Bill Gates is wrong

by Jim Dalrymple   |   July 5th, 2012

In an interview with Charlie Rose earlier this week, Microsoft’s co-founder Bill Gates said it is “a strong possibility” that Apple may have to create a Surface-like device. Gates also said the introduction of Microsoft’s Surface tablet “is a seminal event.” I completely disagree on both counts.

By trying to combine what people do on their PC with what they want to do on a tablet, Microsoft feels it is offering the best of both worlds.The problem with that, as I’ve said before, is that people interact differently with a tablet than they do a computer. So, in reality, you don’t get the best of both worlds, but rather a mishmash of each.

The interaction people have with a touch device is something Apple understood early on and they embraced it. In doing so, they created a new way to interact with apps that includes using multi-finger gestures, as well as utilizing hardware components like accelerometers to enhance gaming.

Perhaps this isn’t what Microsoft had in mind for the Surface. It could be that Gates is referring to working on spreadsheets and word processing documents. This is why one model of the surface will allow you to use current desktop apps, like Office.

You can work with spreadsheets on the iPad too, using Apple’s iWork suite of apps. The major difference between the two is that with iWork on the iPad, you use your finger to interact with the app. You swipe, tap, touch and type all on the screen — exactly the way you would expect a touch app to work.

I’m not sure how Microsoft expects people to work with apps on the Surface. Desktop apps don’t work like touch apps, so the experience will undoubtedly be confusing. Some apps you swipe, others you using a stylus and still others you… do something else?

I still give Microsoft credit for not blindly following Apple into the tablet space, but I’m not convinced that this hybrid PC/Tablet model is the way to go.

I can see why Gates would consider the Surface such an important release. He’s betting the company on its success, and let’s face it, Microsoft hasn’t exactly been releasing successful products over the last 10 years.

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Jim Dalrymple

Jim Dalrymple has been reporting on Apple for almost 20 years and has written for many industry publications. Jim currently runs The Loop, a technology focused blog, and plays guitar in his spare time. You can follow him on Twitter or visit his Web site.
  • gjgustav

    Yeah, people are praising the Surface because they are desparate for something to compete with Apple, for whatever reasons. The questions remain:
    1. What will the ARM Surface have that will compete with the iPad? It won’t have the app library, and the keyboard cover will be no better than any of the keyboard accessories available for the iPad today.

    2. What will the Intel Surface have that will compete with a MacBook Air? The Surface will have a worse keyboard, and a smaller screen. And for corporate users, well, if they have some Windows-only software, maybe. But I can’t see that accounting for much. Otherwise they’d be using Windows tablets that are plentiful today.

    • Discit

      I don’t think it can compete with the Air. Air separates a nice touchpad and keyboard, just as portable and can run Windows or Linux on the side. To compete you’d need to carry bulky accessories.
      It can compete with the iPad though.

  • Nokuchikushi

    It’s my opinion that in offering this “best of both worlds” setup Microsoft is dooming the Metro side to failure. A developer can write software that will run on both Windows desktops and Surface Pro tablets. Why bother writing a separate Metro version for that specific percentage who bought the cheaper Surface? I predict no one will pay attention to Metro on their desktops anyway. To do most anything they’d need to enter the “Windows 7″ side. Why bother leaving? So you’ll have 99% of the activity on one side of the Windows equation. The remaining 1% will wither and die, just like the Windows Active Desktop did (of which Metro is a reinvention).

  • Lukas

    My dad’s number one problem with his iPad: no fully functional, 100% compatible version of Office. His number two problem: no easy way to do some simple crops on a bunch of pictures he took, zip them, attach them to a message along with the doc file of his article, and send everything to his paper’s editor.

    He’d love a Surface: it’s a tablet, but when he has to do actual work, it’s also a fully functional PC.

    The fundamental problem I have with Dalrymple’s argument is the following: it’s true that desktop UIs don’t make sense on a tablet. The opposite, however, hasn’t been shown. In fact, I think the simplified tablet UIs make perfect sense on a desktop computer. And that’s what Microsoft is doing: taking a simple tablet UI (Metro), and putting it on a computer that is both a tablet, and a desktop.

    I think Microsoft is on to something. I’m pretty sure my dad’s iPad will soon be replaced with a Windows 8 tablet.

    • FalKirk

      “I think the simplified tablet UIs make perfect sense on a desktop computer.”-Lukas

      This is a well put together argument, Lukas, however, I think it is wrong for the following reason.

      Studies have shown that touch devices like to be horizontal, not vertical. Horizontal touch interfaces work well in short bursts for things like kiosks, but prolonged use leads to a phenomenon called “Gorilla Arm”.

