung and Apple

Not with regards to smartphones and tablets, which are the future even for the business market (they order less PCs, more tablets). You would imagine that tablets with full office and legacy compatibility would be in huge demand but even for businesses iPad is outselling Windows tablets (but not by as much as on the consumer market).

Spicoli said,

That's not semantics. I would be ecstatic about any of my investments having 500% growth. Just getting two digits on a percentage is a good day.

Again investors aren't the only stakeholder that reads this news. For examples with fictional figures:

if I were to express it in terms of marketshare it would be going from 200.000 sold, in a certain period last year, expressed in percentage of 20.000.000 sold (1%) to 1.200.000 sold, the same period this year, expressed as percentage of 22.000.000 (5.5%).

If I were to express it in terms of growth it would be from 200.000 sold in a certain period last year to 1.200.000 sold in the same period this year is 500% growth YOY.

So were still discussing sales figures we are comparing our figures to ourself instead of what is happening in the market. Will it please shareholders? It should, its an impressive growth for this established market. However many will recognize that this growth mainly came from cheap models and that they're still dwarved by Apple so its not going to spoil Apple's party.

Worse is that websites will put the 1.200.000 next to the estimates of the iPhone and Galaxy sales. And this is what consumers and developers will also read. There is just not way Microsoft can come out victorious when they release salefigures, no matter what way they express is.

Ronnet said,

Not with regards to smartphones and tablets, which are the future even for the business market (they order less PCs, more tablets). You would imagine that tablets with full office and legacy compatibility would be in huge demand but even for businesses iPad is outselling Windows tablets (but not by as much as on the consumer market).


And again consumer products. Lets talk office, exchange, sharepoint, lync, crm, ax

Ronnet said,

They are fighting an uphill battle. Even if they can achieve 500% growth they would still be dwarfed by the competition. There is just no way sales figures could end up as positive news. So its smart to keep them a secret even if they are happy about them internally.

ummm, at 500% growth they would sell more windows phones than iphones. for pads they wouldn't topple apple or android, but they'd have climbed to a pretty respectable number.

Riva said,

And again consumer products. Lets talk office, exchange, sharepoint, lync, crm, ax

We're discussing the effect of releasing Windows (Phone) sale figures....

Ronnet said,

We're discussing the effect of releasing Windows (Phone) sale figures....


No its more like you failed to maintain context to my replies

Riva said,

No its more like you failed to maintain context to my replies

Do explain. We're discussing the effects of releasing sales figures of Windows (Phone) 8 around or during an Apple event. Nobody made the split between consumer/business sales because its the total number that will be released.

Unless you argue that Windows (Phone) 8 is doing incredible in the busines-space and can counter any poor sales in the consumer-space then I don't see your point. Besides you're the one who brought in Sharepoint, Office and a lot of other out of context subjects.

So again, explain how I failed to maintin context. Because I always try to provide a full response, including arguments and reasoning. I woud be grateful if you would do the same.