Microsoft takes subtle shot at Apple during Surface Pro 3 reveal

At the unveiling of the Surface Pro 3 in New York earlier today, Microsoft used a road sign as on obvious subtle take against rival Apple and their ideas on the future of computing. The act was staged in response to a previous gesture by Apple involving a similar analogy.

At an Apple keynote last year, CEO Tim Cook used a picture of a traffic sign featuring a tangled mess of road to highlight how he thought that "Our competition is confused." He added that they were turning tablets into computers and computers into tablets and explained how Apple 'didn't know what they would come up with next.

However, as Business Insider pointed out that at today's Surface Pro 3 announcement, Panos Panay, leader of the Microsoft Surface team, spoke in front of a plain, simple sign with just two paths leading off from it thus indicating that Microsoft isn't confused but is rather offering people two different paths to acquire the same features.

At Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 announcement today, a simple, two-way forked road-sign was used to illustrate how they have two definite development paths.

Apple has long been an advocate of the philosophy where tablets are a single-purpose device independent of computers with their own, unique operating system. Microsoft believes that all devices should have blurred lines between them, however, and thinks every product type should run the same operating system - ideally Windows 8. Apple certainly likes at least one aspect of Microsoft's operating system though as there are now multiple rumors around that a future iPad update could bring split-screen multitasking similar to the 'Snap' feature used by Microsoft since Windows 7. This would make the iPad a more viable productivity and business tool - an area where the Surface currently has the advantage.

The 12-inch, Intel-powered Surface Pro 3 unveiled today will aid Microsoft in this belief as it is designed to be marketed as a device 'to replace your laptop' despite it taking on a tablet-like appearance, even when paired with its keyboard cover. 

Source: Business Insider

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Major_Plonquer said,
Apple's tablets do NOT have a "unique" operating system. They use iOS - a phone operating system. At least Windows has a file system FFS.

With that analogy, no tablet has a "unique" OS. Good one.

I thought the subtle shot was @46:39 where he was doing the NYT Crossword app and the hint was "It's pumped" and the answer was AIR. As in the iPad Air/Macbook Air are screwed.

stevan said,
So ironic to see all those MacBooks in the first row. Apple should send a as a copy of their bank statement :p

Or, it was planned to get the Macbook lovers to have a look at what the competition is doing.

Why on earth does that even MATTER?

Who cares??? Both devices are great! And Neowin forgot (intentionally I will bet), to add that Panos actually praised the Macbook Air as well.

This tribal line/partisan BS is old hat.

JHBrown said,
We will see which company is laughing all the way to the bank in a few months.

well , iSheeps only buy anything with apple logo on it. so yeah Surface Pro 3 will sell less than iPad, but it still is the best device (Tablet / Laptop / Ultrabook ).

sinis said,

well , iSheeps only buy anything with apple logo on it. so yeah Surface Pro 3 will sell less than iPad, but it still is the best device (Tablet / Laptop / Ultrabook ).

People just know what a good product is, so they keep buying it.

Every company wants to have loyal followers. So the fact Apple has so many "isheeps" is another win for the company.

sinis said,

well , iSheeps only buy anything with apple logo on it. so yeah Surface Pro 3 will sell less than iPad, but it still is the best device (Tablet / Laptop / Ultrabook ).

I thought we just had this discussion about the elusive "isheep". Most consumers are "sheeps" in some way. Including you. My father at the age of 62 will only buy a Mercedes Benz, guess he's a "sheep" also. My daughter prefers the Sprout channel over Disney Jr. I'll make sure she knows tonight when I tuck her in that's she's a sheep.

the reality is that OSX is dead and iOS will never get the breath and width of win32 apps surface runs today. Apple finds itself cornered out of a box it built to keep MS out. And now that it is trying to break out of that box, its iOS is running out of legs.

neonspark said,
the reality is that OSX is dead and iOS will never get the breath and width of win32 apps surface runs today. Apple finds itself cornered out of a box it built to keep MS out. And now that it is trying to break out of that box, its iOS is running out of legs.

o.0

neonspark said,
the reality is that OSX is dead and iOS will never get the breath and width of win32 apps surface runs today. Apple finds itself cornered out of a box it built to keep MS out. And now that it is trying to break out of that box, its iOS is running out of legs.
Um, sure.

neonspark said,
the reality is that OSX is dead and iOS will never get the breath and width of win32 apps surface runs today. Apple finds itself cornered out of a box it built to keep MS out. And now that it is trying to break out of that box, its iOS is running out of legs.

