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The Five Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week: June 22

2. Ballmer Scratches the Surface

Seriously Mr. Softee, we've heard of soft launches, but what the heck was that?

In the annals of Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report) miscues, Monday's Surface tablet rollout was surely not on par with that of the hapless Zune. No, that flop was in a remedial class by itself.

Furthermore, there is certainly a lot to like about the Surface, including the snappy hardware, clever keyboard cover and especially the kickstand. Hey, what third grade bike-pedaler or jet-setting business traveler doesn't relish a kickstand? It's just too cool for school - and now apparently B-school as well!

All those encouraging words aside, that was the softest hardware introduction we have ever seen! For a supposedly hard-charging guy, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was positively flaccid up there during what was supposed to be a jazzy event. Clearly they held the Surface's coming out party in Los Angeles as opposed to Redmond for a reason. Well, if that reason was to generate buzz among attendees, then they would have been more successful holding it back near Seattle where the coffee is stronger.

Look, we're not saying that Ballmer should have come out in a black turtleneck and done his best Steve Jobs impersonation. You don't have to ask Siri to know that's a dumb idea.

Nevertheless, Ballmer left so many questions unanswered that it's hard to get enthused about what is allegedly his company's answer to Apple's (AAPL) iPad.

What will the pricing be? When will it ship? How will it connect with Xbox? Come on guys, inquiring gamers want to know!

And what about Skype Steve? Do you remember buying that little video chat company not too long ago? Well, is this part of your plan to make good on that investment? If so, don't you think Monday's event would have been the perfect time to prove that you actually did have a strategy in mind before paying $8.5 billion for it?

Honestly Steve, if you're going to beat Apple then you have to do more. Go deeper. You literally introduced the Surface this week, but figuratively speaking, you barely scratched it.
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