Prediction: Microsoft will dominate the tablet market

Allow me to make an easy prediction: Windows will dominate the tablet market.

To some people this will sound like a bold prediction. We've been exposed to an unprecedented flow of hype about one particular product in this marketplace: the iPad. I decided to write this post as a reaction to the latest slew of blog posts about iPad and Microsoft's corresponding strategy. So, I ask you to step back from the hype for a few moments to get some perspective, while we take a calm, rational look at the current state of play.

Apple practically conceived the tablet market single-handedly when they launched the iPad, creating genuine consumer demand in key marketplaces around the world through one of the most aggressive marketing campaigns ever witnessed by mankind, and that campaign is still ongoing -- it's almost impossible to miss.

Why will Microsoft dominate the tablet market? The answer is as simple as it is obvious. Windows will continue to dominate, for the same reasons it has always dominated the PC and laptop market and continues to do so, by a wide margin.

For starters, in truth, Windows is a good product. Almost every PC and laptop in almost every business and home on the planet is powered by Windows, and Windows 7 has been the fastest-selling OS of all time. There are good reasons for the success of Windows. Those who would disagree with this presumably must consider themselves more intelligent than the majority of companies and other individual users. In my opinion, the user is not stupid; far from it. To deny the inevitable outcome of the extraordinary momentum behind Windows is, literally, to be in denial

This year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2011) was a landmark event for the tablet market. The opening keynote presentation was delivered by Microsoft's chief exec, and in it he showed-off some genuinely impressive hardware from a variety of manufacturers -- most notably a new generation of tablets running Windows 7. I watched the live video stream online, and knew there and then that my first tablet device would be the Asus Eee Slate, a full-power Windows 7 PC in tablet form, which is available to buy right now at a reasonable price. On my tablet device I need to run real, serious software like Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Adobe CS3, Photoshop, real PC games, a real web browser like IE9 or Firefox, etc -- maybe even all at once if I want to! I won't be able to download the "Tilting Beer Glass" iPad app, but that's honestly not a problem. I often hear of friends and folks online who purchased an iPad but soon abandoned it. Despite what they say on the TV ads, iPad is little more than a kid's toy, a gimmick. Apple pioneered the tablet market and must have invested millions in marketing to pave the road, but there's no victory in showing-up early when you've brought a knife to a gun-fight. [Incidentally, Apple didn't even show up to CES -- they simply weren't there. I did see a headline claiming that Apple drew attention away from CES with some PR stunt or other, but I never heard what that stunt was so evidently the headline in question was overstating the case somewhat.]

As one tech blogger acknowledged recently, "it's fair to say that Apple did not design the iPad for the world of enterprise". Well, that's an understatement, and it's one example among many blog posts interpreting certain Microsoft activities as being a strategy to "fight against iPad in the enterprise". I hope these bloggers will forgive me for challenging this popular view. Let's not pretend that iPad is even in the enterprise! We could debate the semantics of this and compare random statistics reported by Apple. But it's useful to consider iPad's position in the enterprise with reference to that of Microsoft's products, which are wide in range, integrated, and most importantly ubiquitously distributed throughout the world and present in abundance in most homes and workplaces. Microsoft products, including Windows, certainly are there in the enterprise, big time, where they are well-established and extremely successful. And Microsoft's reach is by no means limited to the enterprise. Meanwhile, buried within the tsunami of hype emanating from iPad, are sober individual commentators/commenters who quietly question iPad myths, point out that claims about iPad's market share are a myth in real workplaces, and express real-life concerns about iPad security.

Let me make another obvious prediction. The iPad can never replace people's laptops and PCs, or even make much of an impact in these markets, because it simply does not even begin to have the same capabilities -- not even close.

Over the next few months and years, as people upgrade or replace their existing laptops at the usual rate, or buy their next new gadget, a proportion of these consumers will try a tablet. And generally these people won't choose to waste their money on downgrading to a much less useful product. Don't underestimate the common-sense and of the masses. The migration of some users from Windows laptops to Windows tablets is a natural evolutionary step.

So Microsoft has already won the tablet war, and they have barely even started. There's already talk of phones running real full operating systems. As Intel recently reported, mobile phones running Windows 8 are already possible (yes, a full, true OS on a phone!) using their new generation of microchip technology, sparking rumours that full-power PC phones are already in the pipeline...

The tablet market may never have a big impact on hardware trends in consumer and enterprise computing overall (seeing beyond the disproportionately prolific hysteria generated by Apple's PR hype). But whatever happens, it's clear that computer software in the foreseeable future will be dominated by Microsoft just as it is now.

26 January 2011

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Tim Acheson (26 Jan 11, 14:40)

A closer look at the iPad hype

There seem to be iPad stories in the news almost daily, such is the buzz, but on closer inspection the individual stories are trivial. A small but influential clique of blogs (e.g. Mashable) and newspapers (e.g. The Guardian) have adopted a mindset in which any story mentioning Apple or Google is automatically newsworthy, no matter how insignificant – manifestly a fallacy. These commentators actively foster an assumption that Apple and Google are implicitly cool and trendy and can do no wrong. Unfortunately, amid the obsession with the Apple/Google axis, most major and interesting stories in the tech sector are overlooked, leaving readers with a distorted view of the industry. (E.g. Yesterday when the Apple store went down, numerous tech blogs immediately disseminated a rumour that this was somehow a signal that a white iPhone was about to be launched. As usual, the rumour originated from within the Apple community, an “Apple insider" – a blatant PR stunt but certain people eagerly took the bait as usual. The rumour quickly turned out to be untrue. Observe the double-standards of reporting from these Apple/Google-biased sources. If a Microsoft service went down, there would be no such excitement and any coverage would criticise the failure. If Nokia offered an existing handset in a slightly different shade, colour or shape, there would be no headline and Tweets about it.)

Every company these days seems to want an iPad “App", and although they could reach many more users with an app on a more popular platform like Nokia, they know an iPad app will attract a disproportionately high level of interest. Apple has invested in creating a media buzz bandwagon, onto which others can hop and take their own brand presence for a free ride. It's also a popular way for middle-aged and aging dinosaur boss's to try and look cool and “down with the kids".

Apple's PR machinery is so powerful, they actually given the term “app" a new meaning in the public imagination. You could be forgiven for believing that Apple invented the concept of software applications (“apps") installed on a base OS. I've sometimes jokingly parodied this misuse of the term by denoting it “AppleTM. But it's no longer a joke – Apple is now seriously trying to trademark the term “App"! But the “Apps" available for iPhone/iPad/iOS and Android are so basic, they're little more than gimmicks. An “App" typically just duplicates content and functionality that's already available on the website. Having said that, it's easy to understand why Apple is so keen to promote Apps when there's usually a perfectly good website available. The web browser on Apple's mobile devices has important limitations (e.g. it can't run browser plug-ins like Flash/Silverlight/Java which are a key component on many major websites) -- you can't get the real web on the iPad or any of Apple's mobile devices.

Tim Acheson (26 Jan 11, 14:40)

Expanding on the success of the Windows OS

Windows has been the victim of its own success – Windows XP was so good, nobody needed to upgrade to Vista. Bear in mind that Win XP was launched in 2001 – it's a decade old, and still a viable and widely used OS. IE suffered a similar fate. Microsoft's rivals and their fan communities love to hate IE6 and routinely criticise and complain about it. But remember, it's ten years old! And yet, IE6 is still widely used. Just recently the British government announced that there are no plans for the public sector in the UK to upgrade their web browsers. That's why many web developers still have to support IE6. Thankfully, IE9 is so different and so much better, arguably the best web browser. IE8 was vastly superior to IE6, and even that's old now.


Dude, put the crack pipe down and wake up!

Here's my prediciton - you will be eating crow pie in 12 months time.

Tim Acheson (26 Jan 11, 17:42)

Hi Jim, could you clarify the point(s) you're wanting to make? I'd love to respond to you.

It sounds like you disagree with my prediction, therefore I am inclined to conclude that you didn't read anything beyond the title of the article. That, along with the lack of specific points in your comment, would be consistent with the majority of comments posted online by folks within the anti-Microsoft camp. Please forgive me if my evaluation of your position is incorrect, I don't have much to go by.

The points I cite to support my prediction are robust. If you disagree with any of my points, I invite you to tell me which and why. Otherwise, you should accept that my prediction is based upon robust rationale. :)


Hey Tim, Im sorry but I have to disagree on this one...

The iPad already has established market dominance. Everything else is playing catchup. Along with the 'Aggressive marketing campaign' I cant see it losing its crown.

Just because all companies mostly have windows pc's doesnt mean that people who will buy tablets will buy a windows one because they use that at work...

Just because Apple didnt go to CES doesnt mean they werent there. From all the videos I saw on Engadge etc, it was iPad related tools, like arcade machines, docks, skins, covers, I can go on. So they just got free advertising with no effort. I didnt see many MS videos around the guardian or other news outlets...

The iPad last year was one of the most googled term, im sure that a large number of people are waiting for the second iPad knowing not to buy the first version of an Apple product.

MS talked about their tablet, it didnt make the news. Today a rumour that the new iPad and iPhone 'might' have wireless payments made the headlines on Global radio stations and the BBC front page. Just think of the hype it will get when it gets released

And as you know, Global are one of the first companies to use iPads in the work force. If you speak to the guys in technology, they have over 500 and they have been amazingly successful and with the integration of salesforce coming soon they will be very powerful and a step ahead.

In 12 months time, id like to know how you judge MS as the dominate force, through sales? As I think Android will be on more devices than MS within 12 months, let alone iPads...

Tim Acheson (27 Jan 11, 18:34)

Ash, thanks for your reply, those are all very good points! I think most people would agree with your assessment. I agree, myself, with most if not all of what you say.

Nobody would dispute that Apple dominates the tablet market today – there was no tablet market before iPad! In fact, there would be virtually no tablet market today without Apple’s all-out-thermonuclear-attack-500-megatonne-preemptive-strike marketing campaign!! Let me show you exactly where I am coming from, though. I’ve seen a few trending blog posts lately about "Microsoft’s strategy for the tablet market" (paraphrased). I wrote this page simply as a healthy counterweight to the prevailing view. Think of me as the devil's advocate. M$ is evil, after all, right? ;) It’s been cool to rave about the iPad for a while now, but scrutinising MS and prophesising and celebrating their painful death has been trendy for as long as I can remember! (Nevertheless, MS still dominates.)

