Tablets

How Microsoft lost the tablet war

For the frustrated CIO who finds his repeated admonishments about the wonders of the IT department falling on deaf ears, it is worth examining how Microsoft has mishandled its foray into tablets, as there may be some striking parallels.

People from technology analysts to commentators have been proclaiming Apple's victory in the "tablet wars" for several months, but the watershed moment for me was when I was visiting my parents and my mother, a gifted artist but less-than-savvy technology user, pulled out her shiny new iPad. Watching Apple dominate this category of devices in less than 18 months has likely been an exceptionally frustrating experience for Microsoft, the company that made the first large-scale move into tablet computers over a decade ago, and now they are not even on the playing field. Looking at Microsoft's continued missteps is an instructive process for anyone in the technology industry, especially CIOs tasked with developing, delivering, and driving the adoption of new technologies. So, what can we learn from the company that effectively invented a new category of computing devices, only to see an upstart revolutionize the market in one-tenth of the time?

Make it usable

While Microsoft spent years on technical problems such as handwriting recognition and pen interfaces, Apple recognized the tablet format was about two critical areas: battery life and portability. While I disagree with Steve Jobs's assessment that pen-based tablets are "dead," the crop of devices that weigh as much as an unabridged dictionary and get around three hours of battery life are a difficult sell.

Sell a scenario

One of Apple's core strengths is its ability to sell different usage scenarios. Most of their device-related commercials show a disembodied finger working with the device to solve a common problem. There's rarely a mention of features, specs, and technologies; just someone completing a common task. Potential customers identify with these tasks and get excited when they see a device solving a problem they've experienced in the past.

Microsoft abandoned mainstream tablet advertising long ago, but when you look at what's out there, you find talk of vertical markets, enterprise integration, and other business babble. Look for a common-use case for the device, and at best you'll find pictures of a doctor caressing an awkward-looking tablet with an X-ray image on it or generic, smiling construction workers pointing at a device. Neither scenario speaks to the average person with real work to get done or that same person who wants a device that lets them watch a movie, take notes in a meeting, and share a presentation. In short, Apple leaves you envisioning yourself using the device, while Microsoft and its partners leave you wondering what the heck the device actually does.

Bring out the right product, at the right time, to the right people

There's a fair argument that Microsoft was well ahead of its time with the first tablets it developed in the late 1990s, but once those were trickling out the door, it seems the company enhanced the basic 1990's era product, rather than making major shifts based on what consumers were suggesting they actually wanted.

Microsoft continues to talk about "vertical markets" (seemingly code for having given up in the consumer space), while Apple rides the tidal wave of delivering a device that normal people actually want to use and  that then gets adopted in a corporate environment.

Leverage your strengths

Apple had a decent touch-based operating system from its successful iPhone and had a reasonable catalog of applications for the device. Early criticism of the iPad was that it was essentially a larger iPhone. While that may be true, Apple took a successful device and leveraged that success. Microsoft has an exceptional application catalog, which makes the iPads pale in comparison, but a weak touch interface. Rather than building a compelling interface and leveraging that catalog and near-universal hardware compatibility, Microsoft seems to poke its head up occasionally and wave around the products that the market has been panning for the last 11 years. Microsoft even has several tablet-centric features of its Office suite that are compelling to all that see them, yet they treat them like a state secret, with only the most enthusiastic consumers taking advantage of them.

While I am not ready to write Microsoft out of the tablet game, they have clearly lost the first several rounds of the fight. For the frustrated CIO who finds his repeated admonishments about the wonders of the IT department falling on deaf ears, it is worth examining how Microsoft has mishandled its foray into tablets, as there may be some striking parallels.

About

Patrick Gray works for a global Fortune 500 consulting and IT services company and is the author of Breakthrough IT: Supercharging Organizational Value through Technology as well as the companion e-book The Breakthrough CIO's Companion. He has spent ...

