Although Microsoft had announced the original Surface (with the new Windows RT OS) ten years ago todaythe device didn’t ship until October 26, 2012, which was also the same night Windows 8 was released.
For the first time since previous Xbox launches and even the release of Windows 95, Microsoft had a big midnight launch for Surface and Windows 8 in the middle of bustling Midtown Manhattan.
I lived nearby at the time. While Microsoft didn’t officially speak to our site, I went down like any other fan interested in the company’s supposed answer to the iPad. I grabbed my camera, jumped on a train and waited in line like everyone else.
The queue for the Microsoft Store was long, but luckily the weather was cooperative and not too cold. The store allowed the crowd to come in at midnight and see Microsoft Surface in person. If they wanted, they could buy it and the Touch Cover on the spot; many did.
That night, Microsoft and Surface were the stars of the show. The store was filling up and the person leading Surface development was there in person – Panos Panay. Not only was he there to personally oversee the launch, but he also spoke to customers, showed off the hardware and, yes, even signed some hardware and boxes.
It was a handsome combination that I loved.
Image 1 from 7
2012 was the time before website pre-orders, so Microsoft had a lot of Surfaces in stock. Indeed, it had infamous at many available. It would rear its ugly head if the company had a massive $900 million depreciation nine months later because not enough Surface RTs were sold.
But for us who were there, it was an exciting and memorable evening and probably the only time we’ll see another launch for Microsoft hardware at midnight.