No, I don’t envisage sales of Windows tablets eclipsing those of iPad within twelve months. And that’s not remotely what Microsoft is seeking, either. Microsoft don’t even control the number or types of Windows tablets made. There’s a new wave of tablets running Windows, like those we saw recently at CES, but Microsoft doesn't manufacture them. Microsoft isn’t building or in any real sense selling or marketing these tablets. So it’s a bit of a red-herring to portray this as Microsoft vs iPad, as many folks are doing, and meaningless to ask what strategy Microsoft has against the iPad. More accurately, it's iPad vs every other tablet on the market, many of which will run Windows. Windows 7 sells 7 copies per second and as time goes on an increasing proportion of Win7 sales will undoubtedly be tablets. That still leaves the question of how important tablets will be.

The real take-home messages I want to offer here are as follows. Microsoft will continue to dominate the software business (as well as their other key markets). Tablets will form a small but valuable part of that business, and Microsoft is claiming a significant piece of the action. As many commentators have pointed out, Microsoft is still waiting to see whether tablets will just be a passing trend. I don’t think tablets will become more popular than laptops in the near future, but if they do take off to that extent Microsoft is likely to get heavily involved, and if that happens I predict that they will eclipse Apple in tablets. Either way, Microsoft will dominate.

So, that’s what I mean when I say Microsoft can’t lose. Broadly, there are only two possible outcomes. (1) If the tablet market never succeeds to the point of catching-up with laptops and PCs, then Microsoft's position will not be greatly affected by tablets and the company will continue to dominate. (2) On the other hand, if tablets do succeed to the point where they begin to compete with laptops, we will see Windows and to a lesser extent Android rather than iOS dominate, because people generally don’t want to downgrade to a much less useful product or carry multiple devices. Either way, Microsoft dominates. Do you see what I mean? Let’s review the state-of-play about twelve-months from now, and then again another year later, and see! ;)


"On my tablet device I need to run real, serious software like Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Adobe CS3, Photoshop, real PC games, a real web browser like IE9 or Firefox"

For me you can add Windows Live Writer and Messenger to that list.

I looked at an iPad once and was very impressed by its aesthetics - didn't take me long to realise it doesn't do very much of what I need a computer to do.

Brett Gilbertson (29 Jan 11, 01:44)

As a tablet PC user for 8 years (I now sell tablet pcs for a living) I can tell you that you are sooo right. Yes, windows tablets currently do not capture consumers interest (although that is definately changing thanks to tablets like the ASUS eee slate, which is not perfect and very far from an iPad, but very interesting - enquiries are off the hook on this!). Yes, iPads are being requested in the enterprise by PHBs (pointy hair bosses for non-Dilbert readers). Yes, companies have even rolled them out on rare occasions misguidedly. They will not last.

What I can tell you is that even with the current crop of windows tablets (vastly more expensive, heavy, powerful, less battery life and did I say expensive?) I have already replaced droves of iPads with windows tablets in business.

Why? Business people bought iPad and were promised the world, but iPad failed to deliver big time.

Another thing I can tell you is that a great number of very large corporations have come to us - having evaluated iPad - to see what else is in the market. This is where the windows and android models will excel thanks to a variety of hardware choices. Ruggedised iPad, forget it... There's not "an app for that."

I have an iPad. It is very rarely used because it just won't do much of anything well in a work sense when compared to a Windows 7 tablet. As a gaming platform, it is fantastic, but I hate wasting time with gaming devices!

Tim Acheson (29 Jan 11, 11:15)

"add Windows Live Writer and Messenger to that list. I looked at an iPad once and was very impressed by its aesthetics - didn't take me long to realise it doesn't do very much of what I need" (@jamiet)

This is exactly my experience. I use iPad purely because this is one of the many platforms I want to my software and web applications to work on. iPad looks superb, and it seems to impress people, but the mobile phone I get for free with my talk plan does as much as the iPad and much more! And I don't need a phone with a giant screen; what I need is a real computer, especially for something with a footprint the size of a good laptop!

Tim Acheson (29 Jan 11, 11:22)

"As a tablet PC user for 8 years (I now sell tablet pcs for a living) I can tell you that you are sooo right ... I have an iPad. It is very rarely used because it just won't do much of anything well in a work sense when compared to a Windows 7 tablet." (@ Brett Gilbertson)

This certainly echos my own experience and that of most people I speak to. I'm often speaking to people who purchased an iPad but the same day reverted back to their existing laptop. I still see people on the train with iPads sometimes, and I like to look over their shoulders to see what they're doing. What they're doing is using very basic apps, games and reading content, all of which were already available on their mobile phone. But there's so much they can't do on an iPad that can be done on a laptop or tablet with the same footprint size or even smaller. People boast about the thin cross-section, but the fact is you cannot fit an iPad in your pocket! I could have a Windows tablet as thin as an iPad and capable of much more, but I don't mind a few extra millimiters to get the speed and performance of a full-power PC.

Tim Acheson (31 Jan 11, 11:10)

I saw a guy on the train this morning holding an iPad. He was a chubby middle-aged man, but possibly slightly too old for the mid-life crisis stage. He seemed to spend most of the time swishing through the icons on the desktop as though he'd never used a touch-screen before. Eventually he started reading a newspaper. I often read the same one on my mobile phone. The text looked huge on that giant screen. I guess iPad is ideal for the visually-impaired users, it's excellent for accessibility.

Last time I saw somebody clutching an iPad, it was a plump middle-aged lady and she had her eyes closed, apparently asleep, but she was holding it up as though it was a trophy on display or something.

Ben Acheson (31 Jan 11, 15:29)

I think your most revealing comment was, "Let's not pretend that iPad is even in the enterprise!"

Actually, let's not pretend that tablets have much of a place in the enterprise, or at least in the office or mobile-working context, where a laptop's horizontal keyboard and vertical screen make it the natural choice.

So really not only iPads but all tablets represent "little more than a kid's toy, a gimmick".

Tablet makers target executives and business owners, who arrange their tablet computers on the table at meetings, alongside their BlackBerry, iPhone, laptop, and sometimes additional devices.

Do they really use all of these devices on a regular basis? Of course not. They are status symbols and gimmicks. You only need a desktop if you're deskbound. If you're mobile you need a laptop and a smartphone. That's it.

Tim Acheson (31 Jan 11, 17:33)

Apple hype machine -- graph:

The scale of Apple's hype machine is astronomical. Apple-related hype and Spam eclipses topics which were historically the bedrock of spam and junk content online.

The term "iPhone" is mentioned more than probably the most Spammed word: "sex"! If you search Twitter for hashtags like #iPhone or #iPad and look at the accounts tweeting, it's clear that mentions of these Apple brands are predominantly posted by Spammers and Spambots (typically with hot women in the profile pic, naturally). There's literally more spam about "iPhone" than there is about "sex"! These mentions serve to promote anything that refers to Apple products -- genuine information as well as infomercials, advertorials, and outright propaganda. So it really does pay to jump on the Apple hype bandwagon.

Jeffry van der Goot (08 Feb 11, 12:43)

"For starters, in truth, Windows is a good product. Almost every PC and laptop in almost every business and home on the planet is powered by Windows, and Windows 7 has been the fastest-selling OS of all time. There are good reasons for the success of Windows. Those who would disagree with this presumably must consider themselves more intelligent than the majority of companies and other individual users."

Argumentum ad populum, much? Just because the majority of the people use a product, does not mean it is the superior product. It merely means it's the most popular one.

"Let me make another obvious prediction. The iPad can never replace people's laptops and PCs, or even make much of an impact in these markets, because it simply does not even begin to have the same capabilities -- not even close."

Just because it has more capabilities, does not make it better. A tool needs to fit a user's needs. I'd say the majority of users don't need much more than basic word processing, internet browsing and some media viewing. All these things, the iPad does.

Jeffry van der Goot (08 Feb 11, 12:44)

Not to mention that you are doing the same thing you accuse your opponents of doing. You are smarter than everyone else, because you see through Apple's PR machine.

Michael Schwartz (08 Feb 11, 14:10)

Finding people that actually think for themselves is something very rare today. I thought I was the only one seeing that tech is heading for glittering UIs and shiny apps while offering no stability reliability or evolution...

But leaving hype aside, here's one of my personal favorites: the Viliv X70 Windows 7 slate

A thing that puts me off though is the screen size. Do you think office is manageable on a 7" screen?

Tim Acheson (08 Feb 11, 14:44)

This website encapsulates much of what informed commentators are saying or privately feeling about iOS: The iPhone Fever.

Tim Acheson (08 Feb 11, 14:55)

Hi Jeff, thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. I take your point.

"Just because the majority of the people use a product, does not mean it is the superior product"

True. By the same token, when the vast majority of people use something (e.g. Windows, MS Office, etc) this doesn't mean it's not good, either. But give some credit to private users and consumers, business users and buyers. They are not all stupid, you know. Perhaps some people think they know better than everybody else?

"Just because it has more capabilities, does not make it better. A tool needs to fit a user's needs."

True. Applying basic logic, in a scientific study more features would perhaps statistically make a product more likely to fit the needs of any user or sample of users selected at random from the population. I have to concede, though, some users may be satisfied with just a very gadget, although I would advise those users not to waste their money on an iPad, it's grossly overpriced for what it offers. Fashion-victims are the one notable exception to all of this. If somebody is happy to pay an exhorbitant price for a designer label product which is fundamentally a phone with a giant screen and no way to make phonecalls, I have no rational argument against that.

"You are smarter than everyone else, because you see through Apple's PR machine."

No, I don't know of anybody who can't see the same basic facts I do, but as they say, "there's no accounting for taste".

Tim Acheson (08 Feb 11, 16:17)

@Michael Schwartz

Yes, I can certainly see your point -- Keep up the good work!

I do like the look of the Viliv X70 Windows 7 slate. It's slim and has superb specs. I could certanly manage with a 7" screen. I haven't heard much about the X70. Apart from dedicated gadget websites, the tech blogosphere seems too preoccupied with the iPad and insignificant non-stories from Apple's PR machinery to notice some of the most impressive mobile devices the world has ever seen. I've lost count of all the stories about the "mythical" new iPhone that may soon be available -- it's exactly the same as the old one but painted white. Yet when another company releases a genuinely different product (which is blatantly superior to the iPad) the bloggers haven't even heard of it. Luckily, the average consumer doesn't rely on tech blogs for their information, and they can compare gadgets and judge for themselves at their preferred retail outlet.


I'm in enterprise IT and the only mobile platform I believe is supportable in the long-term is iOS. I don't want the complexity of Windows on a mobile device. I don't want the chaos of Android with its proliferation of models and App Stores, lack of quality control and spotty OS upgrade record. iOS gives me a closed loop, user-supportable environment with enough enterprise management capability (remote wipe, profiles, etc.) to allow me to add value to my user's devices without every problem becoming my problem. Your article also glosses over the problem that Microsoft faces in that there's no easy way to avoid the confusion over whether the future of MS OS's is Windows 7 or Windows Phone 7. Apple has already decided. MS hast yet to establish the viability of Windows Phone 7. Their indecision puts them at a huge competitive disadvantage.