66 comments
jfreedle2
jfreedle2

I would rather have a tablet in which I can install real applications on that I also have installed on my desktop computer. I do not want to have limited software in any way, fashion, or form. The Apple iPad and Google Android devices are completely limited, not only the developer's lack of imagination but also by the platforms complete lack of usability.

robo_dev
robo_dev

Apple just moved in and took over without firing a shot.

daffydwilliams
daffydwilliams

Having 2 still working Toshiba Lbrettos that I used extensively about 11 years ago. At the time p75, active screen smaller that netbook running full windows. Technically amazed many customers, but too small for cost they never took off. Last 18 months Netbooks took off. Time and right time for users need to intersect. And supporting people with Windows 7 and Macs most non techs are finding the macs just work and don't have monthly download headaches, so to them are better. More limited etc really doesn't matter in the end and Apple One to One suits them as they can learn and ask questions. Many are ex Windows users who just want it to work.

wwgorman
wwgorman

Microsoft WILL have a piece of the market because people will want to integrate their tablet with their PC. Yes, I know there are "apps" out there that will let you run office----sort of. however, not until you have full scale integration of the operating systems will you have a really industrial product. I was a patient in the hospital about 6 weeks ago due to bleeding from an anticoagulant I was taking and I noted the nurses hardly ever visited rooms without a computer in tow. I noted on the rolling stand a tablet computer (not an iPad and not a brand I know) and I asked about it. This was the computer used for those patients in isolation as it could be wiped down with disinfectant before and after the visit. It integrated seamlessly with their computer system. This is what I think this is what commercial large users will want.

jgustafson
jgustafson

When it comes to price you can???t compare a tablet pc with an ipad. When you compare a device you must compare similar technology. Because of the innovation of technology we have much smaller and faster processors and hard drives today. So when a vendor like Samsung and apple make a tablet pc then compare them. You will see what the others are talking about when they say Apple is too high on price. Apple is always higher on price compared to any vendor in the same category as they are. This works for a bit if you???re the only guy on the block with this latest craze but not when others are playing the game and just as well I might add. It???s like going to buy a mac book and a laptop. Similar technologies all the same parts and apple???s mac book will cost you much more money. For what I might add there are no differences between an apple and an IBM compatible computer now. They use the same part inside and a different OS. Is the OS worth 400 or more for the Mac? My opinion is not.

cant_drive_55
cant_drive_55

Everything MS does has to be reverse engineered into the Enterprise. What an albatross. Treat tablets like they did XBox and they might just have a chance. Nah, nevermind...

dlovep
dlovep

The problem in Windows' family is, it try to include everything vs Apple's just the OS, than if you want any function(apps) you buy seperately. Clearly the marketing concept is different and result in different situation. Portability and Usability, when a 2 years old pick up the Ipad, it's just a toy the kid will treat. My 3 years old can play games/word processing/spreadsheet/on line/chat MSN on Windows no problem, does it mean anything? Depends on how you see it, but clearly it's not a functional point to discuss. Android is a rising star, but will it result as Linux vs Microsoft vs Apple, if Apple talking about Perfection, Microsoft would be Business, and Android would be Gamers. It does brought back those most valueable 2D games rather than graphics it's all about the idea.

adornoe
adornoe

While it may be true that the iPad is the "leader" at the moment, the market is fairly new in the sense that it has been "redefined" with the new form factor. This is a market which is still in it's early stages, and, if the past in technology is an indicator, what is the leader today, can become an "also-ran" or a "has-been" fairly quickly. It's the same with the netbook competition of a few years ago, when everybody thought that Linux, because it was the initial OS included with that form factor, and because it had a huge lead initially, that Windows on netbooks had fallen behind and that Microsoft had dropped the ball. A few months later, Microsoft took the lead from Linux and people don't even mention Linux on a netbook anymore. Same thing can happen with the tablet market. A market takes a long time to settle, even if one brand takes a huge initial lead. iPhone was a big hit when it first came out, and everybody initially thought that it would be hard to displace it from the lead, but, a couple of years later, iPhone is behind Android, and it's also making some headway against iPad. One thing is for sure, and that is that, one cannot bet on predictions in the tech field. Far too often, those predictions prove to be wrong. And, when it comes to technology, Microsoft might be behind at the moment in the tablet market, but, the market is one that is still fairly new, and Microsoft will, without a doubt, be in for the long-haul, and because they have to. My own take on the matter is that (this is not a prediction, btw), within two years, the tablet market will have been turned upside down and the current leaders will have been turned into just "another set of choices". With the power and money and expertise behind Microsoft, counting them out is a very risky proposition for the current "leaders".

moondookie
moondookie

this guy hit it out of the park with this article. de as his finger on the pulse - no pun.. ; o)

cedric.tanga
cedric.tanga

MS has lost it's vision. They are like a lollie producer, same lollie, slight flavour change and wrapper. The iPad is a larger version of the iPod/iPhone with a greater viewing screen. More importantly it is roughly the size of and functions like a normal A4 writing pad that one would carry or like a buisiness diary. The real benefits is it's versitility. It's a notebook, reader, movie platform, game machine, communicator, work horse. Where does that fit into a lollie factories vison?

