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back to article John Lewis agrees to flog Microsoft's Surface RT tablets

Microsoft has brought in premium retailer John Lewis to flog its Surface RT slablet just days after shooting down its pure direct sales strategy. Redmond confirmed on Wednesday that it was enlisting a network of retailers to push its device in Europe from next year, claiming it was ramping production to meet demand. This is …

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Meh

Demand has been phenominal.

No demand is one phenomenon.

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Demand has been phenominal.

Demand for Windows 8 computers has been phenomenal

<-- Wrong icon btw. You want this one.

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FAIL

Re: Demand has been phenominal.

On the JLP website, out of a total of 29 desktops, 23 run win8, 1 runs win7.

For laptops (104 in total), 81 run win8, 8 run win7

The 'phenomenal' demand is possibly due to there being virtually no alternatives in the world of windows (or any other).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Demand has been phenominal.

When Vista came out you couldn't find an XP box, so what?

Microsoft OEMs have always installed the latest OS on machines they sell.

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Re: Demand has been phenominal.

Well reportedly John Lewis weekly sales figures went up by over 4% (total, not just technology sales). They claim that this is "largely driven by interest in the retailer’s Windows 8 ranges" - presumably this is the "phenomenal demand" that they are talking about (as opposed to simply a comparison of Windows 7 sales to Windows 8 sales).

I don't know if this claim is actually true or not, but if it is then its definitely impressive.

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Bronze badge

Re: Demand has been phenomenal.

Do doo-da-doo-do.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Demand has been phenomenal.

What jingle is that?

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Go

Re: Demand has been phenomenal.

I'm pretty sure it's the Intel Inside jingle.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VIITf_iLoE

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N2

This can only be a good thing

If it takes off as it should put pressure on Apple to reduce their price too, but the decision is rather late.

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K
Bronze badge

Re: This can only be a good thing

lol... as if!

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Re: This can only be a good thing

Apple will never reduce their price. Its a premium brand that knows to discount devalues its brand. And the ipad mini is still pretty expensive for what it is. If the hugely popular nexus 7 hasn't forced down their prices I can't see the microsoft one doing it!

The problem Microsoft are facing is there is no compelling reason to buy one. Apple have itunes which like it or not ties you into their platform. Its also a very comprehensive shop of media. And that is a selling point drives you to buy an ipad. They also make damn nice hardware (ipad mini the exception imho) another selling point and its considered cool. That is 3 good reasons to buy apple.

Android tablets (by that I mean samsung and nexus 7/10 offerings) are cheaper. Way cheaper. The user experience is now excellent and the cloud integration is second to none, and that is the 2 points where they have the lead over apple. its the USP. Their prices are also hugely competitive. (lets be honest you can get a 32gb nexus 7 for way less than an ipad mini with less 'hardware' in it). And google does have a certain amount of brand credibility and coolness.(albeit not as cool as apple) They also now have a fairly comprehensive collection of music and movies which granted isn't as good as apples but still pretty good. (not to mention you can buy from alternative vendors easily - amazon mp3 being a particularly good example). And the apps are generally on par and bought to market at the same time as ipad now. Oh, one last thing (and I can see this being a killer feature that the others will copy at some point) android now supports multi user on the tablets so I don't have to have the kids junk on my 'profile' any more. The family can truly share a single tablet.

For Microsoft they have come to the party last. Their hardware is not exactly exciting, those cover keyboard things are nice, but given the typing experience is not bad on the apple/google devices it feels like they made it *to* be different rather than because it *needed* to be different. You can't deny it does look pretty with those tiles, but again its not a must have feature. The app store isn't isn't going to be as comprehensive and you know you are going to be last to get the apps. Also, there is always the danger the firmware wont move on like with the windows phone 7 fiasco. It also isn't very cheap. So buying one of these could be an expensive mistake. You know you can offload your ipad for nexus 7 for pretty much what you paid for it. Not sure you'll have the same luck with a windows slab. Also, and this is key, Microsoft are just not cool. If you buy one it feels too much like you are buying a piece of office equipement, like a printer. Remember, home use drives business use for new devices. It doesn't feel exciting. Flashy adverts full of young people doesn't make it exciting.

Feel free to flame me, I'll openly admit I'm an android fan but I just can't help but feel unless microsoft do something amazing (like the kinnect for xbox) they are always going to struggle and it will continue to be a two horse race.

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Re: This can only be a good thing

Oh, one last thing (and I can see this being a killer feature that the others will copy at some point) android now supports multi user on the tablets so I don't have to have the kids junk on my 'profile' any more. The family can truly share a single tablet.

That is why I have switched at home and also pretty useful in the business environment too.