Pfft!


Hey Tim,

Just linked to your post through Engadget.

I'm pro MS, and I have a distaste for Apple, but it's a tricky situation. The big problem is this new definition of what a tablet is.

MS has had tablets in the market for years, but when it comes to the media the tablet was re-defined by Apple. "Tablet" has become a term used to define a highly mobile, large screen consumption device. Basically a big smartphone.

This has annoyed me to no end, but there is still a certain mindshare that this new tablet concept has. With that set of criteria, and some user ignorance that has been displayed on blog comments, I worry that Windows tablets will get rejected outright.

From my personal experience I can say that I want a Windows 7 tablet after using the iPad almost since launch. My company ordered quite a few for product testing and App development, so I got my hands on one for free.

It does have some nice features, but one issue sticks out to me. When I use my smartphone, (I have a Palm Pre) I find myself accepting the shortcomings of a mobile device. If a video doesn't load, or a webpage isn't loading correctly, I can forgive it and wait until I get to a real computer. The reasoning behind that is there is a definite trade off between convenience/portability and functionality. The problem with the iPad is that you have the same sacrifices on a much less portable device.

When Windows Phone 7 was announced, a big deal was made by bloggers when MS said that a phone is not a computer. They were happy that MS finally "got it", yet they don't apply that principle in reverse. Engadget constantly mocks MS for not putting WP7 on a tablet, but I argue that a tablet is not a phone!

When your device's screen is basically a laptop screen, it should have the same function in my opinion. Like you, I can't wait to get the Asus EP121, because I want a full robust computer. There are no excuses for websites or documents not rendering. I don't have to worry about certain file types not playing. I don't need to worry about Hulu being blocked, or downloading apps to perform basic computing functions.

I hope you are right and people wake up, but I also see what happened with the iPod and the iPhone. Apple is the trendy choice, and that might be enough to trip MS up.


What you don't seem to get is that Apple is not trying to replace your desktop or laptop. The iPad is a tablet with an OS specifically designed for touch and tablet use. In other words the tablet is meant to consume, NOT create content.

And I can assure you that you WON'T be able to use applications like adobe's suit on your 1100$ Asus ee slate.
Sure you can "open" them, but i'd love to see how you'd actually create something on it, something you'd normally create with a mouse. Not saying you can on an iPad. But Microsoft is even further away from that than Apple is. The iPad is still in it's early stages, aka it's just the 1st gen ^^ And I'm sure Apple(being a better innovator than Microsoft) will come up with ways to create content on tablet devices first. And you might state and i know you will if i'd say windows is not made for touch but okey, let's say it is. All the applications made by others aren't made for touch. For example Adobe's suite. So it'll be pretty much useless! Do you really REALLY think Microsoft is going to get away with this so easily? How could you possibly think Microsoft will lead in the tablet market if they don't have an OS specifically developed for touch? Sure it might handle the touch from a stylus(stylus wtf is that?) I know the Asus ee slate has one, why does it have one? cause otherwise you can't hit the close button on your open windows. Microsoft is not even close to Apple's infrastructure. No itunes, App stores, nothing even close to the ease of use that Apple has got when it comes to buying music, apps etc.

Don't make these kind of predictions, you know they're not true.


I completely agree with your blog post, I've kinda been biting my tongue on allot of the gadget blogs because I know what allot of people would say. For any professional who creates content the iPad isn't the ideal solution.


Microsoft will dominate tablet market the same way it "dominated" the mp3 market.

What you don't understand, is that tablets were never content creation devices. The idea of the tablet is to be a portable content consumption, with very basic content creation (like emails, photos, facebook.. etc). Tablets will never be used for productivity (office), complex video and audio creation. Why? Because they are underpowered (but that is the whole point).

Windows is simply NOT the OS to be running on tablets. Period. It's too resource demanding, too desktop oriented and too complicated for tablets. Not to mention the fact that it will be absolutely unusable on small portable screens (i've tried to use Windows on 10" touch screen... painful).

If Microsoft wants to EVEN START in tablet market, they need to develop and OS from scratch. Considering the fact that the market already has iOS, Android, WebOS (coming out), MeeGo - Microsoft is already 2 years late to the game.

The only thing they can do, is play catch up. Knowing Microsoft - they wont be able to produce. No innovation in the company.


Actually the Zune experience and Zune Pass for music has beaten any experience I have had with iTunes. It is a nice system and I cannot wait for its catelouge to expand.


Well. it's being used in ways Apple most likely didn't think of. In Sweden an air freight company is using them instead of massive folders of flight information and I bet other will follow. why because it makes pilots life easier.

I think you will see them in hospitals because it's easy to input data on the run, thank's to good battery life and connectivity. When the iPad 2 comes out it will most likely have cameras enabling Facetime for easy video. A physician could easy talk to, and show a colleague. This is just a few examples of what it could be used for.

Sad to say Microsoft is just so far behind, I think it will be extremely hard to even come close because Apple isn't standing still either.

Tim Acheson (09 Feb 11, 17:57)

@Michael

"I'm in enterprise IT and the only mobile platform I believe is supportable in the long-term is iOS. I don't want the complexity of Windows on a mobile device. I don't want the chaos of Android with its proliferation of models and App Stores, lack of quality control and spotty OS upgrade record."

I gather that you're responsible for IT at your educational institution, which I would be inclined to classify more as "academia" rather than "enterprise". But... (1) What's wrong with Windows Phone 7? (2) In what sense does a full Windows OS represent "complexity"?

"iOS gives me a closed loop, user-supportable environment with enough enterprise management capability (remote wipe, profiles, etc.) to allow me to add value to my user's devices without every problem becoming my problem."

Android is no worse than iOS in this scenario, and either Windows Phone or a full Windows OS are arguably even better than both! What you're saying sounds a lot like what I'm hearing from armchair commentators, but it sounds like you have some real-world experience. Can you give me specific examples to demonstrate your strong and generalised assertions?

"Your article also glosses over the problem that Microsoft faces in that there's no easy way to avoid the confusion over whether the future of MS OS's is Windows 7 or Windows Phone 7. Apple has already decided. MS hast yet to establish the viability of Windows Phone 7. Their indecision puts them at a huge competitive disadvantage.

No. MS has Windows and Windows Phone. Apple has Mac OS and iOS. The two companies are comparable in terms of choice. There's no "confusion" and no "indecision". Both Apple and Google have clear separate products for different scenarios. But Microsoft goes one step further and offers a full-power OS on mobile form devices for those who want it. That's the whole point -- Apple's offering for slate devices falls woefully short of what numerous hardware makers are offering or will offer with Windows 7 and 8.


"On the other hand, if tablets do succeed to the point where they begin to compete with laptops, we will see Windows and to a lesser extent Android rather than iOS dominate, because people generally don’t want to downgrade to a much less useful product or carry multiple devices."

It's very hard to see how Android is much more useful than an iOS product. I know all the hoopla about Apple controlling software, but seriously -- there are 400,000+ iOS applications. If it's not porn you can probably get something to do whatever you want, and that includes a whole lot of business software. It seems that a lot of people believe that all those apps in Apple's App Store are stupid-simple games; that hasn't been the case in years, and the iPad lit a torch under the business software people. There is a ton of business software for the iPad and more every day. Android has yet to even get started (and has a number of uphill battles to fight once they do, but that's a whole other rant).

From Microsoft's perspective, though, it doesn't matter if it's Android or iOS, either way it's not Windows. And therein lies a huge problem for them because what's driving tablet adoption is, to a high degree, price.

Microsoft has been trying to sell tablets for almost a decade. Apple came in and in nine months sold more tablets than Microsoft and its vendors did in nearly ten years. You can claim that's all the result of massive marketing but I really don't think so; Apple markets Macs heavily and that's not even close to overtaking Windows, right? So it must be something else. I think there was always a lot of pent-up demand but the products available were lousy buys. Let me illustrate what I mean.

I wanted a Windows tablet back in 2001, and planned to buy one right away after Gates talked them up ... until I found that they cost $1800+. This at a time when the same basic hardware found on one of those tablets could be had in laptop form for $1100. I had expected a price of more like $800. I continued to buy laptops instead. With only small niche market exceptions so did everyone else.

That is how it has been ever since in Windows tablet land. The prices have come down, but none of them ever got below $800 and most are still $1000+. The Eee Slate you talk about starts at $1000, but the version you really want is $1100 ... not bargain prices!

You can buy an $800 iPad if you try hard but almost no one does, and a whole lot of people (I've heard tell it's around 60%) are buying Wi-Fi only iPads for $500-600. Average sales price across all models is supposedly under $650. There is no functional difference between the top end and cheapest iPad other than how many apps you can install and whether or not it has cellular networking so it's not a hard choice to economize.

[continued next post]


So your average iPad buyer is spending at least $200 less -- or about 25% -- on an iPad than they would have to spend on an entry level Windows tablet. If they wanted to get a pretty good Windows tablet (one with, say, 4G of RAM so Win7 doesn't lag hard) the difference is more pronounced, it's 40% or more less. In mass-market electronics where products win and lose over a few tens of dollars that kind of cost difference is *huge*.

What's more, those Win7 tablets have two very serious deficiencies: They are relatively large and heavy, and they tend to get battery life in the 3-4 hour range (That Eee Slate? Claimed life is only 3 hours, and reports say it's actually about 2). An iPad (which is itself a little too heavy in my opinion) is much lighter and runs for 8 hours *easy*. Both of these are huge functional differences even before you start talking about the suitability of the interfaces to touch (something the Windows tablets are particularly bad at).

In computing there is a very simple rule to success or failure: The cheapest thing that gets the job done wins. A Windows tablet is not the cheapest thing that gets the job done. In fact, it is the *most expensive* by no small margin and it is not going to be possible to overcome this unless Windows goes on a huge diet -- to the tune of about 75% of RAM usage at a *minimum*, and a whole lot of CPU too. That is just not going to happen, and as a result you can count on the Androids and iPads undercutting Windows tablets on price by significant margins simply because they require a lot less hardware.

Win7 is the wrong OS for this task. If Microsoft is going to succeed in tablets it needs to use a WinCE derivative ... and WinPhone7 is the obvious choice. Unfortunately the word I'm getting back is that there are no plans to do this, that Microsoft is going to push Win7 until at least 2013 when they plan to have something based on a Win7-followon (call it Win8) for that job.

