In case you forgot, mobile is all about the apps and, despite more than $1.5 billion in marketing, Microsoft’s Surface fails badly on that count. Consumers and, by extension, developers are leery of the Windows phone and tablet platforms, resulting in a long list of apps that aren’t yet available to the small number of Surface buyers.

If there is one must-have mobile app, it’s Facebook and Surface ain’t got it.

“That’s a bad thing,” Ray Velez, CTO, Razorfish, told AdAge. “But Facebook doesn’t have the greatest track record. They are really hard to work with.”

Interestingly enough, Facebook is absent from the Surface even though Microsoft took at 1.6 percent in the social networking giant for $240 million back in 2007.

Another signature mobile app and developer, Flipboard, describes the issues facing Microsoft’s Surface in familiar terms.

“It’s the exact same challenge that happened with Android and Google Play,” said Marci McCue, head of marketing for Flipboard. “It’s a new type of user and you really have to think about the way [the device] is used.”

However, with Apple’s iPad already dominant and Android tablets playing catchup vis-a-vis unit volume and developer mindshare, neither consumers nor developers have much interest in Microsoft’s late-to-the-game offerings.

Little wonder then that Microsoft Surface sales modest. Moreover, this dismal trend tracks closely with sluggish at best Windows 8 sales.

It seems nothing about Microsoft’s grand desktop-tablet-smartphone Windows 8 operating system grand unification strategy is going well at all.

Is there still hope or is a Microsoft Surface fail all but certain?

image BusinessWeek