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Re: This can only be a good thing

Only problem with Android's way of doing this is it seems to partition your space between users. A 16GB tablet becomes a 2x8GB tablet, and no way of installing apps once for all users.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This can only be a good thing

Apple can't reduce the price on their iPad because it will then compete with the iPad mini, they can't reduce the price of the iPad mini, because that will compete with the iPod touch. I really don't understand what they were thinking in releasing an iPad mini, it's pretty much hobbled any response they can make, based on price, to other rival tablets.

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Re: This can only be a good thing

Yes, I agree the sealing of users apps is a pain, shame really as most Apps will be common through a family or even company of users and just the username access to the App needs to change for say email, Facebook, cloud etc....

This is the only thing which ruins the multiuser approach for a single device.

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Re: This can only be a good thing

They can't currently reduce the price (without cutting their very high margin) of the iPad Mini because their displays are currently too expensive due to the use of a new layering technique which currently has a low yield (hence a high price).

They will drop the price a bit on the iPad Mini when the iPad Mini 2 comes out.

I tried Andriod with a Nexus 7 .. had a go for 6 months but gave up have just sold the 7 .. I've tried the iPad Mini in a store and it feels great, fits my pockets fine (as did the 7) and I find the iOS applications have the edge on Android ones (even Google maps now operates better on iOS than Android 8-) .. so its getting my money (and I'm notoriously tight).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This can only be a good thing

> Only problem with Android's way of doing this is it seems to partition your space between users. A 16GB tablet becomes a 2x8GB tablet, and no way of installing apps once for all users.

That's not what Google say. http://developer.android.com/about/versions/jelly-bean.html

"Users can install and uninstall apps at any time in their own environments. To save storage space, Google Play downloads an APK only if it's not already installed by another user on the device. If the app is already installed, Google Play records the new user's installation in the usual way but doesn't download another copy of the app. Multiple users can run the same copy of an APK because the system creates a new instance for each user, including a user-specific data directory."

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Re: This can only be a good thing

If I was Microsoft, I would focus on the mobile worker rather than compete with Apple and Android. For example a field engineer that has a laptop to manage his appointment book, access reference material, order parts and record the work he did at each of the jobs. The travelling salesman who needs access to the CRM database and to record orders and sales leads. The breakdown recovery person who plugs his laptop into the car to access engine management data. The surveyor who needs to record measurements and store photos relating to a site visit.

This is where Microsoft is strong at the moment, and the App Store model of Windows 8 doesn't really work for these sorts of customers.

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Re: This can only be a good thing

Apple can't reduce the price on their iPad because it will then compete with the iPad mini, they can't reduce the price of the iPad mini, because that will compete with the iPod touch.

WRONG.

Even if they do pretty much the same things and can run many of the same apps, the iPod touch and iPad mini are not substitutes for each other in any way. Even if the iPad sold for less for than the iPod touch it wouldn't take away the iPod touch market. Are you going to strap a tablet to your arm when you go for a jog because it plays music? Likewise, if you want to buy a tablet, you will not be considering a 4" device.

Apple had various reasons for pricing the Mini as they did, but the pricing of the iPod touch was not one of them.

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Re: This can only be a good thing

You know, you made a lot of interesting arguments that I may disagree with but respect. But you should know that your 'killer feature' that others will 'copy' is a staple of the very Surface you were deriding. Surface is a premium device too and unless you've used one I don't think you can appreciate that.

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I don't really get how John Lewis stocking the Surface news? they stock all the good products and offer the best customer service, so of course they were going to stock it at some point..

While I won't be buying one, this IS good news, variety and competition is good for the market and the consumer. Plus john lewis stores are great for trying out products and getting them at the lowest price!

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Anonymous Coward

> I don't really get how John Lewis stocking the Surface news?

It's news because it was Microsoft's decision to withhold it from shops, and they've finally woken up to the fact that people won't buy it unseen over the web.

Apple has Apple stores, and it also has their products in a whole range of retailers. If there are any Microsoft stores, I've never seen one (and I wouldn't be inclined to go hunting them out either)

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Windows

astroturf.

"Demand for Windows 8 computers has been phenomenal with touchscreen models leading the way."

Damn fine kool-aid you have there.

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Unhappy

Re: astroturf.

"Demand for Windows 8 computers has been phenomenal..."

I don't doubt that demand for Windows PCs has been phenomenal, it pretty much always is this time of year - but I reckon the disappointment when they start using them will be just as high.

(Quickly realised why the 'upgrade' from Windows 7 was only £49)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: astroturf.

Are you seriously likening people selecting an OS that you don't like with the suicide/murder of a thousand people. Really? I know it's become a figure of speech, but it really grates and no-one seems to remember where it came from.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonestown

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Anonymous Coward

Re: astroturf. - Kool-Aid

Kool-Aid had nothing to do with Jonestown - the drink used was Flavor-Aid.