Man, if Apple "cornered" makes twice as much money as MS, I really fear for MS once Apple gets out of that hypothetical box of yours.

stevan said,
Man, if Apple "cornered" makes twice as much money as MS, I really fear for MS once Apple gets out of that hypothetical box of yours.
Not that I agree with everything the OP said... but you do realize that Apple doesn't have a very diverse revenue stream. If they start getting beat on tablets or phones they will hurt, dearly. But to take you to task on your factual assertion:

Most recent numbers:
AAPL: Sales 176B Income 37B Margin 21%
MSFT: Sales 83B Income 22B Margin 27%

Not quite double, not quite as much margin and MS has what, a dozen Billion dollar businesses?

MrHumpty said,
Not that I agree with everything the OP said... but you do realize that Apple doesn't have a very diverse revenue stream. If they start getting beat on tablets or phones they will hurt, dearly. But to take you to task on your factual assertion:

Most recent numbers:
AAPL: Sales 176B Income 37B Margin 21%
MSFT: Sales 83B Income 22B Margin 27%

Not quite double, not quite as much margin and MS has what, a dozen Billion dollar businesses?

I do realize that, but the "if" in your argument has been brought up many times in the past few years. Doesn't make it any less of a reality that Apple was able to capitalize on the mp3, tablet and smartphone market. They even have the most profits out of any PC vendors and their marketshare is tiny.

Stevan, Why do you love to talk about Apples earning? Do you benefit from their earning? Do they make their products better with their earnings or develop something better? No. Eearnings means nothing. Kim Jong Un must be very good person, as he has very high earnings.

Wall-swe said,
Stevan, Why do you love to talk about Apples earning? Do you benefit from their earning? Do they make their products better with their earnings or develop something better? No. Eearnings means nothing. Kim Jong Un must be very good person, as he has very high earnings.

What did I just read....

Ironic that I never got an iPad mostly because it doesn't run OS X. Not that it's any surprise that I don't share Apple's "vision." I would love to get a Surface Pro 3, though. I wish they had a cheaper RT version, but the 12" screen is too much of a draw for me.

The road sign sis also styled very much like the one Apple used in a presentation some time ago. Anyway, it's time that someone puts Apple on its place, and who better then Microsoft?

Studio384 said,
The road sign sis also styled very much like the one Apple used in a presentation some time ago. Anyway, it's time that someone puts Apple on its place, and who better then Microsoft?

With the new SNAP functionality rumored to be coming to iOS, I wonder how far Microsoft-Apple Patent Licensing/Not-suing-each-other agreement goes. This is an interesting phase for Apple, as for the first time that I can think of, they are actually following others - SNAP, bigger screens, flat UI, etc

Studio384 said,
The road sign sis also styled very much like the one Apple used in a presentation some time ago. Anyway, it's time that someone puts Apple on its place, and who better then Microsoft?

Road sign? And here I was thinking it was two fingers.....

Kunal Nanda said,

With the new SNAP functionality rumored to be coming to iOS, I wonder how far Microsoft-Apple Patent Licensing/Not-suing-each-other agreement goes. This is an interesting phase for Apple, as for the first time that I can think of, they are actually following others - SNAP, bigger screens, flat UI, etc

I agree 100% In fact, I can't wait to see which Microsoft features Apple are going to innovate next.

thus indicating that Microsoft isn't confused but is rather offering people two different paths to acquire the same features.

I thought he said the two-way forked road sign represented the PROBLEM of having to choose between laptop or tablet when in a store, and how the Surface solution means you no longer have to choose. It wasn't about Microsoft offering two different paths. At least that's how I understood it.

This is exactly how I understood the fork road sign as well. Panos explains that when customers go to a store, they have to choose between either a tablet or a laptop. The solution here with SP3 is that you no longer have to choose and compromise.

DClark said,
This is exactly how I understood the fork road sign as well. Panos explains that when customers go to a store, they have to choose between either a tablet or a laptop. The solution here with SP3 is that you no longer have to choose and compromise.

You mean jack of all trades, master of none?

glen8 said,

You mean jack of all trades, master of none?

Explain that if you don't mind please? It's already been proven that it's performs better than the majority of laptops sold, and certainly better than most if not all tablets sold. And it can do everything most laptops and tablets can do, as well as plenty of things laptops and other tablets cannot.

TCLN Ryster said,

Explain that if you don't mind please? It's already been proven that it's performs better than the majority of laptops sold, and certainly better than most if not all tablets sold. And it can do everything most laptops and tablets can do, as well as plenty of things laptops and other tablets cannot.