What that means in real terms is that Microsoft is planning to spot the new guys four years before they *think* will have a competitive product out there, and that assumes the Win8 version is lean and mean. It is hard to believe it will be; no version of Windows has ever been leaner than the one before and usually (Win7 being the only exception here and it was really only a point release to Vista) they're much, much fatter. Somewhere along the line (hopefully long before Win8 is due to release) they're going to realize it's a loser and switch to WinPhone7. I think that will happen in 2012 and they'll have a product to release based on WinPhone7 or 8 or whatever out there late in 2013. In short, two more years before there is a competitive Windows on tablets, *minimum*. By this time there will be at least a hundred million iPad and Android tablets out there, with huge software catalogs to do everything under the sun (except, in Apple's case, porn).

This is, by the way, almost exactly the mistake Microsoft made with smartphones. It was very obvious right from the launch of the iPhone that WinMob was not the right product but it took Microsoft two years to decide to switch gears and another year and a half to get a reasonable product out there. Three and a half years while the competition staked their claim and improved before they could even begin to compete. WinPhone7 is a nice product. It is failing anyway; it is what they should have had in 2007, or 2008 at the latest. By the end of 2010 the industry and customers (business and consumer alike) gave up on them. Think I'm exaggerating at how bad it is? Go read the WinPhone7 developer boards and get a feel for the mood. It ain't pretty; the phones aren't selling very well and the software is selling worse.

[continued next post]


It's not all bad for Microsoft, of course, because there is one significant demographic for which the iPad and Android devices are poorly suited: The business executive who needs MS Office. There's no way they switch to an iOS or Android device any time soon. But for every one of those there are dozens of consumers and business people who are using laptops as web access and basic application devices. For those people a simpler, much more appliance-like device is likely a big win. Ease of administration (or, put another way, difficulty in screwing up) is a huge plus. Lower cost is a huge plus. Greater portability is a huge plus. (Much) longer battery life is a huge plus. Low noise is a huge plus. It is to these people that low-cost Android and Apple tablets are going to sell, and there are a hell of a lot of them. These are the people who buy netbooks and low-end laptops, or buy the cheapest desktop PC they can possibly find.

This isn't just theory anymore because the netbook and low-end laptop markets took a huge hit in 2010 and everyone thinks it's the iPad that did it. Nothing in the market is changing in 2011 so we can expect this trend to continue and probably accelerate as the 2nd-generation tablets (iPad2 and Honeycomb Android tablets) hit the streets.

You think Microsoft is going to swoop in and take over and I'm just not seeing how. They already have the products they'll have for the next two years out there and they aren't selling; it's a sucker bet to guess that they've got at least two more years of not selling ahead of them. They need something akin to WinPhone7 for tablets. That is, unfortunately, not coming any time soon.

Right now we are seeing the next stage in the evolution of mainstream computing hardware and this time it's Windows that is the big, fat, slow, expensive incumbent. Today's iOS and Android tablets are relatively underpowered compared to PCs but but they are also a lot leaner in their software. They are already good enough for most computing tasks people actually do ... and they are *cheap.* Like PCs, which scaled up from desktops into servers and beyond, there is nothing stopping Apple or Android vendors from scaling up from tablets to more capable form factors other than a little UI work. Such a system, at least at the entry level, would be even less expensive than the tablets since it doesn't need expensive batteries and displays. If you want to see what it might look like there are already two such products on the market, Google TV and Apple TV, and Apple TV's price tag ought to be illuminating -- they're giving you an iPad in a $100 unit, and they're making a profit. Get an app market out there for it, and sell keyboards and touch controllers, and you've got a full blown PC replacement for $200-300. There are a whole lot of people who would buy such a thing.

[continued next post]


You probably think I'm nuts with that last paragraph but here's the thing: I will be totally shocked if Apple doesn't make an app store for Apple TV by mid-year, and sell controllers for it such that it can use all the iPad and iPhone games. It's just too obvious and the hardware is totally capable (it is quite a bit more powerful than the Wii). The Wii sold on cheap and simple, and sold big, even against what was arguably much better competition. If Apple is really serious about domination, and I think Jobs has made it very clear that that's what he wants, then it's the obvious thing to do. I think we'll know for sure within six months.

That's my take on this market. It's not good for Microsoft, but Microsoft has sat around fat and lazy milking Office and Windows for a whole long time without putting any real effort into branching out. That is classic incumbent behavior and it's going to cost them just as much as it did the IBMs and the DECs and Data Generals and Suns. If Gates were still around calling the shots I could see him force Microsoft to take a hard turn in time to make a difference but Ballmer has no imagination, no vision, and no idea how to let others who have these things get on with it. They should have given the job to Allard instead.

jim frost
jimf@frostbytes.com

Tim Acheson (10 Feb 11, 11:45)

@Denis Thanks for offering your thoughts on this.
"From my personal experience I can say that I want a Windows 7 tablet, after using the iPad almost since launch. My company ordered quite a few for product testing and App development, so I got my hands on one for free."

This is typical of the feedback I'm hearing.

You're right -- one of Microsoft's biggest weaknesses here is that they aren't interested in being trendy.

Tim Acheson (10 Feb 11, 12:03)

Update: one of the world's largest media companies (second only to Disney) has just launched an iPad app, and it’s already an embarrassing failure.

News Corp have just launched an iPad app, The Daily, promoted by a major marketing campaign throughout the media including prime-time TV. (I received a personal email myself from the company shortly before the launch, asking me to blog about The Daily and giving me access to an impressive collection of resources as seen on the The Daily's official media release website. I don’t think this comment is what they had in mind).

Predictably, after just one week, The Daily iPad app has proved to be a monumental failure..

Witness what happens when people within a large organisation start believing the PR and marketing hype emanating from a corporation adept as in the art as Apple. Big money gets wasted on a hollow business proposition over-inflated by pure hot air. News Corp benefitted from a small short-term PR exposure by jumping on the trendy iPad hype bandwagon. Anything iPad-related is widely considered implicitly newsworthy, interesting and impressive -- no matter how mundane or foolhardy.

News Corp and the team at The Daily have learned the hard way that the iPad hype truly is just hype. Many others are in the same boat, along with all the middle-aged nincompoops who sincerely believed they were “down with the kids” if they did an iPad app or purchased a van-load of the gadgets for their company.

Tim Acheson (10 Feb 11, 12:10)

@Max I can see where you're coming from.

Apple is not trying to replace your desktop or laptop.

That's an important point. In fact, it's at the heart of my own carefullt considered conclusions.

Apple is trying to replace your laptop or desktop. That is very clearly how they present the device in their own advertising, marketing and PR. Try this mental experiment. Can you imagine Apple advising people against using an iPad, if they thought it would suit a laptop users' needs?

But the point is, iPad cannot replace laptops, even if that's what Apple would like. Not even close! By contrast, with a Windows tablet, you can do everything you could on an iPad plus almost infinitely much more! Even the least powerful Windows tablets, which are the most similar to an iPad in size and specs, are in a completely different league. iPad little more than a toy.

Tim Acheson (10 Feb 11, 12:12)

@Chidi That's true, and there's a lot more the iPad can't do, too. It doesn't even have a real web browser, you can't even get the normal web.

Tim Acheson (10 Feb 11, 12:16)

@NoFear Do you have any facts to support your theories?

"What you don't understand, is that tablets were never content creation devices."

Why not? Just because iPad isn't capable of content creation? Different users have different needs. Some people are content-creators.

"Windows is simply NOT the OS to be running on tablets. Period. It's too resource demanding..."

I guess you weren't following this year's CES conference, where Microsoft's boss delivered the opening keynote presentation. Tablets already are running Windows. You can have a full-power PC in slate form. If power is a major concern, you can get a less performant Windows tablet -- it'll be slimmer, but still infinitely more useful than an iPad.

Tim Acheson (10 Feb 11, 12:29)

@JB I agree.

Zune has taken a large chunk of Apple's market share, especially for video content.

People tend to be scornful about Zune and even laugh at it, but in every case they're confusing one experimental device with a much broader brand which they either overlook or lack insight into. Don't underestimage Zune! That has always been my response to all the biased and/or uninformed hecklers ot there. ;)

A long chain of tweets around the latest news about Zune taking even more market share from iTunes were all prefixed with feined surprise, in the form of a sarcastic rhetorical question, presumably an attempt at tapping into popular anti-MS humour: Did we read that right?"

Tim Acheson (10 Feb 11, 12:37)

@Kent that's a familiar theme.

"Well. it's being used in ways Apple most likely didn't think of. In Sweden an air freight company..."

Apple didn't just think of these scenarios, they actively contrive and create them. The media is full of stories which are either PR or genuine cases where people have fallen for the PR and tried to jump on the bandwagon and then Apple's PR machine seizes these new PR opportunities, and so on.

The case of The Daily provides a more useful and pragmatic insight. Duped by the hype around iPad, the world's second largest media empire launched an iPad app, backed by huge marketing, and found out the hardware that iPad is all hype when their product flopped within one week. See above for more details of the "The Daily" fiasco.

Tim Acheson (10 Feb 11, 12:42)

@Jim Frost

"Microsoft has sat around fat and lazy milking Office and Windows for a whole long time without putting any real effort into branching out"

It sounds like you've been reading too many pro-Apple/Google blogs. Pause for a moment to think for yourself. Have you heard of Xbox 360 (the best-selling entertainment console for the past six months), Kinect, MS Office Web Apps, SkyDrive, Silverlight, Windows Phone, Windows Live Essential, MSN Video, etc, etc, etc? Do you know how many patents Microsoft registered last year alone? Thousands. (For perspective, compare the number of patents filed by Google and Apple combined.)


"It sounds like you've been reading too many pro-Apple/Google blogs. Pause for a moment to think for yourself. Have you heard of Xbox 360 (the best-selling entertainment console for the past six months), Kinect, MS Office Web Apps, SkyDrive, Silverlight, Windows Phone, Windows Live Essential, MSN Video, etc, etc, etc? Do you know how many patents Microsoft registered last year alone? Thousands. (For perspective, compare the number of patents filed by Google and Apple combined.)"

Sigh. I read a wide variety of things, actually, but the real issue is that I've been around the block a few times rather than betting on any one vendor. I actually build software for Windows every day ... but I also built it for Linux and UNIX and more so I have a pretty rounded experience.

So sure, I know about all of those things. I'll talk about branching out into novel products in a minute.

The patent issue is actually a fine point because it's very similar to IBM in the 80s and 90s. They were being issued patents galore but they weren't being turned into product. The same is true of Microsoft today. Full of smart people, but their ideas do not become products; Microsoft does not have a culture of turning internal ideas into products. They have a culture of watching external developments and building copycats.

Anyway let's just investigate "fat and lazy" a little more closely to see if we can tell if Microsoft is serving even their core market well.