      Wikipedia defines “‘gorilla arm’ as the failure to understand the ergonomics of vertically mounted touchscreens for prolonged use. By this proposition the human arm held in an unsupported horizontal position rapidly becomes fatigued and painful, the so-called “gorilla arm”. It is often cited as a prima facie example of what not to do in ergonomics. Vertical touchscreens still dominate in applications such as ATMs and data kiosks in which the usage is too brief to be an ergonomic problem”.

      To sum up:

      - A mouse and stylus do not work well with a touch screen;
      - The finger does not work well over a prolonged period of time with a vertical screen; and
      - Intermittent switching from the desktop metaphor to the touch metaphor is a jarring, disorienting experience.

      Only time will tell if the Microsoft Surface will sell well but, if the three principles I’ve outlined, above, hold true, it seems unlikely.

      • Discit

        I agree the ergonomics are way different for phone tablet, PCs and notebook.  There are limits to iPad use but I’m not really limited as much as a notebook or PC is where you can really get your typing on.
        I like the Surface keyboard idea, like a convenient bluetooth, but I don’t see it replacing a real keyboard on the couch or on the go any more than a Bluetooth portable keyboard.  I like the ergonomics of the Mac Air on the go over all current options, though I wish it had retina and the better power and thermal system of the MacBook pros.  You can really hear the fan on the Mac Air after any heavy lifting or Flash video.  For ultimate convenience I think the Mac Air hits the sweet spot moreso than the Surface.

    • TheEternalEmperor

      True, but I can argue that my wife who uses one of the iPad office apps(I forget the name) has now discovered that she doesn’t need office.

      Further, I would argue that the opposite *has* been shown. MS Bob and we all know how that turned out. I would argue that the Metro UI won’t be a big hit on the mouse driven space. I further believe that this, coupled with the off-cycle upgrade of Windows 8 will result in Vista-like debacle and increased(if that is possible) iPad sales.

      • steve_wildstrom

        The Office-type apps for iPad quite limited a probably always will be, unless there’s a philosophical change at Apple. They are adequate for some folks. But I find that even putting together a blog post on the iPad can be challenging, mainly because 1) I am limited to working in a single window, which makes linking and quoting a tedious process and 2) limitations in handling graphics.

        • Nokuchikushi

          C’mon, you have to admit that the Office programs are overkill for 99% of what people do on them, and if they truly need that 1% of really really sophisticated functioning then they probably would want to do that sitting at a desk, in an office, with a full computer.

          • BadApple

            I have worked with several small businesses that have tried to
            remove themselves from the MS Office teat. In every case that user base was
            resistant because what the user had at home and school was a version of MS
            Office (familiarity is king and in this case the 99% rules). The other issue was that the conversion, in these
            cases to OpenOffice, was much to costly to these small businesses. Getting the
            engineering staff to start over with JavaScript in Calc after conquering VB in Excel
            was going to be a costly and lengthy undertaking. Even through the saving in
            the long run was significant the immediate impact was more than what they were
            willing to deal with. There were also compatibility issues with their venders
            and suppliers albeit to a much lesser degree. MS still rules with Office on the Windows platform much the dismay of the Apple fanboys! Honestly I just do not see Apple making a dent in that market anytime soon. They just do not have the install base of OSX to fight the over whelming number of Windows users. Oh, and an owner of one of the businesses had an iPad. He wanted to test it’s capability before purchasing them for employees. We’ll he was not impressed by it and finally give it to his son to, and these are his words “to play with as it is a cool toy”.

          • steve_wildstrom

            99% is too high–probably more like 75%–but it’s certainly true that most people don’t really need Office. Those who do are mainly professionals of one sort or another and they typically need it very badly. For example, I work a lot with redlined Word documents and I don’t know of and iPad app that handles these properly. There’s also no proper SharePoint app for iOS. These are things I would really like on a tablet, but it remains to be seen how good the Microsoft implementations for Win RT will be.

        • TheEternalEmperor

          Maybe, but they also get the job done for, I suspect, many folks. Look, my main dev box is Win 7 x64 and I run 3 monitors, but when I am not on my dev box, I use my iPad for 98% of my non-desktop needs.

          Many folks will get buy with the features in those apps.

          • steve_wildstrom

            This is the key point. I too depend on desktops and laptops for key work, but I use the iPad a lot more of the time. I just did a companion post on our growing tendency to use devices specialized for the task at hand.

      • BadApple

        Really your going to bring up MS Bob! I guess the Lisa debacle is all forgotten about and forgiven by you fanboys.

        • TheEternalEmperor

          So you have to resort to insults? You cannot discuss like a reasonable person? That’s what happen, a normally good site attracts those looking to argue instead of discuss.