Sure, the reference is there when mentioning "Drinking the Kool-Aid" but you are factually incorrect to claim it is one and the same.

Not to mention you need to get yer head outta your arse and lighten up.

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@AC - Re: astroturf.

[Re Kool-Aid] Wrote :- "Are you seriously likening people selecting an OS that you don't like with the suicide/murder of a thousand people"

Sorry to bring down your high horse, but "drinking Kool-Aid" has now become a fixture as a metaphor in the language. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drinking_the_Kool-Aid.

".... no-one seems to remember where it came from."

Really? I am in the UK and have been well-aware where it came from for some time now, because the psychological tendency of people to follow others for no real reason, even to their detriment, is very common, and the Jonestown incident is a prominent example of it. People fanatically supporting a particular football team is another, less serious, example, just as are people spending cash on the latest version Windows or iPhone for no better reason than to be with-it.

Having said that, in the UK a more common metaphor for the tendency is a comparison with lemmings following each other over a cliff,

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Anonymous Coward

Re: astroturf. - Kool-Aid

I nearly mentioned that it was Flavor-Aid, but I didn't think anyone would bother to split such a hair.

Anyway, figure of speech used by many or not, a thousand people died, I will not lighten up on this subject, it's basic respect for the dead.

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Re: @AC - astroturf.

surely the phrase "drinking the Kool Aid" comes from the "Electric Kool Aid Acid Test", the book by Tom Wolfe which documented the practice of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters of creating happenings where the Kool Aid would be spiked with LSD. Once you had unwittingly taken acid by imbibing the Kool Aid you became part of the happening. Nothing to do with the Jonestown massacre.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @AC - astroturf.

No, the phrase refers to brainwashing making people drink something that they know will kill them, blindly following what their leaders tell them to do. It comes from the Jonestown massacre. It doesn't make sense if it's unwittingly drinking something, as the point of the phrase is that it's saying that the person who is being accused of "drinking the kool aid" is doing so because they've been told to and they are unquestioning.

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Anonymous Coward

No Thanks to a Surface Re-Tard

Utter waste of money for an overprice brick and besides the keyboard junction falls apart. Go ahead MS fanboys and set fire to your money so you can keep Ballmer in hideous golfing outfits and a good supply of chairs.

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WTF?

Consider me baffled

Demand has been phenomenal? They're really been getting that many people in asking for these things? Have Microsoft got some subliminal message in their otherwise awful advert? I can imagine something like "The Manchurian Candidate" with confused customers turning up at John Lewis and saying "I want surface" to the assistants, then snapping out of it, and wandering off to look at the white goods...

There's no other rational explanation.

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JDX
Gold badge

Re: Consider me baffled

He said demand for W8, not for surface. It's pretty likely they are selling a load of laptops for Xmas, and they happen to have W8 installed on them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Consider me baffled

John Lewis are not the sort of company to lie about things. They stock premium quality products and not just any old crap.

My father bought a Kindle HD the other day and remarked at how bad the "out of box" experience is. Can't get it on his Wifi network (he's no expert in such things), there's no manual with it so he has no idea on how to get it going, there's not even a charger in the box.

I'm pretty sure Microsoft can improve on the sorry situation above.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Consider me baffled

@JDX - John Lewis are currently stocking both W7 and W8 machines in (as far as I can tell) equal measure.

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JC_

Re: Consider me baffled

My father bought a Kindle HD the other day and remarked at how bad the "out of box" experience is.

My girlfriend got an iPad from work, which we gave to my mum for xmas, and I couldn't believe how bad the out-of-box experience was when setting it up for her:

1. A single cryptic page of 'instructions'...

2. Work out how to turn it on and find out it needs to be connected to a PC...

3. Connect it to a PC and find out that the PC needs iTunes...

4. Go to internet cafe, install iTunes on a PC, return home and find out it needs an internet connection...

5. Drag mum, laptop and iPad down to the internet cafe, and then find out it needs a credit card number for some bloody reason...

Honestly, I thought it was awful, yet millions of people buy them and are very happy, so what do we know?

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Re: Consider me baffled

What the...why would you get your mum an iPad if she didn't have the Internet?

This can only be trolling!

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JC_

Re: Consider me baffled

What the...why would you get your mum an iPad if she didn't have the Internet?

This can only be trolling!

Looks up, sees a ceiling instead of a bridge, nope - I'm not trolling! :)

It's turning from a rant to a boring story, but we didn't set out to get her an iPad. My partner got given one at work as a bonus but she didn't want it; we tried to get rid of it on ebay, but gave up due to the faffing about with verifying bank accounts, which was required to sell expensive electronics with only a short transaction history. As it was xmas, giving it to my mum seemed like the best option.

