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Wednesday, August 07, 2013, 02:53 pm PT (05:53 pm ET)

Microsoft rehashes old arguments in latest anti-iPad Surface ad

Microsoft continued to bash the iPad in its latest Surface RT commercial, this time digging up and re-airing old arguments against the Apple tablet, like a lack of keyboard and higher price point.

Surface Ad


Unlike Microsoft's first ad in its anti-iPad campaign, Wednesday's commercial doesn't rely on Siri to point out the perceived shortcomings of Apple's tablet. Instead, the two devices are pitted against each other in multiple side-by-side comparisons, most being favorable to the Surface RT.

The spot, aptly titled "Surface RT vs. iPad," begins with physical measurements, which shows both tablets as being 0.37 inches thick. The fourth-generation iPad comes in somewhat lighter at 1.44 pounds, compared to 1.5 pounds for the Surface, but immediately following that specification is a notation for screen size.

Apple's iPad uses a 9.7-inch Retina display with a 4:3 aspect ratio, while the Surface RT is equipped with a 10.6-inch panel in a 16:9 ratio. The commercial fails to mention resolution, which on the iPad is 2,048-by-1,536 pixels, or 264 pixels per inch, substantially more dense than the RT's 148 ppi, 1,366-by-768 pixel display.

Next, the ad touts the Surface RT's built-in kickstand and attachable keyboard, two features missing on the iPad. Microsoft mentions in small print that the keyboard is sold separately, but fails to reveal the add-on's $100 price tag.

On the software side, the iPad is shown to come standard with the Quick Look document viewer, while the RT comes with Microsoft Office. Rumors regarding an MS Office app for iOS have been circulating since 2011, but only recently has Redmond released a companion app for iPhone. Multitasking is another feature that RT holds over the iPad, with multiscreen viewing currently unavailable in iOS.

Hitting on the same old notes, the RT's built-in USB port was highlighted in the latest spot as a USB flash drive was plugged into the tablet's side. The iPad had to use Apple's USB to Lightning adapter.

Finally, as with all of Microsoft's recent Surface vs. iPad ads, a price comparison was made between the $499 Apple tablet and the $349 RT. Microsoft was forced to slash the Surface RT's price by $150 in July due to presumably slow sales, bringing the tablet down to $349.



Although no hard shipment numbers have been revealed, Microsoft's 10-K filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last week showed Surface revenue at $853 million since the device launched in October 2012. If an average sales price of $500 — the original price of the Surface RT — is factored into the revenue total, it would mean roughly 1.7 million Surface units were sold in the eight months leading up to the SEC filing.

When considering the $900 million write down for unsold units, as well as $898 million in advertising earmarked for Windows 8 and Surface, Microsoft's tablet experiment is deep in the red.