May 8, 2013

Then And Now

Bill Gates thinks that iPad and Android tablet owners are frustrated. It’s primarily the lack of keyboard and Microsoft Office that’re to blame, the Microsoft chairman thinks. And thus there’s a bright future for the Surface line, because that’s essentially a laptop with tablet form factor, and that’s what consumers really want.

Bill Gates obviously lives in an alternate reality, in which Windows 8 is a success and people really just want to use Windows with their greasy fingers.

I’m afraid that’s not the case in the real world. The reboot of Windows 8 should be evidence enough of that.

Surface Pro, pretty in pink
The Microsoft Surface Pro, pretty in pink

The Surface line is pretty decent as far as I can tell. I have no doubt that they’ll take a healthy chunk out of the competition among the boardroom crowd, and if I ran a company selling high-end Android tablets, I’d be fidgeting by now. But overall the concept of an OS built both for traditional computers and tablets is severely lacking. These are completely different beasts, and if the Surface is a winner just because it relies on the keyboard, I fail to see why I shouldn’t get a (far superior) laptop instead. Anyone who have tried a laptop with touch screen will tell you that it’s awkward at best, and although we all really want it to work well, it just doesn’t.

Want to know what it feels like? Just prop up your iPad on a stand, connect a bluetooth keyboard, and run an app that requires a lot of touching as well as writing. Yes it works, but it doesn’t work well.

Bill Gates and Microsoft are clinging to the notion that what was, still is. They’re gambling their flagship product on this idea, and the massive backlash should tell them that they’re doing it wrong. No amount of claiming that millions and millions of tablet users are frustrated because their gadgets aren’t behaving like a late 90s computer will change this.

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