Apuck
Apuck

M$ Tablet flat out has been a failure from the first time I saw one 10 years ago I told my boss then it was a $2500 paper weight. I really love what apple has done with the iPad and the Google tablet and my choice is the Android Tablets just because I can do what I want with it. I believe the future will fit in your hand the Motorola Atrix will probably be a tablet killer in my opinion and I know that opinions are like a holes everyone has one. Me and my boss were sitting around talking about the future of Technology 2-3 years ago and he looked at me and told me "You wait and see 10 years from now you will have a phone that will be your computer your mp3 player everything wrapped up into one small device that you take home you dock it into your computer you take it to work and it will come up as your computer it will do it all" and remember this was when the iPod touch was just coming out. The Atrix is not the device but it is the way tech is heading the whole thing is someone needs to make a standard for this where no matter what phone you buy you can Dock it with any Dock. I don't care if Motorola makes the money for the patent but all the Android phones need to jump on this band wagon or else it will be a waist of time and money till this happens

eboyhan
eboyhan

MS is facing the same problem that bedeviled IBM, DEC, SUN, Compaq (just to name few). As you become successful and grow larger with a few products, you need every year to generate more and more revenue to pay the ever larger group of employees needed to service ever more customers. Marketing types respond to this by looking for "low hanging fruit" which is often found in the enterprise space. Often what happens is these large important customers have large complex environments that need many many diverse enhancements to your existing products. The result is that more and more of your resources are tied to this "improvement" treadmill. Ultimately, you can't continue the growth spiral, and the company collapses. Of the above named only IBM saved themselves (by the skin of their teeth) by turning themselves into a consulting company. It's very hard for companies to be anything other than 1-trick ponies. Think Xerox, Kodak (Xerox was the high flying darling of the 60's -- where are they today; digital killed the film business for Kodak; Polaroid is gone too). The counter example is 3M: year after year they continue to crank out "little" innovations (from scotch tape to post-its). Corning glass is another.

bgrimsle
bgrimsle

To the poster that seems to have concluded Microsoft and IBM are "failures": IBM: Fourth-quarter hardware revenue climbed 21 percent to $6.3 billion, as the mainframe introduced in July helped boost sales in that product category by almost 70 percent. Sales from the software division gained 7 percent to $7 billion. Net income for the quarter increased 9.2 percent to $5.26 billion from $4.81 billion, or $3.59 a share, a year earlier. (And, no, this wasn't "tax avoidance", geez!) Microsoft: Microsoft Corp., the world???s largest software maker, said second-quarter profit topped analysts??? estimates as corporate customers bought more Office and server programs and consumers purchased Xbox Kinect motion sensors. Net income was $6.63 billion, or 77 cents a share, compared with $6.66 billion, or 74 cents, a year earlier, Microsoft said today in a statement. Sales rose 4.9 percent to $20 billion. Yeah, you're right, these companies are massive failures.

Ian R
Ian R

Don't you just hate having to use and update the security software on Windows devices? And even if one uses security software one still gets hit with some poor code that slugs the system. That's one other big reason why I wouldn't want a MS Windows alternative to my iPad. When Microsoft can walk away from that whole infection-prone system then they may have a chance of being able to survive the sea-change that's happening. But can you wait that long?

kpdriscoll
kpdriscoll

Sure size, price speed, ease-of-use are all factors, but "mobile" is about instant accessibility. Touch the button, its working now. No getting a cup of coffee while its booting. Not even skipping a beat in your conversation. Button push - ready-to-use. Done.

SteveUYS
SteveUYS

What puts me off the iPad (apart from the fact that it is an Apple product) is the price. It is 4 times the price of an Android alternative. I haven't got or used either but based on my experience of Android on my phone I seriously doubt the iPad is 4x better than the competition. Android phones grew by 888.8% in 2010 (compared with iPhones 1. some odd percent). The writing is on the tablet.

