/ #technology

The Future is in Redmond

Microsoft is really cool.

There really isn’t any­one else pur­su­ing some­thing like they are: one oper­at­ing sys­tem across all devices: desk­tops, tablets, lap­tops, phones, and TVs (Xbox). It’s wild, it’s crazy, and it’s the future.

How­ev­er, Win­dows has always been held back by bad hard­ware. PC man­u­fac­tur­ers don’t invest enough care and con­sid­er­a­tion into their prod­ucts. Instead, mak­ing PCs has always been about cut­ting cor­ners. In their race to the bot­tom, man­u­fac­tur­ers suc­cumb to using the worst of mate­ri­als, pre­in­stalling bloat­ware (and some­times spyware), and using cheap hard­ware that guar­an­tees a frus­trat­ing expe­ri­ence. When attempt­ing to com­pete on the high­-end, man­u­fac­tur­ers suf­fer from their lack of exper­tise with pre­mium mate­ri­als, driving up prices. As a result, the first gen­er­a­tion of alu­minum Ultra­books ended up being more expen­sive than the Mac­Book Air, which they were sup­posed to undercut.

There has always been a deal-breaker with every PC; an “al­l-­day” bat­tery that lasts only 3 hours, an unus­able track­pad, or unbear­able build qual­i­ty. Using Win­dows meant hav­ing to choose the device with most tolerable flaw.

In the past, Microsoft tried to fix the bloat­ware prob­lem by intro­duc­ing Signature, a line of com­put­ers with the bloat­ware removed. How­ev­er, this fixed only half of the problemno soft­ware can make up for ugly dis­plays and wobbly plastic.

To many, the solu­tion was obvi­ous: Microsoft should just make hard­ware! But the rea­son they could­n’t was also obvi­ous: Microsoft was a soft­ware ven­dor and had to ensure a level play­ing field for man­u­fac­tur­ers and mak­ing their own com­puter would dis­rupt that bal­ance. How­ev­er, every­thing changed with Windows 8.

The new oper­at­ing sys­tem rep­re­sented Microsoft’s bold vision for the future. Steven Sinof­sky, Pres­i­dent of Win­dows at the time, wor­ried that man­u­fac­tur­ers would­n’t be able to make hard­ware wor­thy of show­cas­ing the oper­at­ing sys­tem. Win­dows 8 deserved something better.


Sur­face is the phys­i­cal man­i­fes­ta­tion of Win­dows. It is the cul­mi­na­tion of the best parts of Microsoft. It lever­ages Microsoft Research’s bleed­ing edge tech­nol­ogy and all of Microsoft’s design and engi­neer­ing prowess. Sur­face is the com­puter Windows deserves.


The com­puter of the future is not the iPad nor is it the new Mac­Book. The iPad excels at con­tent con­sump­tion, but to do seri­ous work, you’ll have to resort to a clumsy key­board case. The new Mac­Book is the inverseit is pro­duc­tive, but its key­board is always there, whether you need it or not. Sur­face on the other hand, can seam­lessly trans­form from a lap­top to a tablet. It will change per­sonal computing forever.

Tech­nol­ogy has always been about look­ing to the future and get­ting excited about the pos­si­bil­i­ties. To me, Sur­face is the embod­i­ment of that spir­it, and one I can’t stop get­ting excited about.

So I took a pil­grim­age to the Moth­er­ship yes­ter­day. It’s quite a shame that despite liv­ing in Seat­tle since Sep­tem­ber, I haven’t been to Redmond yet.

Microsoft Commons.

I assume this is Satya’s lair. (Up­date: It’s not.)

I met one of my favorite design­ers (and Sur­face design­er) Ralf Groene (!!!) It was surreal.