It's a hybrid, a very good one I grant you, but it's a hybrid. Hybrids as you know are a mix. They are not better than the individual items they consolidate, therefore one has to compromise somewhere.

The surface 3 will not have anywhere near the performance of a $2,000 laptop. Nor will it be better than one of the rival tablets for 'tablet functionality'.

I do not want to see 'Windows is installing Update 3 of 54' on a tablet. When I'm sat in a coffee shop just wanting to read the news, I want instant access with zero fuss.

Now you can argue that having windows updates (and this is just one point I'm raising here) gives the end user a more secure system. The majority of windows updates are for the desktop operating system (the gui part). Let's say for arguments sake it ran windows core, it would hardly have any updates. Slap on windows 8 pro, and bang...updates galore. Great for the 'laptop part', bad for the 'tablet part'. I'm not saying it's right or wrong, but it is a compromise.

Like I said, brilliant hybrid device....without a doubt, the best on the market. There IS however a compromise to be made.

DClark said,
This is exactly how I understood the fork road sign as well. Panos explains that when customers go to a store, they have to choose between either a tablet or a laptop. The solution here with SP3 is that you no longer have to choose and compromise.

or you compromise on both.

You end up with a tablet not as good as other tablets, because of the lack of App's in metro, and laptop that isn't as good as a Macbook because of the touch type keyboard not being as good.

I'm just playing devils advocate - I quite like the look of the SP3, but I do think if you had one there would be definite compromises at this stage

glen8 said,

It's a hybrid, a very good one I grant you, but it's a hybrid. Hybrids as you know are a mix. They are not better than the individual items they consolidate, therefore one has to compromise somewhere.

The surface 3 will not have anywhere near the performance of a $2,000 laptop. Nor will it be better than one of the rival tablets for 'tablet functionality'.

I do not want to see 'Windows is installing Update 3 of 54' on a tablet. When I'm sat in a coffee shop just wanting to read the news, I want instant access with zero fuss.

Now you can argue that having windows updates (and this is just one point I'm raising here) gives the end user a more secure system. The majority of windows updates are for the desktop operating system (the gui part). Let's say for arguments sake it ran windows core, it would hardly have any updates. Slap on windows 8 pro, and bang...updates galore. Great for the 'laptop part', bad for the 'tablet part'. I'm not saying it's right or wrong, but it is a compromise.

Like I said, brilliant hybrid device....without a doubt, the best on the market. There IS however a compromise to be made.

You can simply switch off Automatic Updates. Gives you full control. You can do that with Windows you know. And the new SP3 are as powerful as any ultrabooks these days, if not better.

Kunal Nanda said,

You can simply switch off Automatic Updates. Gives you full control. You can do that with Windows you know. And the new SP3 are as powerful as any ultrabooks these days, if not better.

by switching off auto updates, are you not then compromising security?

No you are not. You are simply making them your responsibly, like updating an IOS or an Android device. As long as you install the updates, they are installed.

glen8 said,

It's a hybrid, a very good one I grant you, but it's a hybrid. Hybrids as you know are a mix. They are not better than the individual items they consolidate, therefore one has to compromise somewhere.

The surface 3 will not have anywhere near the performance of a $2,000 laptop. Nor will it be better than one of the rival tablets for 'tablet functionality'.

I do not want to see 'Windows is installing Update 3 of 54' on a tablet. When I'm sat in a coffee shop just wanting to read the news, I want instant access with zero fuss.

Now you can argue that having windows updates (and this is just one point I'm raising here) gives the end user a more secure system. The majority of windows updates are for the desktop operating system (the gui part). Let's say for arguments sake it ran windows core, it would hardly have any updates. Slap on windows 8 pro, and bang...updates galore. Great for the 'laptop part', bad for the 'tablet part'. I'm not saying it's right or wrong, but it is a compromise.

Like I said, brilliant hybrid device....without a doubt, the best on the market. There IS however a compromise to be made.


Even if you had Windows updates set to automatic, you don't see the process. But if you do need to make sure it won't suddenly start to download updates on background, you have the option to make connection metered and set up what you don't want to be downloaded/uploaded when such connection is used. You also have option to make Windows only check for new updates and notify without downloading and installing anything on it's own. And it's been there since forever.

The only thing that can be compromised here in terms of comparison with laptop is the screen size. Some prefer 15" and larger.

glen8 said,

You mean jack of all trades, master of none?

Well, it's certainly master of Photoshop. You can't even run Photoshop on Apple's offering, can you? And then there's the other million or two apps that also can't run on Apple's big phone pad.

