Tech News

Microsoft Pits Surface Pro Vs. MacBook, Chromebooks On Rise, And More… [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 12-08-2014

Also, Cortana is being baked right into Windows 9, the FCC announces net neutrality round table discussions, Microsoft unveils a $25 Nokia feature phone, and discover what happens when you Like everything on Facebook.


Microsoft Pits Surface Pro Against MacBook

Microsoft sees its Surface Pro tablets Microsoft Surface Pro 2 Review and Giveaway Although the Surface Pro 2 might not be the latest and greatest, is it still a good device to get? Read More as all-in-one devices capable of doing almost anything you care to throw at them. This is somewhat true, with the Surface being a cross between a tablet and a fully-fledged Windows laptop. Unfortunately, this unique positioning hasn’t translated into huge sales.

The company is now employing a new strategy for selling the Surface Pro to consumers. Taking a leaf out of Apple’s playbook with spots mocking the old PC vs. Mac adverts, Microsoft has released a trio of commercials pitting the Surface Pro 3 against a MacBook Pro.

One sees Microsoft comparing the two directly in a head-to-head battle, one talks up how powerful and capable the Surface Pro 3 Surface Pro 3 Reviews, Happy Google Employees, Free Amazon Fire TVs [Tech News Digest] Microsoft Surface Pro 3 reviews, an update on Apple buying Beats, Google keeps its employees happy, free Amazon Fire TVs, the PlayStation 4 in China, Google+ Stories, and an iPhone ringtones dance track. Read More is, and one suggests an Apple fan would have to carry a MacBook, an iPad, and a paper notebook to enjoy the same freedom as the Surface 3 user.

This is a rather audacious move on Microsoft’s part, going straight for Apple’s jugular in the hopes it will force consumers to sit up and take notice of the Surface. It might work too, as while the Surface Pro isn’t good value compared to an iPad, it is good value when compared to a MacBook Pro. And price is an important factor in all purchasing decisions.

Google Chromebooks Are On The March

The Google Chromebook Chromebooks – Useful or Useless? My wife gave me a choice of gadgets for Christmas – a new MP3 player, or a Chromebook? Read More is on the march, with sales rising, and Gartner predicting that trend will continue for the foreseeable future. Chromebook sales are expected to rise to 5.2 million units by the end of 2014, and then triple to 14.4 million units per year by 2017.


This is an impressive rise from nowhere, but it’s still a drop in the ocean when measured against total PC sales of 308 million for the year. Interestingly, a large percentage of Chromebook sales came in the education sector Four Awesome Ways to Use a Chromebook in the Classroom Chromebooks now account for twenty percent of all United States school purchases of mobile computers. What role can Chromebooks play in the education sector? Read More , which might help Google in the years to come as kids being exposed to Chrome OS on a daily basis now become the consumers of the future.

Cortana Integral Part Of Windows 9

It’s looking likely that Cortana will be baked into Windows 9, currently codenamed Windows Threshold. Neowin is reporting that Cortana has survived into the earliest stable builds of Microsoft’s next operating system, which suggests it will be included in the final release.

Cortana is Microsoft’s personal assistant Geek Humor Included! Meet Cortana, Windows Phone 8.1 Digital Assistant Cortana is the best reason to upgrade your Windows Phone early. Microsoft's answer to Siri offers great features and will make you laugh. Read More which is currently available on Windows Phone 8.1 and which has already managed to capture the heart of our own Christian Cawley How Cortana Became The "Other Woman" In My Life She appeared one day and changed my life. She knows exactly what I need and has a wicked sense of humour. It's little wonder that I've fallen for the charms of Cortana. Read More . Cortana is expected to be fully integrated into Windows 9, with her familiar circle being retained for desktops. As long as she isn’t given a face as in Halo, as that would just be creepy.

FCC Hosting Net Neutrality Round Tables

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced plans to hold six round table discussions around net neutrality and the open Internet. The sessions will be held on Sept. 16, Sept. 19, Oct. 2, and Oct. 7. All are free and open to the public, and will be streamed live online at


Considering that over 1 million comments were sent to the FCC about net neutrality What Is Net Neutrality & Why Should I Care? A significant number see Net Neutrality as essential to the survival of the Internet. In this article, we're going to look at why Net Neutrality matters, and why we should fight to protect it. Read More , there is not only a great deal to discuss, but the live streams could be insanely popular. Let’s hope the tubes can cope with the traffic.

