Is the Microsoft Surface Hub An Overpriced Collaboration Board?

With the deluge of new collaboration boards that will hit the market over the next six months (this was the most popular launch product at ISE  in Amsterdam, last month), there’s no question that Microsoft will have to cut the price of their Surface Hub — or, no one who knows any better will buy it. They can’t keep ripping people off at $8,000-$9,000 (55”) and $20,000 (84”) a pop — considering the limited functionality compared to the newbies on the market as well as they’re priced 20-30 percent higher than everyone else.

Although both are 4K resolution, the need for a 4K collaboration board at 55″ is more of a novelty than a requirement. Even at 55″ and standing next to the board, you can’t discern a technological advantage to a 3840×2160 resolution monitor versus a 1080p one. But, as most of the forthcoming collaboration boards that will hit the market in 2017 will be 4K too, that presents an even bigger obstacle to Microsoft. Everyone does 4K now.

And, as most of the new collaboration boards launched at ISE that were in the 55″ range (by the way, that’s where Microsoft sells more than 80 percent of them) and nearly all of them carried a $5,000 price tag, the giant software maker will, no doubt either drop their price or become irrelevant. Then, there’s Google’s Jamboard — which was hidden upstairs in the BenQ booth — which just debuted, officially, at $5,000. It’s way, way more simple to use than Surface HUB as well as has a much nicer user interface. Maybe not as many features, however, but all the features everyone is asking about. And, then you still have a plethora of other companies with collaboration boards too — all aiming at Microsoft, companies like AvocorCiscoNECNewlineSharp and Google.

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And, we haven’t even talked about SMART — yep, they’re back with all-new SMART Boards, InFocus and their industry-founding Mondopad, Epson and their projection-alternative BrightLink Pro line of projected interactive collaboration boards and the five or so other companies that recently launched into the space. And, more are coming to InfoComm in June.

And, all of them will be at InfoComm in Orlando, if you want to test each one out — oh, all except the Microsoft Surface Hub…