jgustafson
jgustafson

Microsoft has lived in a vacuum for many years. They had the attitude that if we build it and make it what we want they will buy it. I say with the flop of Vista they found that producing something that the end user wants and is functional at the same time is the key. The more cool things you can do on the same devices will drive its sale. Watch movies, play my music, get me to my destination with turn by turn, make a phone call, post on facebook, read email, listen to the radio, unlock and start my car, unlock and disarm the alarm in my house well controlling the heat and lights. This is all now capable on one device and when it is portable and links with your car as an entertainment system you can save a lot of green by buying one device. Who needs to pay 3800.00 for a built in navigation system and entertainment package in your new car when you can dock the ipad. The war is not over but the more vendors that make these devices to do all this will drive the price down on a pretty cool multifunctional device. The one thing that Apple does wrong every time is hurt our pocket book so much. Their computer market share did not take off like they hoped because it cost a lot of green to own an apple. If they bring the price down on ipad???s as more similar devices come out they will stay on top. If they don???t compete on price then other vendors will create a similar device and price it 200 bucks lower and eventually leave apple in the dust. Like the computer market

Sensor Guy
Sensor Guy

They never saw it coming. Better start playing financial games with foreign exchange rates and innovative tax avoidance like IBM and go into the consulting business.

granvillea
granvillea

The factual errors alone in this commentary are too many to mention. Like many MS centric writers you make erroneous assumptions or statements out of hand and apparently without even a modicum of research. The first Pad or Tablet devices were the Apple Newton and then the various Palm Devices, Microsoft as almost always was both very late to the party and then tried to kludge their Windows Be-All, End-All OS into a device which they never either understood or analyzed how people might actually use it. Steve Jobs actually was forced out at Apple largely for trying to prevent Apple from releasing the Newton as he recognized the technology was too immature and the cost factors were too high for widespread adoption and John Scully (the then CEO of Apple) in a show of amazing hubris forced the co-founder of Apple out in a power play that almost destroyed the company. There are many issues with Steve Jobs, he is egocentric, driven, convinced that his way is the only way and often unable to see alternative points of view - But and this is the key factor in Apple's success since Steve's return - He is unrelenting in demanding an extraordinary customer experience, in not releasing a "good enough" product, but waiting until it is actually "Right". How many years were there rumors of a coming Apple Tablet device, and how many years did Jobs and Apple not pull the trigger. Steve demanded if not perfection, then at least extraordinary performance, design, usability, stability and as in almost all Apple products the "It Just Works" factor. As long as Microsoft is able to continue to leverage their monopoly power with Windows (and Office which is a monopoly solely because MS was able to leverage control of Windows to consistently break competing products during Office's formative years prior to its achieving market domination) and they remain the cash cows they are, Microsoft may never be forced to actually build products that "Just Work". And the entire IT world will continue to suffer with OS bloat and watching as all the new, faster, more powerful hardware capabilities are eaten up by the demands of a voracious Operating System that gobbles ever more resources, becomes ever larger and less elegant and never really allows users to benefit from the ever more powerful machines on their desktops.

jmac601
jmac601

Was Microsoft ever successful at anything they didn't steal or reverse engineer from someone else...all the way back to DOS?

blarman
blarman

Microsoft lost the tablet war because of two things: technology and timing. First, their technology was based on an operating system that has been hashed and rehashed for 15 years and that wasn't ever made for the human input device. All the windows-based tablets tried to force the user into substituting a stylus for a mouse, yet failed to eliminate the context menus that access many things. Add the stability problems on top of that of Windows CE, and you had a huge debacle. Microsoft's unwillingness to abandon Windows as the platform choice and start over made it so they were constantly trying to paint over and modify the tank they were using to make it seem like a sports car - a venture that they refused to admit was impossible. Their second problem was that they spent so much time in these endeavors (and in internal political machinations) that they lost the window of opportunity. Now they are playing a VERY distant third fiddle to Apple and Google. Microsoft's failure to get into the mobile device line in force was also primarily a technological one: they refused to acknowledge that mobile devices require a different style of use - one for which Windows is particularly maladroit. I for one am glad that this is forcing Microsoft to rethink their approach to computers. I believe that Microsoft still has a lot to offer, but their penchant for forcing consumers to do things their way has been the stumbling block of IBM (Token Ring), Novell (IPX/SPX) and other companies. When Microsoft finally acknowledges that they need to conform to the consumer and not try to force the consumer to conform to them, they will once again begin to make traction.

sirniyi
sirniyi

Its very shocking how a company like microsoft can't work out what customer's preferences are for over ten years. Should the need a new consumer insight director, am very much available. Iits better to start again than loose out for longer. My email address is: muadka@yahoo.com