Microsoft Unveils $25 Nokia Phone

Microsoft has unveiled a $25 feature phone called the Nokia 130. As basic feature phones go, the 1.8-inch Nokia 130 is extremely capable, with an MP3 player, an FM radio, an SD card slot, and an impressive battery life. Still, it’s bizarre to see Microsoft selling such a low-powered device.

Microsoft expects the Nokia 130 to “begin shipping in the third quarter of this year,” and it’ll be available only “in select markets, including China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines and Vietnam.” Which is a shame as I wanted one. It is only $25, after all!

How Facebook Turned Likes Into Hate

And finally, Facebook isn’t the only one capable of carrying out experiments on its platform How Do You Feel About Being In Facebook's Psych Experiment? [Weekly Facebook Tips] You've probably heard about the latest scandal from the Facebook world: Facebook has been experimenting on users and playing with their emotions. Yes, really. Read More , as Wired writer Mat Honan recently demonstrated. Honan decided to Like everything he saw on Facebook for 48 hours, the result being Facebook becoming a site he dreaded visiting.


A few Likes can help mold Facebook into a place you’ll love, but too many Likes and that love will turn to hate. There’s surely a lesson to be learned here, but I can’t quite figure out what it is. Answers on a postcard please.

Your Views On Today’s Tech News

Do you think Microsoft is sensible in pitting the Surface Pro against the Apple MacBook? Will Chromebooks continue growing in popularity? What are your thoughts on Windows 9 at this moment in time?

Let us know your thoughts on the tech news of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Image Credit: Karlis Dambrans via Flickr


Related topics: Facebook, Microsoft, Windows 9, Windows Tablet.

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  1. Richard B
    August 13, 2014 at 2:01 am

    The ads make a point, but they don't make the right one: people will use what they want. Mac users use OS X because they like it, not because it has a touchscreen or is a convertible device.

    As for Chromebooks, I'm starting to look into them. I just have to justify why I need one.

    And having tried Cortana, she's awesome! Especially with MS saying they're giving her updates very frequently, she'll only get better!

    • Dave P
      August 15, 2014 at 1:03 pm

      Purely in terms of hardware the Surface compares quite favorably to a MacBook, but you're right, Microsoft seem to have forgotten that OS X is an essential part of the equation.

  2. Justin P
    August 12, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    Those ads taught me one thing: Microsoft now sees itself as an underdog. Why else would they attack a laptop with such a tiny overall marketshare?

    • Dave P
      August 15, 2014 at 1:01 pm

      That's a good point, boss. I guess Microsoft sees itself as an underdog in the tablet market, but attacking the iPad is pointless. Setting the Surface up against the MacBook makes more sense in terms of attracting new customers.

  3. Tom W
    August 12, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    People who own Macbooks don't particularly care about the price. They prefer OSx to Windows, and showing them a Windows tablet isn't going to change that. At the same time, the advert will also fail to convert existing Windows users, who don't like Windows 8 and don't want a touchscreen on their laptop. The only other audience is people who actually like the darn things, most of which already own one. The adverts are mildly amusing, but that's all they have going for them.

    • Dave P
      August 15, 2014 at 1:00 pm

      That's a valid point that I was going to mention until I realized it could be construed as ragging on Apple fans too much.

      You think the Surface ads are essentially pointless then?

    • Tom W
      August 15, 2014 at 1:17 pm

      Adverts in general are more about raising awareness of a brand than actually shifting units. The problem is, Microsoft don't have to do that. Most people will walk into a PC shop and be sold a Surface, and everyone else is already a loss that increased visibility isn't going to help. So I guess yes, they are essentially pointless. Microsoft need to start focussing on building business-orientated machines with Windows 9, because that's their core market and because that's the sole reason that they have such a lead over Apple.

  4. likefunbutnot
    August 12, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    I have and I support a number of Surface devices and I have to say they are damned near perfect as combination devices. I like the size of the Pro2 better than the Pro3, but those two inches of screen do make the Pro3 a much more credible general-purpose device. Surface Pros deserve a lot more and more positive attention than they get.

    I've actually been recommending refurbished Surface Pros to people asking me about inexpensive laptops, especially for students.

    • Dave P
      August 15, 2014 at 12:59 pm

      I agree. I just don't think people are giving them a fair crack of the whip. I hate to say it but Microsoft has a stink about it at the moment that is keeping people wary of giving the company the credit it deserves.