[tl;dr] The odd Surface: Surface Chinese edition

  • Microsoft China today launched a special SKU of the Surface device: literally translated as Surface Chinese edition
  • It’s a variant of the Surface Pro with no hardware differences, only software
  • Software differences include Windows 8 for China (vs. Windows 8 Pro with VHD boot, HyperV, domain-join, etc.), full Office 2013 Home and Student (vs. 1 month trial)
  • One big restriction of Windows 8 for China is that the only language pack is Simplified Chinese UI which affects the user interface text. No other languages packs can be added.
  • The price factor is interesting as the 128GB Surface Chinese is the same price as 128GB Surface Pro (7388 CHY), but Office 2013 H&S is valued at 700 CHY (1200 USD).
  • I think this unnecessarily creates an extra purchasing dilemma at the retail channels, making what is already a pretty confusing choice between RT and Pro even more of a balancing act with a third choice that literally sits between the two.
  • Just when I thought Microsoft finally gave up its aggressive region-restrictions, they dug themselves deeper. Competing products are not only region-free, but also have much more aggressive internationalization features (every language pack comes pre-installed on OSX and iOS).

6 insightful thoughts

  1. This makes sense for China market given the high rate of pirate software usage. Many people would install pirated office anyway had the software not offered for free. Now they have a chance to use the latest legitimate office at the same price and they probably wouldn’t care much about some ‘unnecessary’ features including language packs.

  2. I think the point of these region restrictions is so the Surface is not resold in the black-market to tourists at much cheaper price.

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