DSG7
DSG7

The only reason why Apple have "won" the tablet war is because they released something viable first, and most have considered it a done deal at that point. Lets not consider that everyone will copy the elements of the iPad that people liked and release contenders, meaning that Apple have only won a tablet battle (who establishes the market and has the main share first), and fired the first few shots in a tablet war. I laughed when I read "In short, Apple leaves you envisioning yourself using the device, while Microsoft and its partners leave you wondering what the heck the device actually does" - at best I've found that "In short, Apple leaves you envisioning yourself using the device, while ... leav[ing] you wondering what the heck the device actually does", while at worst I've found little reason for the iPad whatsoever. From my experiences only, I would add an extra point to why Apple are winning; "Dumb it down" - the iPad can, while doing "lots", can only do so much; the app store predominantly has games and other recreational activities, rather than business-centric, high-grade applications that would seriously drive content creation. I'm not saying there aren't any business apps, just there are more games than business apps, and what's there doesn't seem as powerful as those you can get in a non-tablet solution. The main drive for the iPad from consumer to business use is the consumer wants to play his games at work, and usually wants an excuse to bring his iPad into meetings. The commercial director where I work recently bought iPads for himself and the owner. My tasks entailed getting their emails, a powerpoint presentation and some photos on both iPads, and putting a racing game on the owner's iPad. The iPads have been on customer visits and are currently at an expo; they have not and are not being used to take notes, plan meetings, organise calendars, compose emails or other work documents, because I have seen the customer contact reports written on paper on their desks, their calendars pinned to the wall and the request to create all their presentations and spreadsheets land on any desk other than their own. They cannot drive around Le Mans at >60mph during a meeting with a pad of paper, however.

Ian Wright
Ian Wright

"the average person with real work to get done or that same person who wants a device that lets them watch a movie, take notes in a meeting, and share a presentation. In short, Apple leaves you envisioning yourself using the device" Excellent piece. This is what Apple does better than anyone - it delivers products that enable ordinary folk with real needs to do real things. Yes, they are locked into a tight infrastructure, frustrate the 'roll your own' people and often come up with spec's that are short of the technology leaders. But they deliver accessible, usable and elegantly classy solutions that work for many people. Their products typically empower people just like your Mum who (with respect) wouldn't know a usb port from a wombat (perhaps I underestimate your Mum). Apple products may not be for everyone but they are right for a hell of a lot of people so we are fortunate to have choice if we don't like the Apple control agenda. Don't resent Apple's success, acknowledge it and choose something else.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

Others may be using the full Windows-capable tablets that have been available for ten years now--but note that it was still on a cart. Why? Considering that new tablets are lighter and easier to carry and have the ability to connect to a network wirelessly, the kind of integration you describe is eminently feasible. The iPad is already starting to demonstrate this kind of integration at least partially due to the fact that medical apps and plug-in devices are already available for the iPhone. On the other hand, Windows Phone 7 may have an advantage with that integration, if Microsoft can get a real product out on the market before Android again floods the market. Android, meanwhile, has not been able to get around certain security issues that are preventing it from becoming widely adopted in the enterprise environment. Nokia and RIM have a strong claw-hold on this market, but iOS has shoved a steel-toed boot through the door into the enterprise while both of them have had difficulty at best invading the consumer market. Android's only market worth speaking of at the moment is the consumer one, and again that is more due to price than any superiority in capability. So far, it is no better than iOS though I will also say it's not any worse, either; not any more. However, it's also not yet a mature platform and needs more work before the enterprise can embrace it with any kind of felicity.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

Many independent reviewers have noted that to get a PC with the same reliability and performance as a Mac, you either have to build it yourself, or pay just as much off the shelf; but this article is not about the Mac. As yet, nobody has a tablet device on the market with the same performance and user experience as the iPad for the same price. You can find cheaper tablets running Android 2.1/2.2 that claim the same specs but fail in operational consistency one way or another, or you can find more expensive tablets that run Android 3.0 but are smaller and priced higher. So far, only Samsung seems to be giving Apple a genuine run for its money by bringing out one or two similarly-sized tablets scheduled to run Android 3.0 and priced just a fraction below Apple's iPad for approximately similar specs. However, initial reviews of the new Samsun tablets indicate that whereas the iPad feels like a solid tool, the Galaxy Tab feels flimsy and toy-like. They also indicate that while Android 3.0 Honeycomb is a significant upgrade from 2.2, it still has an 'unfinished, beta feel' to it, unlike the iPad's ready-to-go-just-turn-it-on feel. While I will admit I haven't used an Android tablet of any stripe as yet, the reviews so far seem to indicate that they will only surpass the iPad in sales when they can pull the price below Apple's unexpectedly-low price for the technology. With each new product Apple releases, it seems they catch their competition by surprise by either offering a lower price or a significant leap ahead of existing devices of the type. They did it with the iPod, the iPhone and now the iPad. Nobody's been able to compete with the iPod for usability, Android is only competing by price (at 2-4-1 for less than $50 vs $200) on the smart phone and so far Android hasn't made much of a mark in the tablet market because they can't beat the price/quality combination. Yes, Android will probably jump ahead eventually if they can pull the costs down enough to make a profit at a lower price, but until then, the playing field appears pretty level and Apple is holding its own.