In any case, that doesn't matter, I stand by my argument that the iPad experience sucks. The IKEA-style , the endless requirements that aren't written down, the unnecessary steps... What anyone wants with a shiny new device is to plug it in, turn it on, and do something! Not piss about endlessly!

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Re: Consider me baffled

You don't have to use a PC to setup an ipad you just need a wireless connection to the internet and follow the on-screen instructions ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAJGANt-QDo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjpF2xwMeqs

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Re: Consider me baffled

You clearly woke up on the wrong side of the bed then... (and george michaels bed by the sound of it..)

What is so difficult about

1) Holding on to the button at the top of the ipad?

2) Running through an extremely simple hold your hand setup process, that does everything from picking the right language, to making sure all your data is backed up to iCloud?

3) Using the iPad

Your genuinely making a mountain out of a molehill, and you have to do exactly the same thing for ANY tablet more or less....

but you carry on with your rage....it won't shave precious hours off your life at all...

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JC_

@Moeluk

You clearly woke up on the wrong side of the bed then... (and george michaels bed by the sound of it..)

What a strange thing to say. As I wrote above, the iPad was my girlfriend's (now fiance's). But even if I was gay, why would that be a problem for you?

What is so difficult about

1) Holding on to the button at the top of the ipad?

2) Running through an extremely simple hold your hand setup process, that does everything from picking the right language, to making sure all your data is backed up to iCloud?

3) Using the iPad

Bollocks. This was an original iPad (all of 2 years ago) and you could get no further than the power-up screen without a PC, iTunes and an internet connection. That is shitty.

The irony here is that you wrote a list of instructions; Apple didn't, they used a few runic symbols, because presumably Jobs didn't want to spoil the purity of the experience with actual printed words.

but you carry on with your rage....it won't shave precious hours off your life at all...

Like I said, I thought it was poorly done, but millions of people have bought them and been happy, so what do I know? No rage here, but you do seem to be trolling and not doing it very well, either.

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Re: @Moeluk

no i'm just pointing out your belming for the sake of belming...

it's basically the technological equivalent of shaking your head and saying 'tuh, making a cup of tea is SUCH A NIGHTMARE, you have to fill the kettle up...then turn it on....and then POUR THE WATER...what were they thinking?

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Paris Hilton

A sign posted on the bridge reads, "Stop! Pay troll!"

> Looks up, sees a ceiling instead of a bridge, nope - I'm not trolling! :)

I think the troll should be ON the bridge, blocking it. Not underneath.

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WTF?

@Moeluk - Re: Consider me baffled

I too know sod-all about the iPad other than seeing the name, knowing that it has a lot of fans, and having a suspicion that they are something to do with music (in which I have no interest).

If I were given an iPad as an unwanted gift, I would probably give it to my mum without opening it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Consider me baffled

I bought an Androd Phone. To be exact, it is an HTC Sensation. There was no manual in the box nor a charger. WTF do all those icons at the top of the screen mean?

The purpose of this little story is to show that most bits of kit are sorely deficient when it comes to use instructions. I don't mean just IT stuff but things like Washing Machines, Cleaners and even something as mundane as a Food mixer.

Now going back to your experience. I think that in your case, Apple did learn from user experiences such as yours and then made the setup PC/Mac free.

I have a Kindle Fire HD. I've never had any issues getting it onto a WiFi network. On the otherhand, why does one Windows 7 Laptop see the device and another one refuse point blank to see it? That is a mystery that will live for a long time. I'm not alone in having this happen but do I get into a rant and shout from the rooftops 'This device is a POS?' no I don't.

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Re: Consider me baffled

Perhaps you should....

If people did manufacturers might improve things. In this day and age there is no excuse for wireless networking to be problematic.

Mind you, only 2 years ago Acer sold me a Linux powered Revo with NO wireless driver at all! It had the hardware, and Ubuntu had no issues whatsoever, but Acer couldn't be bothered. £80 less than the Windows version, but still unforgivable.

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Silver badge

Demand might be phenomenal

The Surface is an overpriced, underpowered tablet running an unpopular OS. If they want Windows RT to become popular, something has to change and the most obvious thing to do is cut the price. I don't know how Microsoft did it but they managed to out-greed Apple with their pricing.

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JDX
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Re: Demand might be phenomenal

How exactly is it unpopular? Every review of windows 8 on a phone/tablet I've seen has been positive.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Demand might be phenomenal

Underpowered how? the Windows 8 OS runs better than Windows 7, y'know optimisation. Which is something pretty incredible from Microsoft who people used to accuse of deliberately slowing down the OS to get people to upgrade their computers.

Just because it isn't some bloated Android monstrosity doesn't mean it won't run well.

Try using things instead of merely reviewing the spec sheet like some sort of train spotter.

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