A curved Surface: Microsoft always wins

Macalope

It’s quarterly reporting season and Microsoft is winning once again. Why, their revenue is up a whopping 1 percent and many of their numbers are only down a little! Despite all the rain up there, it’s always blue skies in Redmond.

Writing for Ars Technica, Peter Bright gives us the good news. “Microsoft’s 2Q17: cloud growth slows, Windows surprising, Surface resilient.” (Tip o’ the antlers to @realworldrj.)

Resilient!

And, well, down. Surface sales were down. Um… yeah.

As bad as the phone situation is…

Oh, yeah, the phone situation is terrible, by the way. Whoo, boy, is it bad. Like, down 81 percent kind of bad. Yeeow. But who buys smartphones anymore anyway? And why be such a downer? Let’s get to the computer thing which is great news. Because that’s just down a little.

…Microsoft's other foray into hardware, Surface, seems to be doing rather better.

Better than terrible is better! This is true.

Revenue was down ever so slightly, falling 2 percent to $1.3 billion.

A pittance! Why, it’s down so little it might as well be up by a lot. Apple hasn’t reported their results yet but Mac sales the previous quarter were down 6 percent which is huge and terrible while 2 percent is small and great.

Now, let us get to the excuse making.

That's a 2 percent fall even though the Surface Pro 4 was not refreshed at all, and the Surface Book saw only a minor upgrade with the introduction of the high price Performance Base. … Microsoft did introduce one all new piece of hardware in the quarter, the Surface Studio, but again, this was a US-only release, and availability during 2016 was severely limited.

See, they’re only down because Microsoft didn’t ship many new devices! Surely they can’t be blamed for that! And the big new device they did ship was in short supply! So, we can all agree that none of this reflects in any way other than positively for Microsoft.

Meanwhile, Mac sales were down because… everyone hates Macs? No, actually for exactly the same reason Surface sales were down: Apple didn’t introduce many new devices and the big new one they did introduce late in the year was in short supply. For shame, Apple. Why can’t you be more like Microsoft?

After reading story after story about how Apple badly neglected the Mac last year (and, to be fair, the Macalope agrees that they did), it’s a little jarring to see Microsoft completely get a pass for doing slightly better. There is a very real difference in how Apple is covered and how Microsoft is covered and the Surface is graded on a curve.

(CORRECTION: An earlier version of this piece incorrectly identified the source as The Verge instead of Ars Technica. The Macalope regrets the error. Seriously, it's annoying to make a stupid mistake.)

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