MacNewton
MacNewton

" The counter example is 3M: year after year they continue to crank out "little" innovations (from scotch tape to post-its). Corning glass is another." You Missed the Big one! APPLE , and it's not just "little" innovations, but big life changing product that's change the way we do things! Q&A Question: Who said. "one more thing" Answer: Steve Jobs Question: Who said. " How do you turn this thing on" Answer: Steve Ballmer ( Developer, Developer . Developer )

camcost
camcost

I use a Mac at work, Windows at home, Android on my phone, and other systems on older devices. Guess which one gets all the virus and other garbage? Yep, Windows. Takes me hours (sometimes days) to get it back to normal.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

While I won't necessarily argue your Android 888.8%, I won't necessarily accept it either. On the other hand, I will flatly argue your iPhone since it grew by 100%+ in that same one-year period, just as it did the year before and the year before that. Yes, Android phones are selling fast, but the main reason they're doing so has nothing to do with their abilities, but rather their average pricing starting at half the price of an iPhone and going down. Very few Android phones sell at $200+ while the vast majority sell at $100 or less. Even now, you can watch commercials offering an Android phone at 'Buy-One-Get-One' prices while you never see an iPhone on an offer like that. As for tablets, I've only heard of one tablet actively selling for less than an iPad, and that one tablet really doesn't seem to be making any impact on Apple's sales or the tablet market in general. Very few people, almost all techies, even know it exists. Does this really imply a better, more usable product? Yes, Android is coming--if Microsoft doesn't manage to kill it first.

camcost
camcost

Your comment is not based on any fact. I should know... I've owned three Android tablets. This past year has surprised many people in that they had expected Android to deliver cheaper alternatives to the iPad. Most of the Android tablets which have surfaced at a lower price have been extremely buggy devices from China. These cheap tablets aren't real competition in any conceivable fashion to the iPad. I've had two shipped in from China... just to save a buck! They perform poorly. But there have been a couple Android tablets which do come close to competing with the iPad in terms of quality. And guess what??? They cost more than the iPad does!! To Apple's credit, they have given us a device which cannot be beat in the $500 price range. One year later and there's still little true competition. (((why would anyone give this a minus vote when all it is doing is correcting misinformation?)))

jhinkle
jhinkle

Google and Apple definitely made a good change by deciding to build OS's that requires less resources. It's possible that as time moves forward Microsoft might recognize this and try to make some changes in the OS they try and run on future tablet/phone products. If nothing else it would be nice to see Microsoft try and be a little more like *nix. To build a system that can be stripped down and used effectively on other products, but not take away it's ability to install and run things that a normal install would be able to do. I'm not going to hold my breath as I say this though. I've seen it just like everyone else, computer hardware gets amazingly faster and MS manages to use everything the systems got at boot. I guess Windows 7 used less resources than Vista, but that's not saying much considering that Vista was actually worse than ME.

camcost
camcost

Basically correct info, but it should be noted (to Microsoft's credit) that industrial grade tablets entered the scene much around the same time as the Newton did. They were huge, bulky, heavy pieces of equipment used greatly in hospitals and warehouses. Several years after Newton's heyday and before introducing the Windows Tablet PC, Microsoft tried again by introducing the HPC WinCE tablets. They had much promise but were killed by pricetags that were too high and competed with laptops. I was an early adapter and owned several Newtons, HPCs, Tablet PCs, etc. You are correct in stating that the technology 20 years ago just couldn't cut it. The concept was fantastic but the hardware wasn't able to deliver. I had hoped for an Apple tablet in the 1990s but with hindsight, I'm sure it wouldn't have been much of a device.

cant_drive_55
cant_drive_55

Maybe MS should look in the mirror and finally decide they are a software company. I know it pales in comparison, but look what the Angry Birds guys have made on a silly game! If MS would just leverage Android and iOS tabs to run their back office programs, they could make Billions and sustain the life of their O/S divisions for years. Tick, tick, tick...