NTFS is five times slower than Linux ext3 in real-world use (and it's not like ext3 is really all that fast). Five times! And not just on write, either, like you might expect. This is almost entirely due to fragmentation issues. Do you know how hard it is to fix fragmentation in a filesystem? We've known how to do it since BSD FFS in 1985. Numerous AT&T SysV vendors retrofitted the basic BSD mechanism in one form or another onto the UFS filesystem easily ... because you can do it entirely in the block allocator without impacting backward compatibility at all. All it needs is a little smarts in the allocator, considering disk locality. This is a job anyone who is any good at all with filesystems ought to have been able to fix in a matter of a few days, a couple of weeks at most, and do it without a single compatibility issue. Every single competitor did it, and they did it fifteen or more years ago, even the Linux hobbyists. Not only did Microsoft not bother to fix this in NT4, when they should have, but it remained through 2000, XP, 2003, Vista, 2008, and Win7 right up to today -- seventeen years of releases! For the first decade or so the only way to work around this deficiency this was to buy someone else's product; today they bundle it as a background service but it's still scan-and-rearrange, not proactive. Laaaaazy.

Let's pick another case. The NT VMM uses a page replacement algorithm derived directly from VMS. I can go into a ton of detail if you want, but let's just say that the design -- which is FIFO in one important place -- is guaranteed to have paging storms if memory gets tight. This is why Windows boxes go off into la-la land for minutes at a time when they become moderately memory constrained. They could have fixed this by moving to a LRU page replacement algorithm like everyone else and Windows' performance under strain would be massively improved -- it would degrade more or less linearly rather than pathologically up to several times overcommit. Seventeen years with that bugaboo too, although until Vista the basic RAM in machines had finally grown to the point where you didn't see it all that often in XP (unless you used recent versions of Visual Studio anyway). It's killer if you have a Win7 box with less than 4G though.

[continued next post]



That kind of stuff is what I mean when I talk about milking the product. They've put remarkably little effort into improving the base performance of their cash-cow product over a very long period of time (with a few notable exceptions, like the TCP stack). These issues impact every Windows user. Most do not have experience with anything else so they don't know it can be better and Microsoft certainly capitalizes on that. But in the long term the strategy of ignoring such things can hurt you because the flip-side of Moore's law is that what used to be a toy will grow up to be useful for broad computing and displace whatever was used for broad computing before, and if you're inefficient your cash cow is suddenly a dog. We are seeing that right now with the ARM revolution. There's no particular reason why Win7 couldn't be the substrate for a low-power computer other than the fact that it is horribly inefficient. Had they spent any effort at all on efficiency they would have been in a much better position with Windows tablets. iOS is just MacOS X, right? Android is Linux, right? It was easy to move those things down because they were pretty efficient to start with.

So they're milking the cash cow, that's fine, but how about that branching out?

You talk about Windows Phone, but let's instead back up to Surface because that's where the real innovation was. Microsoft talked that up with great fanfare in 2006. In 2007 Apple released a *consumer product* that did this, a fully realized product rather than a video of a $10,000 niche market device. Microsoft clearly had the technology to do Windows Phone by 2007. We didn't see the product until almost 2011 when it was just another version of the same thing everyone was doing.

The Xbox they did a good job with and Kinect is truly innovative. So sure, nice job. Too bad it's an ephemeral, fickle, limited market.

Everything else you mention is just clones of other stuff. Show me something unique and innovative!

jim frost
jimf@frostbytes.com

Tim Acheson (11 Feb 11, 14:40)

@Jim Frost

Thanks for your follow-up comment, and for taking the time to explore this fascinating topic in more detail! I'll do my best to respond to the key points that you raise.

"Microsoft today. Full of smart people, but their ideas do not become products"

Is it possible that perhaps you're just not aware of every product MS releases? It looks like the problem is more one of promoting and publicising innovations. Microsoft releases a lot of new stuff. (E.g. the multimedia recognition and indexing technology platform, MAVIS, adopted by the US Dept of Energy's ScienceCinema project, which you may have heard about this week while at least 99% of the world's population will probably never hear about it.) Are you familiar with research.microsoft.com, Fuse Labs, etc?

"That kind of stuff is what I mean when I talk about milking the product. They've [Microsoft] put remarkably little effort into improving the base performance of their cash-cow product over a very long period of time (with a few notable exceptions, like the TCP stack). These issues impact every Windows user."

I think many Windows users would disagree with you, there. It's certainly true that major updates to Windows have not been very frequent. We had XP for almost a decade! But when Windows Vista arrived, it was very different. I still remember installing IE4 on Win 95 -- that upgrade was effectively a whole new OS! But the proof of the pudding is in the eating. The vast majrity of users are not dissatisfied with the old product! Windows is still the OS found on almost every computer in almost every home and office on the planet. And that ten-year-old OS called XP is still very popular, I have a Windows 7 Ultimate disc, yet I still haven't got around to upgrading my old laptop, and the truth is I don't really need to! That's pretty impressive longevity, for an OS from the 1990s.

Can you suggest some examples of things you feel "could be better" in Windows 7? That's a fairly strong and general statement.

"NTFS is five times slower"

Where did you hear that? You are probably already aware it's possible to achieve greater speed at the expense of other things like read/write error rate, damage risk, etc.

"The NT VMM ... paging storms if memory gets tight... until Vista the basic RAM in machines had finally grown to the point where you didn't see it all that often in XP (unless you used recent versions of Visual Studio anyway). It's killer if you have a Win7 box with less than 4G though."

I have Win7 on a very old 2 GB laptop and it runs beautifully. But yes, if you use-up all the RAM on Windows, it certainly slows things down! It's been improving, but there's always room for improvement. It'll never be perfect.


I said: "NTFS is five times slower"

You said: "Where did you hear that? You are probably already aware it's possible to achieve greater speed at the expense of other things like read/write error rate, damage risk, etc."

I did not hear that. I measured it. I have the unusual benefit of being able to run the same tasks on both Linux and Windows boxes side by side and see how well they perform. I do it, in fact, every day.

And yes, I'm aware that it's possible to make it a bit faster on write ... on read, not so much, which is why I specifically mentioned read. Moreover, I even told you part of *why* it happens, and how they could go a long ways towards fixing it if they wanted to; you're wrong if you think I am naive.

Microsoft can fix this, I even told you part of how. They do not want to. It is not affecting sales, so who cares if everyone waits five times as long?

"I have Win7 on a very old 2 GB laptop and it runs beautifully."

You and I just have a very different idea of "beautifully". My 2GB Vista and Win7 boxes (as far as I can tell there is no effective difference in performance in day to day performance, although there is a pretty big difference in some system management tasks) page like there is no tomorrow every time you do anything. This is even true of the one that was purchased last November. It's not all that bad with 3G if you don't do much more than run Word (not a new version of Word, mind you, those are massive) and do web browsing and e-mail.

I find that the 2G machines take a rather long time to boot, a rather long time to log in, a rather long time to launch anything, and they go off into paging storms on a regular basis. If your experience is different then I really have to wonder what your expectations are. I didn't run out and upgrade every box I could upgrade to as much memory as I possibly could just because I liked paying Kingston, I did it because they were working very poorly, and that was because Vista and Win7 more than doubled the RAM necessary for basic operation. It's to the point now where you really need to run the 64-bit version to be able to address enough RAM to make it work well. That is, in a word, ridiculous.

I mean, I am not making up that stuff about VMMs you know, and if you haven't figured it out yet I'm not your average Apple flunky like you probably thought. I write a lot of code for Windows. I've been doing it since NT 3.5, and I even did a presentation at WinDev one year (on security). I do it every day, hours a day. But I also work with just about everything else you've ever heard of and probably a few things you haven't and that gives perspective.

I just picked a couple of the more obvious things that Microsoft has not bothered to fix, despite serious ramifications, to point out that they're just sitting on the products and doing as little as possible. Your comment about infrequent releases is just more proof of this; the products have not been evolving. Your mention of satisfied users is a laugh. Have you gone and looked at customer satisfaction surveys that cover more than just Windows? If you do, you'll find that it's not really all sweetness and roses even though Win7 is surely making people happier than Vista did.

jim frost
jimf@frostbytes.com

Tim Acheson (12 Feb 11, 10:39)

@ Jim Frost

It's refreshing to hear from somebody with original criticisms of a product who has made their own measurements. The question now is over your test conditions and the interpretation of the data. Would you be willing to share precise details of your methodology, including specific hardware and software, calibration, the tests performed and the raw results? That way others can reproduce your experiments and we can verify the results with statistical analysis -- we can "reject the null hypothesis".

"Microsoft can fix this, I even told you part of how. They do not want to. It is not affecting sales"

It's probably a fair cop! MS historically hasn't spent time changing things that most users wouldn't notice. But thankfully the company has rapidly changed over the past year or so, and changed a lot -- transformed in fact. I personally have regular direct conversations with people at various levels in the product teams, most of whom operate their own official blogs as well as unofficial ones, and I also speak to the evangelists. I see suggestions I've made adopted in subsequent releases.

Start following the official Windows team blog, and get involved in the conversation. Try the main Windows blog or click the "Blogs" tab along the top for more specialist blogs from the Windows team. Make your suggestion to the people who can act on it. They take great pride in their product. If you are polite, they will be grateful for your advice. You can also contact them by following and tweeting at the Windows team on Twitter! Also, find a feedback form for Win7 -- there are several online. Let me know how you get on!

If you genuinely want to improve Windows, start here -- "Microsoft's official blog for the Windows Operating System":-

windowsteamblog.com

Chris Curry (21 Feb 11, 08:31)

One word.... "Courier"

Most people that knew about that endeaver thought it was compeltely idiotic thing for Microsoft to cancel what looked to be the most promising project that never was. People still talk about it today.

Lately I've been wondering if the project was truly canceled... I know that Bill Buxton (who is truely the visionary at Microsoft right now) still talked about stylis + touch input well after the Courier was canceled.

So it makes me wonder if they didn't really cancel it but rather decided to just roll aspects of the Courier UI into Windows 8...

It would make sense seeing as what was shown for Courier could be seen as the next generation of "Tablet PC" and why fragment the market with a separate product when it's obvious that mobile hardware and graphics is improving insanely fast. Especially looking at what Nvidia is coming up with...

Apple was first in this new age of mobile compting but I think they also have a problem in that it's becoming increasingly obvious that iOS and Mac OSX should not be two separate things... If iPads were full macbooks they would be seriously starting to penetrate the "PC" market which could open a lot of other doors for them. As it is now they are selling a lot of a device that could easily be replaced...


"[a] product which is fundamentally a phone with a giant screen and no way to make phonecalls"

Actually, its a giant iPod!

