Last month, Microsoft revealed the next step in its plan to dethrone the iPad - the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2. Out of the two, the Surface 2 is the most interesting as Microsoft is distancing itself and the product from the ill-received Surface RT. Some analysts don't think a rebranding is going to help much either. Despite all this, Microsoft has found at least one buyer.
On Sunday, Microsoft announced that Delta Airlines will be purchasing 11,000 Surface 2 tablets for its pilots. The Surface 2 will be custom tailored to a pilot's needs with what the airline is calling the "electronic flight bag." The goal is to have all Delta cockpits go completely paperless by the end of 2014.
Never one to miss out on a photo op, Microsoft put together a quick video showing how Delta is using the Surface 2 tablet:
So, what have we learned from all of this? The major takeaway is that the Surface 2 is a great enterprise device. Big surprise there, right? Microsoft's bread and butter is in enterprise so it only makes sense that it's able to sell its devices to enterprise customers.
Unfortunately, that's not going to cut it for Microsoft as it transitions into a devices and services company. Enterprise will remain an integral part of its business, but Microsoft needs to get consumers on board as well. The Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 have the hardware and look of a mass market device, but the lack of apps and the high price will continually push consumers to the competition.
Look, it's great that Microsoft is already finding big enterprise buyers for its Surface 2 tablet. Hopefully, it won't have to write off $900 million worth of unsold Surface 2 stock next year. It's just that Microsoft is going to have to do more if it wants to properly complete in a marketplace that's all about either being the cheapest or having the most apps. At this point, Surface can't win on either of these fronts.