ghop
ghop

It is a very precise statement you made! (Managers at MS shall realize how to conform the customers)! I am not an Apple user, and using Windows only on my corporate notebook - I still vote for LINUX over all, but I always admitted that Apple's marketing strategy, vision and implementations are "just cool and sexy", a.k.a. superior to Microsoft if viewed from customer perspective. It is foolish to argue that iPad didn't blew the market because it did - even with no real ground breaking tech specs, but with how Apple marketed it to customers, and yes, with all the things said before in this thread (ease of use, price, etc.) However Apple won the first battle, there are several strong upcoming competitors (like Notion Ink with their ADAM). I hope the race between the big boys (Apple, MS, Samsung, etc) and the upcomers (like Notion Ink) will be tough, and it will result in more and more value to the customers, by releasing products that focus on what the users really need!

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

You aren't tech-savvy enough to know better than to post your e-mail address in the clear.

DSG7
DSG7

My views are in all likelihood too narrow, and I do have a pre-existing bias against Apple products. I did have my caveat in my opening post, as I'm aware that my experiences will colour my interpretation. Its nice to hear about the Mercedes dealership using it in a business sense to such a large degree; it helps me see that the iPad is working in business. Being in the UK, this hasn't really happened; I notice that the replies are coming from Australia and the US, so there could be a different dynamic for IT uptake to that seen in the UK. My low knowledge of users could possibly indicate the usefulness for people in my area - people have either looked at the iPad and said "why?", or I simply don't see them using it because of its overall utility for them being limited. Outside of the two iPads bought for my colleagues, I know a further 2 people who own iPads; A friend who pre-ordered from the states because he is a bleeding-edge IT nut - it so far has less usage than his iPhone and his behemoth of a PC, other than managing his monthly RPG sessions. A friend who works as a personal trainer and was interested in the various health/gym/training apps - I heard his difficulties printing off training programs all the way to the gym after he bought it, and on a night out we ended up using his satnav because it was easier for him to use when driving (he couldn't stick the iPad to the windscreen :) ). I have, bar the first few times, never seen these two friends using their iPads. Perhaps if I and my friends had the experience everyone else is having of the iPad, then my view would be different, but I can only go off what I know, which is underutilisation and problems. Perhaps people looking for a tablet solution for things they didn't necessarily consider a problem, to improve an everyday task would also help - my mum quite happily uses a pen and a piece of scrap paper for her shopping list, which then fits in her purse and isn't a big deal if she loses it going around the supermarket, but if the iPad could beat that portability, utility and price... I have difficulty getting up on a morning, even though my phone acts as my alarm clock, but if the iPad could beat that on portability, utility and price... I can securely browse any website I wish to view, or play high-end graphics, performance-hungry games, or write documents, work on spreadsheets, create presentations etc. on my PC, without having to sync it with anything, without having issues printing things off, having issues viewing certain websites because they use flash, etc. but if the iPad could beat that on portability, utility and price... I understand that all the situations I can list are simply that; situations, one-off events that don't encompass everything the iPad can be - the iPad can actually beat every situation above for at least one of the "portability, utility and price" criteria, but it doesn't beat all three every time. I can't see much in my life that I'm not happy using existing technology for, and it is the same with those who I know that have an iPad; they can't see it as useful beyond the one or two situations that it is a "nice to have" for, which leads it to be an expensive shelf ornament. Apple would need to sort out communications and connectivity issues before it made more sense to me and those around me, but by then there will be an alternative from a competitor - they are playing catch-up, yes, but they are catching up.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

Your points are quite valid, but you appear to overlook the point that the iPad is not intended to be a replacement for a full-powered computer, but rather a supplemental device that lets you be productive at times you normally can't. It's not intended to replace your desktop computer, but it can do most of what laptops currently do--carry the data to the meeting, customer or remote location and allow you to present or edit that data. It can serve as a photographer's image storage device while also allowing him to preview those images to his customers on site. A writer getting a spur-of-the-moment concept can jot it down and even expound on it even when he doesn't have room to set a laptop down, though I admit trying to touch-type on such a sensitive device tends to induce errors. But a tablet can do much more as well. A salesman at a car dealership could instantly access inventory to help his customer find just the car they want, then close the deal on the same device all the way through the negotiations and filling out the paperwork--printing out the final contract for signatures. This is already being done by every Mercedes dealership in the US and others are adopting the concept. I don't deny that the tablet can also offer entertainment; most people are using it for that purpose already. But the tablet can do far more than most people seem to believe. The reason you don't see that many pro-grade apps is that we're getting an all-new cadre of software developers creating the apps they, themselves would prefer to use with only limited offerings coming from the big software publishing houses. You'll slowly see more pro-grade apps coming on board, but these will come from the new developers gaining experience as much as the commercial houses adapting or creating tablet apps.

camcost
camcost

Yep. You said it. You are too anti-Apple. I'm a tablet user for the past 12 years. This allows me to see the many holes in your argument.