Tim Acheson (21 Feb 11, 22:02)

@Carlos True! It's too generous to call iPad a giant iPhone. iPad is in fact less useful than an iPhone! It can't make phone calls, etc! It's more like a giant iPod Touch.

Tim Acheson (21 Feb 11, 22:06)

@ Chris Curry

That's a very good point! The Courier was an excellent prototype, and a useful experiment, like the Zune HD. Microsoft never marketed Courier, but it was a useful exercise for "testing the water". I have no doubt that useful lessons were learned from that project. Let's see what happens when, fairly soon now, we see the first Win 8 demo! The Win8 roadmap was "leaked" today.


Wow. What a lot of disjointed theories and selective information rolled up to look like a compelling argument...
I'm late to the party here, but found this blog from another website's comments thread where you were insisting people come and read this article, not just the headline, so I did.

Firstly, how can you claim that the 2011 CES Keynote address by Ballmer is "a landmark event for the tablet market" when he was at CES 2010, giving a Keynote addess on, you guessed it, tablet computers. He called them Slate computers then, but the main one that he was showing off (the HP) never materialized.
http://www.engadget.com/2010/01/06/live-from-steve-ballmers-ces-2010-keynote/
Why should we think that this year is going to be "The Year" when the 2011 CES was like a Groundhog Day version of 2010..?
Second, you link to an article about how Apple didn't design the iPad for Enterprise and you wield statement that like it's a bad thing. Of course Apple didn't design it for Enterprise, they have no interest in doing that. They design products for PEOPLE. How many people who've been given a corporate laptop by their Enterprise IT group go our and spend their own money on an iPad. That's significant. People like the iPad and will bring it in to work even if it's not sanctioned by the Enterprise IT group. Get a few CEOs who really like their iPads and before long they're pressing the IT group to make it work. Traditional IT folk might not like it, but it's happening.
You say the iPad will never replace laptops and PCs... Well, there's two arguments against that point. Firstly, never is a long time. Who would have thought 30 years ago that you could have a computer in your own home, let alone one that weighs a few pounds and you carry around with you. Making 'NEVER' predictions is always going to be a losing proposition. But more importantly, Apple didn't design the iPad to replace a laptop or desktop. They sell those too you know. Their laptop sales have been outstripping the market growth for something like the last 19 months. They wouldn't want to kill that market.
How is a tablet computer that can do everything on your wish list any different to those convertible laptops that have been around for a long time? My doctors office uses laptops with the screen flipped around and a stylus input so that they can run all the software they use on their desktop machines. It seems to me that if that's what the majority of the tablet market wanted, it has existed up to now and it hasn't been a significant sector. I'm sure there will be a need for a hand held computer that has all the power and capability of a desktop machine, but it's a niche and not what the mass market is looking for.



As well as reading the blog post, I've read the comments too (nice touch that the first two are from you BTW).
Here's where you get into really crazy stuff. The fact that there's more hashtag mentions of iPhone than sex has nothing to do with the tablet market! As you said yourself, most of those hashtags are created by spambots but somehow you've conflated that to "Apple's hype machine". Don't use the possessive pronoun if you don't actually believe that Apple is creating all that spam. And anyway, the term you can find that's more common than sex is iPhone - I thought we were talking about the iPad here... That whole comment is just pointless.
Then we get to your pièce de résistance: News Corps iPad app is crap therefore the iPad is just hype and so Microsoft has won.
Huh? Just beacuse News Corp made a half-assed attempt at digital publishing doesn't reflect at all on the iPad. Have you tried to use The Daily? It's awful. It's usability issues that make it a flop - it's not worth fighting their UX to get to the shallow, New York Post style articles. They made a bad app, that doesn't sink the platform.
Look at the top grossing apps from last year. Sure there are 4 games in the top 10, but there's also 3 content creation apps from Apple and things like Documents 2 Go and LogMeIn Ignition. Serious apps, some might even say those last two show evidence of use in the Enterprise... The Daily being a flop will have no effect on the success or failure of the iPad as a platform.

In closing, let me ask you a question. If in some parallel universe the Dell XT3 10" Win7 tablet that's been announced and the Apple iPad had swapped places. If the Dell was the established leader and Apple's iOS was just on the horizon, would you be railing so hard against the Dell & Windows 7? Isn't your belief that the iPad will fail mainly based on the fact that it is developed and sold by Apple? You could have made the blog entry a lot more succinct if that's the case...


Oh, and that WinRumors post that you link to saying that 'Zune has taken a large chunk of Apple's market share, especially for movies'... Did you actually read the article? Sure, the headline reads well: 'Microsoft's Zune Video service gained over 50% more market share in 2010 compared to 2009' but what does it actually mean? It means that Zune movies moved from 11.6% of the market to 17.9%. Apple went from 74.4% down to 64.5%.
I don't see how a 6% swing can be described as 'a large chunk' when they still have nearly 65% of the market.
Yes, Microsoft and others are improving. It would be a sorry state if they didn't - we need decent competition to keep all the players honest. But Microsoft, Sony and all the others together are barely more than half Apple's share.


Couldn't disagree with you more (that tablets are for consumption and not creation... which itself is merely a Steve Jobs slogan, justification & product position). My convertible tablet PC remains one of the most productivity-enhancing devices I've ever owned.

Tim Acheson (23 Feb 11, 10:57)

@GadgetGav Thanks for sharing your thoughts in such detail! I'll do my best to respond to each one of your key points.

"Wow. What a lot of disjointed theories and selective information rolled up to look like a compelling argument"

I'm glad you thought it "looked like a compelling argument". I think it is a compelling argument, in fact it's all very logical. I wasn't intentionally being selective, but I can't cover everything.

"how can you claim that the 2011 CES Keynote address by Ballmer is a landmark event for the tablet market ... the main one that he was showing off (the HP) never materialized."

It was a landmark event for the tablet market. Not least, because it was the CEO of one of the world's largest tech companies announcing their entry into the market! There was no "main one" that he was showing off, unless you mean the Asus Eee Slate which for me was the main event in terms of tablets. It sounds like you still haven't watched the keynote and are instead relying on blog posts on websites like Engadget which is owned by a corporation that's by no means neutral -- in fact their Editor and at least one other editor have resigned over this issue within the past week. Watch the keynote yourself, then we can talk about it. :)

"Of course Apple didn't design it for Enterprise, they have no interest in doing that."

Exactly And therein lies the problem. That is the Achillees heel of iPad, it's a toy. You can do MUCH more with a Windows tablet.

"How is a tablet computer that can do everything on your wish list any different to those convertible laptops..."

Exactly. A Windows tablet is as good as your laptop. An iPad is not -- far from it. That's the point.

"Isn't your belief that the iPad will fail mainly based on the fact that it is developed and sold by Apple?"

No, I've tried to be very clear about the reason why MS will dominate tablets (I didn't say iPad will fail). It's because iPad isn't as useful as a Windows tablet -- not even close.

"Microsoft's Zune Video service gained over 50% more market share in 2010 compared to 2009 ... Apple went from 74.4% down to 64.5%"

Yes, Zune's market share has grown by 50%! Plot their growth on a graph -- it's a steep trajectory! Clearly, Zune is gaining ground at a very fast rate! Do you disagree that 50% is a lot of growth? And why stop there? Now extrapolate, because they have not stopped growing. As for Apple losing market share, if you do the maths you will find that they are losing extremly large numbers of customers with drops of that size. 0.5% is generally considered statistically significant, and Apple's decline is very much bigger than that. Incidently, the iPhone is losing share, too. This week we learned that its not even in the top 5 phones here in the UK. And the trend continues,s o watch this space.

Tim Acheson (23 Feb 11, 10:59)

@mediaman1 It's refreshing to see a comment from somebody who uses technology in the real world!

"My convertible tablet PC remains one of the most productivity-enhancing devices I've ever owned."

You hit the proverbial nail on the head. This real-world hype-free fact is the huge shiny golden key opening the door to the success of Windows tablets.


Tim,
You quoted me as saying "how can you claim that the 2011 CES Keynote address by Ballmer is a landmark event for the tablet market ... the main one that he was showing off (the HP) never materialized."
And then you said "It was a landmark event for the tablet market. Not least, because it was the CEO of one of the world's largest tech companies announcing their entry into the market! There was no "main one" that he was showing off, unless you mean the Asus Eee Slate which for me was the main event in terms of tablets."

You've done it again. Conflated two arguments to make it seem like the point is invalid. The nice little ellipsis you inserted removed the key fact of my point - that Ballmer also stood up at CES in 2010 and talked about tablets and raved about the HP Slate. 2010 was supposed to be the year of the slate computer and it didn't happen. 2011 is just a rerun.
The Asus tablet did get to market, but from the specs I've seen, it looks more like a laptop or netbook conversion into a non-clamshell form factor. I'm sure you see that as a positive because it has all the power of a laptop, but it costs $1000. I'm not sure why people would buy a $1000 tablet over a laptop with the same specs from the same company for less. The tablet computer needs to find its own niche.
BTW, I linked to the Engadget post of the _2010_ CES because that was the first thing I could find that covered the year-old event. It's a minute by minute live blog of the event, so whatever you think about Engadget or AOL's bias, I don't see how it comes into play on a live blog....

As far as the Enterprise thing goes, we'll just have to agree to disagree. I see it as a benefit. You see the exact same information and see it as a detriment. We'll just have to wait for the market to show us who's right.

As for market growth, no I will not agree that 50% growth is a lot. That number doesn't tell you anything. If I said to you I'll give you 50% of 100 and I'll only take 1% of 1,000,000,000,000 would you be happy?? 50% growth means nothing unless you know what the baseline was and in this case the baseline was small. Sure, if you do a straight line extrapolation from those numbers, by 2013 MS & Apple have roughly equal market share... But that's a completely false assumption. That assumes there's no disruptive changes in the market between 2009 and 2013. No new product that might skew the growth toward one company or the other (or even Sony from 3rd). No price change on one ecosystem or the other... You can't just make a simple extrapolation. If I was being mean I could say that the Zune growth might go off a cliff if Microsoft does another Plays For Sure, but I won't ;)

And lastly - that link to Microsoft cutting the price of the Dell convertible by 30% (another big percentage!). Does that strike you as a move they'd do on a solid product that was selling well?
Companies survive on profit, not market share...


"Yes, Zune's market share has grown by 50%! Plot their growth on a graph -- it's a steep trajectory! Clearly, Zune is gaining ground at a very fast rate! Do you disagree that 50% is a lot of growth? And why stop there?"

You think 50% growth is impressive?
Try this on for size:
http://techcrunch.com/2011/02/21/861-5-percent-growth-android-puny/
861.5% GROWTH. WOW..!
Extrapolate that and they're going to own everything in no time at all.



