If the RT is a shitty computer with zero usefulness so is the iPad. Or at least it was at launch. Yet it outsells PCs. So the Microsoft team would have to be fired if they didn't try something. And the RT isn't terrible compared to the iPad. It's lacking apps. This is less a positive for the RT and a negative for the iPad.
How are any of the other competitors better than the RT. Many, if not most, of the RT reviews said it was fine, other than the lack of apps. It isn't iPad quality, but nothing can be at launch. Sorry, no 1st generation product competes with 3rd or 4th generation products. It takes a while.
Salespeople wouldn't have had a chance. Headlines would have been "Microsoft iPad competitor is twice the price - Microsoft fail."
Listen, I'm not saying the RT is a great product, or that they made great choices. I'm saying that people acting like it's so clearly stupid and they're so stupid and blah blah blah. It isn't as clear cut as you guys make it and it isn't as simple to succeed as you guys pretend. It's not a great product. The decisions made haven't worked out. But it isn't like there was a clearly intelligent path and a clearly stupid path and they went down one. It's easy to sit here and backseat quarterback but I'd guess that if most of you had been on these teams you would have fully backed the idea to make a very well built iPad competitor and hit with it first.
Again, I am not saying what they did was right. I'm not saying that the Surface is a good product. I'm saying this isn't nearly as obviously dumb as people like to claim. Few things often are.