Ian Wright
Ian Wright

I'd hardly call a sample of two definitive. In my workplace I've seen iPads revolutionize the activity of senior managers who now deal in large volumes of documents electronically, annotate these documents during meetings, make notes for future reference, access document repositories while travelling, manage email etc. etc. all in a quite small package that runs for at least a day on one charge and is instantly on when needed. Yes, they could carry laptops but why would they in this context? Tablets like the iPad simply make more sense to them. I doubt if there's a game on a single one. I don't have an iPad other than access to one for evaluation purposes. I don't need/want one myself with a desktop and a laptop but I don't deny they are perfect for many users. There's absolutely no wondering about what this device does... these users are very clear and enthusiastic advocates for how it enables them to do stuff better than they could ever do it before. I suspect you are too anti-Apple; extrapolating from a very limited experience base to reinforce a pre-exising bias.

Apuck
Apuck

Corning only invented and Fiber optic cables and still the largest producer of Fiber Optic cables and other Fiber Optic Devices. They makes the whole internet thingymabob possible because of what they do or you and I would still be connecting at 56k. The display on and iPad, iPod and just about every other LCD is thanks to Corning I don't know if they are using Corning's but it is a highly possibility. Please don't be some Apple zealot look at all the great technology out there and be happy that the competition between Apple and Android will only give us better products and a better price and someday Microsoft, Palm, Black Berry will all pull there heads out of there rectums and make this a real competition for our Dollar but yes you are correct Steve Jobs is a genius when he cannot run Apple anymore Apple will sadly slip back to the Macintosh of the 90's. Where instead of being an innovator of Technology they are just a company charging way to much to there loyal faithful followers for products everyone else makes better and Cheaper. Hopefully Steve has made a notebook full of all of his ideas to keep Apple running after he is gone. Hopefully he lives a long time and leads Apple to prosperity because everyone else loves stealing his ideas and making money off of them.

Alpha_Dog
Alpha_Dog

Why put up with Windows and malware in your home environment where you should be kicking back? Sounds like a situation where you go to work to detank from your weekend!

Alpha_Dog
Alpha_Dog

MS couldn't do any worse than what they already have, right? His email security is his problem... he'll learn.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

@someplace tends to look better than @nonnameemail.com

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

I am interested in your friend who's using it to manage his RPG; could you perhaps mention what applications he uses? (Of course, this assumes you're still following this thread.)

Alpha_Dog
Alpha_Dog

Have a look at ubuntu. Not going to evangelize or anything like it, but we use it in the office and at home. One of the office users is a 50 year old grandma who was non-technical. My daughter snickers derisively at her school's IT guy struggling with viruses Under Windows, taking great joy in informing him that her daddy doesn't have these problems... I tell her to be kind, but I have told him how to fix nearly every issue he ends up with and he won't listen. He deserved a 14 year old with the knowledge of an A+ laughing at him.

camcost
camcost

I've purchased eight Macs over the years. Love them!! No doubt they're the best computer around. BUT... They're no longer priced within my limited budget. I also drive an inexpensive car even though there's much better cars for much higher prices. I can't afford them. Apple might have won the quality race but they in no way compete in the value for dollar race.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

... Though I admit I still don't see raw numbers. 888.8% of 3.9 is 34.632, not 22.7. I'd really need to see raw sales numbers to confirm or contradict the statement.

DSG7
DSG7

He started off with a dice rolling program he already had on his iPhone, and Evernote to organise plot threads with pictures. I've not had much contact with him past a few months ago, so he might have started using some of the more "dedicated" RPG apps out there (googled and found the Dungeon Master Toolkit for general GMing, iAnnotate for pdf manipulation and iThoughtsHD for mindmapping adventures). Most of the games we were playing were either Call of Cthulhu or Dark Heresy, which means most of the D&D apps were irrelevant. Has to be said though, most of what he did was on his PC, then sync'd through Evernote to his iPad, and at the time us adventurers were Pen & Papering it and rolling our own dice. It was mostly a "this is the demon you'll be fighting..." (turns iPad, shows picture), or "my demon rolls..." (uses dice app) kind of tool.