Or maybe not....


Dear Tim, we already have a Windows 7 full OS microcomputer with telephony functionality.

press preview

we will notify you when we make a Windows 8 device :)

thanks for enlightening the general populace!

Tim Acheson (24 Feb 11, 10:11)

@ATC Thanks for sharing details of the Windows 7 (full OS!) smartphone that you have over there in Malaysia! Keep up the good work,l and yes please do keep me informed.

Tim Acheson (24 Feb 11, 10:26)

@GadgetGav

"The nice little ellipsis you inserted removed the key fact of my point - that Ballmer also stood up at CES in 2010 and talked about tablets and raved about the HP Slate. 2010 was supposed to be the year of the slate computer and it didn't happen."

I don't recall Ballmer talking about the HP Slate, perhaps he did mention it, but I don't think that changes anything. It certainly wasn't the "main event". Candidates for the "main event" at CES 2011 would include the Asus Eee Slate, Kinect, Surface, or WP7.

"Microsoft cutting the price of the Dell convertible by 30%"

Yes, I welcome this move! It makes sense, especially when you bear in mind that the Windows 8 tablet is expected to get a demo in a few months and this is a good time to stimulate the market. I know where you're coming from. However, your logic is fundamentally flawed, as we'll see if we apply it to similar scenarios. Tom Clancy games on Xbox Live were discounted by 50% this week -- would you conclude from this that Microsoft has a problem with these best-selling games?

Statistics can be misleading. For instance, you find 861.5% growth impressive, but it's worth having some context. 800% growth could be an increase from just 0.1 to just 0.8 of course. Zune is gaining market share in very real terms.

We obviously disagree on some of the detail, but nothing you've said changes one atom of the key points and conclusions of my original article. :)


"I don't recall Ballmer talking about the HP Slate, perhaps he did mention it, but I don't think that changes anything. It certainly wasn't the "main event". Candidates for the "main event" at CES 2011 would include the Asus Eee Slate, Kinect, Surface, or WP7."

It's a shame your memory is so bad, and that you've such an aversion to Engadget that you didn't look at the live blog I linked to before, so here's a link to the full CES 2010 Keynote on Vimeo. I don't think you can say that this is biased in any way.
http://vimeo.com/8642910

The HP slate gets introduced starting at 49:30. Sure, it's not the only or main event in the keynote, but to have Ballmer introduce it, show promo videos and use the product on stage was a big deal. You might not remember that this was just before the iPad came out and this was supposed to be Ballmer's big coup. Announcing a "Slate PC" just before Apple did. He says that the HP product is coming to market in 2010 running Windows 7. What happened?

Of course the keynote covers other topics. The main event that year was Windows 7, but you list 4 "main events" at the 2011 keynote, so I don't see how 2010 was any different.

I'm not familiar with the Tom Clancy XBox deal, but a quick Google search seems to indicate that it was actually the DLC packs for the games that were discounted 50% through XBox Live. To me that would indicate market saturation. You said they're best-selling games and I don't doubt that, but when you've already reached the majority of the potential market, how do you make some more money from the franchise? Have a sale on an add-on that people might not have bought otherwise...

We don't disagree on detail - we disagree on fundamentals. You can look at something and say it's black. I can look at the same thing and be convinced it's white. We'll obviously never agree or even persuade the other of our view, so I'm checking out now. Enjoy your blog.


Hi Tim,

please send your correspondence email to general@advancetc.com so we can keep you updated and put on our mailing list,

thanks!
ATC

Tim Acheson (25 Feb 11, 19:40)

Another impressive new Windows tablet: Fujitsu Stylistic Q550. Nice!

Tim Acheson (25 Feb 11, 19:45)

@Gav, it's ok, there's no need for you to find me a link to the CES keynote video. I blogged about it at the time, in fact you'll find a full-length video of the CES 2011 keynote on my blog post embedded directly from the original source on Microsoft's official CES2011 website. It doesn't make much difference, we're only discussing the video because you had the impression that a HP Windows 7 gadget was the "main event" but very clearly it wasn't.

It's an interesting theory of yours, that Xbox Live offers a discount on DLC content it's because "people might not have bought otherwise". The Tom Clancy content I mentioned as an example is very popular, and the the promotion only ran for a limited period. Your theory is a little implausible. Having said that, there's no doubt that when any vendor offers a promotional discount it's to boost sales and they're unlikely to do so at the initial peak in sales of a product. But the market-leading toothpaste is currently on special-offer at my supermarket, and I don't think it's because that brand has become less popular!

"We don't disagree on detail - we disagree on fundamentals..."

Even if you're wrong about some of the fundamentals, I wouldn't necessarily go so far as to say that we disagree on all fundamentals. In case we're getting side-tracked here, permit me to recap.

Your first comment here began with the question: "how can you claim that the 2011 CES Keynote address by Ballmer is a landmark event for the tablet market? I've answered that as clearly as I can. It indisputably was a landmark event, with one of the world's largest tech companies entering the marketplace!

Next, you wrote "Apple didn't design the iPad for Enterprise ... like it's a bad thing." And in response I pointed out that it is a bad thing, it unmistakably is a disadvantage and one that doesn't affect Windows tablets.

Our discussion has continued along the same theme, with me, if you'll indulge my use of a dramatic metaphor, blowing each one of your key criticisms clean out of the water! I'm not complaining, it's still an interesting and worth-while debate. :)

Tim Acheson (04 Mar 11, 09:03)

Related news:

iPad 2? I'd call it iPad 1.5.

Steve Jobs' reality distortion takes its toll on truth (Forbes Tech):

Apple twisted facts and used an erroneous quotation to try to convince crowds that all other tablets had no shot at de-throning the iPad in 2011.

In what seems like a ritual at this point, I watched Apple's iPad 2 keynote in disbelief, noting the factual errors that kept coming up minute after minute.

iPad 2: An underwhelming launch (The Guardian):

It's not hard to read Steve Jobs' surprise appearance at Wednesday's iPad 2 unveiling as a mark of desperation. Is Apple so in need of a boost to its share price that it needed to haul Jobs out of medical leave?

What Apple hopes you didn't notice about iPad 2 (Mashable).

Tim Acheson (12 Mar 11, 13:53)

If Microsoft ever launch their own tablet, they could call it XPad and integrate Xbox Live. ;)

Tim Acheson (16 Mar 11, 08:06)

Related news: SXSW 2011: Novelty of iPad news apps fades fast among digital delegates (The Guardian)

If Rupert Murdoch's $30m iPad newspaper the Daily is "like using Real Player in 1997", what hope does the rest of the industry have? ...

"I'm sceptical about apps generally. It takes you out of the web. You come in to this solated, one-person web. That's so anti where we're headed that I have a problem with it," he told the SXSW conference on Monday.


I wasn't going to come here again, I wasn't going to get sucked back into this debate because it's tilting at windmills, but you've dragged me back...
You really think you've succeeded in "blowing each one of your key criticisms clean out of the water! " Well done you. What you've actually done is restate your opinion as a response to my opinion. That doesn't count as being blown out of the water.
This whole landmark event thing. What I am trying to get across is that the landmark wasn't at the 2011 CES keynote, it was at the 2010 one. THAT'S when Microsoft announced it would enter the tablet market. The trouble is that it's partners couldn't ship any meaningful Windows-based tablets in 2010, so we had the Ctrl-Atl-Delete reboot of the 2011 CES keynote, saying this time the really meant it.
Again, there's a problem. Microsoft has already announced a version of Windows Embedded that it says is going to be for tablets and leaks about Windows 8 being due in 2012 continue as you link to. Where does that leave hardware makers? Which version should they put on their tablet? The version that's available now but not really optimized for tablets, or sit on their product until the next OS is available. Neither is a satisfactory choice. Look at the Xoom which launched without any of it's iPad-killing features actually working. No Flash, no 4G, no SD card slot. That's got to put a damper on sales. Why would someone spend their money on that tablet now? They'd be better off waiting a month or two until the ones in the store have the 4G hardware in from the factory and have the updated software to allow the Flash playback and SD storage to work. But, while they're waiting, they might go and look at another tablet and spend their money there.
The same thing could be happening to Windows slates. Microsoft is pushing the Eee Slate EP121, but would you be better off waiting for Windows 8? $1,000 is a lot to spend on something that's not optimal.

And please, stop going on about The Daily and whether or not it's a flop. The success or failure of one app, even one as high profile as this from News Corp is not reflective of the whole platform. The majority of iPad users won't even notice if The Daily goes dark.

Tim Acheson (25 Mar 11, 09:22)

Gav, I do see what you mean, but in 2010 the intention was announced and in 2011 the results were demonstrated, so I don't see any problem.

"What I am trying to get across is that the landmark wasn't at the 2011 CES keynote, it was at the 2010 one"

You raise an interesting question. Would you be better off waiting for Windows 8? I think the answer is "yes". By the same token, iPad customers would have been better off waiting for iPad 2 (or as I call it iPad 1.5). On that note, see my next comment (below)...


Related news: @guardian's latest iPad article sparks readers' backlash against Apple hype. (Their tech editor is an Apple fanboy.)

Update: the newspaper's technology editor complained directly to me about this tweet, and we discussed it, so in the interest of fairness and balance I will include the whole the conversation below.

Tim Acheson (28 Mar 11, 19:20)

  • charlesarthur @timacheson thank you. Do keep reading. Criticism of ideas always welcomed.
    26 minutes ago via Twitter for Android
  • timacheson @charlesarthur On the bright side, I'm sometimes a critic of your articles but that means I'm also a reader! I apologise for any annoyance.
    26 minutes ago via web
  • timacheson @charlesarthur I take your word for it that you were at the CES keynote. I thought you weren't and explained my reasons. Not flawed logic.
    41 minutes ago via web
  • timacheson @charlesarthur We do disagree. It's ok to disagree. I wouldn't "spread untruths" about anyone. When offering opinions I try to explain why.
    about 1 hour ago via web
  • timacheson I didn't think this was "untruth presented as fact": http://t.co/eJ3uDY2 Can you confirm which part is untrue? I will explain/correct.
    about 1 hour ago via web
  • charlesarthur @timacheson your conclusions are wrong because your logic is flawed. I was at the Ballmer CES 2011 keynote. Acknowledge it and stop now.
    about 1 hour ago via Tweetie for Mac
  • timacheson @charlesarthur How could somebody conclude you weren't at CES 2011? My previous explanations: http://bit.ly/hwt9Uu http://bit.ly/fTEaSk etc.
    about 1 hour ago via web
  • charlesarthur @timacheson we disagree. The fact remains: you've spread untruths about me for no good reason. I suggest: don't.
    about 1 hour ago via Tweetie for Mac
  • timacheson @charlesarthur Can you identify tweet you disapprove of? 140 chars can sacrifice clarity but I usually include a link; if not I'll rectify.
    about 1 hour ago via web

Continued...