Major_Plonquer said,

Well, it's certainly master of Photoshop. You can't even run Photoshop on Apple's offering, can you? And then there's the other million or two apps that also can't run on Apple's big phone pad.

really? I'd say a master of photoshop would be something like the 15" retina macbook pro. Just because it can run the program, doesn't mean it's a master at it.

Major_Plonquer said,

Well, it's certainly master of Photoshop. You can't even run Photoshop on Apple's offering, can you? And then there's the other million or two apps that also can't run on Apple's big phone pad.

Surface a master at Photoshop... hilarious! For starters it's got a 12" display... I can't see a single design professional using a Surface for photoshop.. maybe for touch ups on the go or something, but master? not even close.

What glen is saying is absolutely correct...

goodbytes said,

Surface a master at Photoshop... hilarious! For starters it's got a 12" display... I can't see a single design professional using a Surface for photoshop.. maybe for touch ups on the go or something, but master? not even close.

What glen is saying is absolutely correct...


no, actually since you do get to see image you're working on in high resolution (MBP retina is no better in that regard), it is suitable for the job. And I tell you, the pen+touch control makes it on the whole different level than even using mouse with laptop. And you can't even use mouse or separate tablet with laptop on your knees.

Wow...I can't be the only one who noticed Satya Nadella's toaster and refrigerator dig at Tim Cook?
Neowin..your unprofessional journalism is slipping :p

JHBrown said,
That photo pretty much sums it up for me.

Yup, when you just need to get the job done, the MacBooks are pretty solid

MS does seem to be stepping up in the face of it these days. They focused on the folks with the MacBooks. Other companies would not have done that.

Always thought that many of the folks (tech journalists/bloggers) educating the masses seem to have a bias against MS. Likely a backlash for many years of MS arrogance.

elenarie said,

Congrats on reaching amazing 8% of the market!

You are very welcome. Toyota says the same thing to Ferrari every year. Yet Ferrari laughs and shakes their head all the way to the bank.

elenarie said,

Congrats on reaching amazing 8% of the market!

Is that all that Apple has? It must be absolutely amazing that they got more profit than the rest of manufacturers with much larger market share...

stevan said,

Is that all that Apple has? It must be absolutely amazing that they got more profit than the rest of manufacturers with much larger market share...

Yes pretty amazing. Although elanarie will ignore such an amazing feat.

BajiRav said,
Wow...I can't be the only one who noticed Satya Nadella's toaster and refrigerator dig at Tim Cook?
Neowin..your unprofessional journalism is slipping :p

You mean Samsung right?

suprNOVA said,
Both OS's are the EXACT SAME.

Except one has an amazing SNAP feature, and one doesn't.

And one has over 200 as many lines of code as the other. I wonder which one that is?
Oh and yes, one has millions of apps and the other has thousands. I wonder which one that could be. How come the number of apps seems to be important in phones but not in tablets?

Okay fair enough, but maybe its because with the tablets, you have one centralized app store where you can actually keep count, whereas with Windows ORIGINALLY (until now), you found programs everywhere on different websites made by people nobody ever tracked.

Also, in terms of them being the same, OOB for consumer they pretty much are the same.

JHBrown said,
You are very welcome. Toyota says the same thing to Ferrari every year. Yet Ferrari laughs and shakes their head all the way to the bank.

very bad comparison. HP and dell could be toyota but surface is BMW M series. even now that Macbook and surface are pretty much around the same price I choose surface everytime. macbooks users are just fanatics. same UI for 10 years. how could you guys not get bored??

trojan_market said,

very bad comparison. HP and dell could be toyota but surface is BMW M series. even now that Macbook and surface are pretty much around the same price I choose surface everytime. macbooks users are just fanatics. same UI for 10 years. how could you guys not get bored??

Just bc it's the same interface and people don't mind it doesn't make them fanatics. Start menu has been around for how long? Lol. You shouldn't label others. The comparison is actually pretty close, even though no one said anything bad about the surface against the MacBook. Surface is one of the highest built windows devices.

stevan said,

Just bc it's the same interface and people don't mind it doesn't make them fanatics. Start menu has been around for how long? Lol. You shouldn't label others. The comparison is actually pretty close, even though no one said anything bad about the surface against the MacBook. Surface is one of the highest built windows devices.


if you look up to the original comment it was about surface getting compared to macbook air. I say it again if I have to pay $3000 for surface as opposed to Macbook I go for it. because its windows not mac. enough said.