Tim Acheson (28 Mar 11, 20:10)

  • charlesarthur @timacheson Another point: http://twitter.com/timacheson/status/52289599275413504 contains an untruth presented as fact. Again, dangerous.
    about 1 hour ago via Tweetie for Mac
  • charlesarthur @timacheson I may have been slightly too busy to reply that week. It was CES. But I've replied on the Guardian today (re iPad) and here.
    about 1 hour ago via Tweetie for Mac
  • timacheson @charlesarthur No, I wouldn't call it "professional dereliction" to blog about a keynote based on 2nd-hand info.
    about 1 hour ago via web
  • timacheson @charlesarthur Until today I don't think you confirmed being at CES. I asked but you didn't reply: http://bit.ly/hWHYRO Where's your reply?
    about 1 hour ago via web
  • charlesarthur @timacheson I really don't know how a reasonable person could conclude from my report that I *wasn't* there. Seating, audience detail..
    about 2 hours ago via Twitter for Android
  • charlesarthur @timacheson You are wrong and I have told you this before. Knowingly telling untruths about people is very dangerous.
    about 2 hours ago via Twitter for Android
  • charlesarthur @timacheson yr tweet made an untrue allegation. You need to prove I wasn't at ballmer 2011. You're accusing me of professional dereliction.
    about 2 hours ago via Twitter for Android

Continued...

Tim Acheson (28 Mar 11, 20:10)

  • timacheson @charlesarthur My tweet was provocative, but I don't think I've ever tweeted anything "unfounded" or "untrue". Show me, I'll delete/correct.
    about 2 hours ago via web
  • timacheson @charlesarthur A "made-up lie" that you weren't at the CES 2011 keynote? No, but I suspected that based on your report: http://bit.ly/hkAoEO
    about 2 hours ago via web
  • charlesarthur @timacheson I'd really advise being cautious about making unfounded and untrue accusations on public sites like Twitter.
    about 6 hours ago via Tweetie for Mac
  • charlesarthur @timacheson please stop repeating your made-up lie that I was not at Steve Ballmer's 2011 CES keynote. I was.
    about 7 hours ago via Tweetie for Mac
  • timacheson @guardian's latest iPad article sparks readers' backlash against Apple hype: http://bit.ly/f1SsNd (Their tech editor is an Apple fanboy.)
    about 10 hours ago via web
Derek Currie (01 Apr 11, 04:50)

Windows has had a decade to discover a market for slates/tablets. Microsoft failed. It's over. Apple discovered a massive new market for the iPad and owns it. So far there is no realistic competition in site.

Why Microsoft fails: No innovation. Marketing blether does not equal facts or sales. The failure of Windows to find a touch screen market is part and parcel of the decline of Microsoft as a whole. It is indeed the 'Post-PC Era'.

Tim Acheson (01 Apr 11, 12:22)

Hi Derek, I can see where you're coming from, but let's put this in perspective for just a moment and set aside the iPad hype.

You must accept that Windows doesn't need to "discover a market for slates/tablets" yet. Windows completely dominates the industry. Windows 7 is the fastest-selling OS of any kind of all time!

Tablets may be very important in the future. Microsoft has now openly said they're not yet convinced that will ever happen. In the meantime they have a presence in the marketplace that is proportionate to their level of effort -- and remember MS doesn't even make a tablet yet, perhaps they will in the future. It's fun to speculate about Zune/Xbox tablets -- we could call them the xPad or the zPad -- at least the one letter suffix would actually mean something!

Stand back for some perspective. Microsoft's Kinect sold twice as fast as Apple's iPad, and that's just one Microsoft product. Microsoft is way ahead of Apple in almost every other area, too, for instance they own about 90% of PC sales.

Tim Acheson (16 Apr 11, 15:44)

This Windows 7 tablet = WOW! It's cheaper than iPad! Best gadget I've seen in my life! A colleague has one and is showing it off now.

Tim Acheson (18 Apr 11, 18:35)

Related: Lord declares iPad “a bad device”: http://bit.ly/ fRmnIu While Apple’s supporters admit to being on the corporation's payroll: http:// bit.ly/i98Dze http://bit.ly/fXECnG

Tim Acheson (26 May 11, 09:07)

Related: Tablets will not kill desktops and laptops (Google's Sundar Pichai, Economic Times)

Tim Acheson (27 May 11, 10:22)

Related: Microsoft only gets 5% of potential revenue in China due to piracy (The Next Web)

There's an old saying: "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!"

Microsoft should jump on the bandwagon and flood the market with cheap software including OEM installations on generic and clone devices like the Windows 7 tablets, and netbooks that are selling like hot cakes in China, India, and elsewhere. MS could have a piece of the action.

Windows 7 tablet probably may already eclipse iPad sales by a wide margin, but the industry only sees the official figures.

Get your cheap Windows 7 tablet today! E.g. from eBay USA or eBay UK! From only £150 / $300 -- much cheaper than iPad or Android tablets and much more useful!


Wow, a modern day snake oil salesman.
Turn logic on it's head, don't answer points directly, use partial truths and selective memory, but above all, never give even an inch to the most reasonably argued and correct posts. All to justify extreme loyalty to his chosen brand.
It would be funny if it wasn't so desperately over-reaching in it's aspirations. But then, being battered into submission does not a convert make.

Tim Acheson (08 Jul 11, 18:59)

Related: Tablet shipments below lofty expectations, says IDC (ZDNet).

"In a nutshell, the tablet market may prove to be just as seasonal as the PC industry and other electronics products."

Whenever the statistics show a dip in the PC sales graph, proponents of the "post-PC era" theory (an Apple propaganda phrase) eagerly blog and tweet it as though the news vindicates their position. It's comical how silent the same commentators are about statistics showing tablet sales being affected in exactly the same direction by exactly the same trends.

Tim Acheson (16 Jul 11, 19:03)

Related: Microsoft 'plans single operating system (Telegraph)

Welcome to the future. A future of converged technology. A future of unified ecosystems.
"PCs, phones, tablets and computers could all share the same interface, Microsoft has susggested"
Terry Gregory (21 Jul 11, 18:05)

Lion. Convergence operating system between OS X and iOS. In market TODAY. Not in the future. Why do you think Apple chose the king of beasts (lion) for it's FINAL OS X iteration?

OS X is becoming iOS.

Microsoft MUST issue Office for iOS. The tables have turned. Microsoft needs iOS more than Apple needs Office.

Mahalo.

Tim Acheson (22 Jul 11, 10:04)

Hi Terry, that's an interesting point.

For a better example of convergance, look no further than Windows 7 which is running on both desktops and tablets which you can buy cheaply right now. Windows 8 will take that convergance to the next level...

The apparent "convergance" between Lion and iOS is a superficial gimick, in the sense that of course iOS will run on a Mac because there's nothing to it, whereas Lion absolutely could not run Lion on devices built for iOS. You can run other mobile OSs on a desktop computer, too, but people don't because the desktop OS is so much better.

Tim Acheson (01 Sep 11, 11:10)

Update: Windows 8 will have two different user inferfaces, one optimised for touch and one optimised for desktop!

Microsoft’s Windows team chief, Steven Sinofsky: “If you want to, you can seamlessly switch between Metro style apps and the improved Windows desktop. Existing apps, devices, and tools all remain and are improved in Windows 8. On the other hand, if you prefer to immerse yourself in only Metro style apps (and platform) and the new user experience, you can do that as well! Developers can target the APIs that make sense for the software they wish to deliver. People can debate how much they need or don’t need different aspects of the product, but that has always been the case. All of this is made possible by the flexibility of Windows.”


Update: Apple down on report of iPad supply slowdown (Reuters)

"Our understanding is that this is not in preparation for a new model launch" (Gokul Hariharan, JP Morgan Chase's Asia Pacific electronic manufacturing services analyst.)

Apple has just cut iPad supply-chain orders by 25%! Apple shares have already fallen sharply in response, down 3%.

Is the huge drop in iPad orders because demand has fallen, and the tablet trend has already peaked, as stock-market investors seem to be concluding? Post-tablet era? Or because of a new iPad in production as has been suggested by defenders of Apple despite investor intel to the contrary? Or both factors combined?

If the iPad fad does end prematurely, it may not have implications for more powerful tablets that will soon emerge into the marketplace created by Apple's iPad. iPad is essentially a basic netbook with no keyboard, and has the same limitations. Nevertheless, Android tablets sales are thriving. Microsoft is due to launch Windows 8 tablets a year from now. Today Amazon made a big announcement about their new tablet which will compete directly with the iPad.

See also (ingenious headline): "Tablet overdose? ... could the love affair with Apple's iPad be on the wane?" (Daily Mail)


Thanks for the comments. I agree with you it is like the 90s. I really want one device that can work as a laptop/pad/desktop. This shrinking eco system for apple will be impossible for them to keep up. No one talk about a pontential loss of apples laptop/desktop business becasue well it isnt whats important. In 5 Yrs u need to deduct 80 pecent of these sales and factor in very inexspensive microsoft products. In addition with ARM processing windows will have the apps.

Tim Acheson (13 Jul 12, 12:06)

Latest: Over-hyped The Daily iPad app collapses in failure

The Daily may go down in tech history as the preeminent example of a product launched by out-of-touch executives who were taken in by the hype around the iPad.

The launch of The Daily follows a familiar and cringe-worthy pattern which can be observed in many organisations. Middle-aged suits, desperate to be cool and "down with the kids", unduly influenced by Apple's impressive corporate marketing and propaganda operations, put too much faith in the iPad.

"much hyped iPad only newspaper"

Like most iPad news stories, The Daily was indeed grossly over-hyped. (Their marketing folks evidently contacted virtually every tech blog in existence, including mine, asking to plant advertorial promotional content dressed-up as a real article.) The iPad its self is over-hyped. There is a critical mass of fanatical pro-Apple commentators willing to hype any Apple-related story. Thus, like everything else that gets hitched to the iPad hype bandwagon, The Daily benefited from a disproportionately high level of initial hype and exposure, but was very clearly always destined to fail.


Well look at apple now. So guess the people may be listening. Anyway Google seems to be benefiting from Apples Decline. This is a little weird but can be summed up this way. They don't understand that ARM tablets are the past and Tablet/PC are the future. Intel based x86 processors will dominate over ARM. I buy a PC/Tablet together. One last note is that even google is gearing up for an Intel based phone that runs Android so it will be interesting if Apple sticks with ARM.

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