          • DroidSlave300

            I didn’t really see BadApple’s comment as an insult, unless it’s an insult in the same way that your original comment about Bob is. He didn’t do any name calling, he simply pointed out that both Apple and Microsoft have produced garbage in the past. Lets move on and hope neither produce garbage going forward. I for one believe that competition is good for the end user and the marketplace in general. I don’t really like any of the companies that do the work, they are all looking to make money and work hard at shoving their products down my throat. What I want is more options, I don’t want to get stuck in a single platform for everything I do. If I want a music player and the iPod is better than anything else out there then I want to use that, but I want it to work seemlessly with my desktop, tablet and phone without being locked into the Apple family if I find that a competing product better serves my purpose. Equally, I don’t want to be locked into a tablet platform just because I may choose to use Windows on my desktop, I just want my choices to work together whatever platform I choose to go with on any device.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_G6VVWF2ONHKQ6S26IQUWWTOMWA Wolfgang Mozart

          Hey the Lisa brought us the Mac, which brought, well, ALL OSes FROM THAT POINT ON IN HISTORY. But hey, you are trolling, sorry to dissapoint.

          No, we haven’t forgotten Bob, but perhaps you would be well to remember it.

    • FalKirk

      “My dad’s number one problem with his iPad: no fully functional, 100% compatible version of Office. His number two problem: no easy way to do some simple crops on a bunch of pictures he took, zip them, attach them to a message along with the doc file of his article, and send everything to his paper’s editor.”-Lukas

      As an aside, I think problem number two can be done on an iPad right now and I’m not at all sure that Microsoft’s proposed solution for Word is going to satisfactorily solve your dad’s number one problem either. We’ll have to wait and see.

      • steve_wildstrom

        No. 2 can sort of be done an an iPad, but not easily. But frankly, what you are talking about there is really laptop work. We really know very little about Metro software, especially Office, at this point, so it is very hard to assess Surface’s capabiltiies (yes, the x86 version of Surface can run full, existing desktop apps, but then it’s just sort of a Tablet PC with today;s software.)

        • TheEternalEmperor

          What’s funny? I hate laptops. My software development work is done on a desktop with three monitors. I also like tablets. I guess I like the extremes: give me full desktop power or give me hyper-portability so I can “lay back.”

          I tend to find laptops useful for the occasions when I have to go on site, but I’ve always found them a bad compromise…for me. This is not an indictment of the form, just my preferences. They generally aren’t as powerful or flexible as a desktop and don’t travel as easily or last as long as a tablet. The keyboards for my large hands are too small.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_G6VVWF2ONHKQ6S26IQUWWTOMWA Wolfgang Mozart

          Wrong Steve. Why not stick to what you know and quit spreading lies? Any iPad right out of the box does cropping, no software required. It’s drop dead simple! Zoom the image. Press the lock and home buttons. Done. Use your brain.

          That not good enough for you though? Download iPhoto or any of literally scores of apps do to this, far too many to count. The crop button is in the lower left, after pushing ‘EDIT’.

          From there you can select and export them. But like I said earlier, it makes no sense to ‘zip’ them (compress them) unless you want to make on attachment. All you will save is the extraneous space at the end of the block. JPG is already LOSSY compression. Zip isn’t going to improve on that in any significant way whatsoever.

          Stick to your PeeCee laptop Steve. No one is going to buy Windoze on a ‘tablet’ nonsense that MSFT has been pushing over and over and over. Einstein said the very definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. I think that is apt here.

          • steve_wildstrom

            First. Wolfgang, keep it civil or you are going to be blocked. This isn;t YouTube . We love disagreement but we hate name-calling. Don;t call someone a liar simply because you disagree or even because you think he is wrong.

            I know you can crop on an iPad or iPhone. But the entire workflow the original commenter was talking about is a lot harder on iOS device than on a Mac or Windows.

            It’s true that zipping a bunch of JPEGs will not yield any additional compression. But, frankly, these days zipping is rarely about compression. It’s a handy way to bundle a bunch of files that can then be handled as a single attachment (or other form of transmission.) In my world it is done all the time, purely for convenience.

            By the way, this is being written on a Mac, as is most of what I write. And if you think Einstein actually said that, find a citation, Many others have tried and failed.

            And again, we welcome your comments, but stow the nastiness.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_G6VVWF2ONHKQ6S26IQUWWTOMWA Wolfgang Mozart

            Sorry, I just don’t see what is so difficult about cropping photos on the iPad. And yeah, it’s not a graphics production machine. Maybe this is a good idea for an iPad app. However, there are already 10 titles with ‘CROP’ in the title. You can look though those and see if your assumptions are correct or not. I’d suggest trying to remain at least somewhat open minded about what can and can’t be done, and not being so dismissive, particularly when there really is no reason for it.

            Can you kindly explain why you apparently think cropping on an iPad is not easy? Because IMHO, it is extremely easy. You can argue about batch cropping as much as you like, but again, no more difficult necessarily on an iPad, and most photos deserve to be cropped individually when you can do it in a matter of a few seconds per photo.

    • Nokuchikushi

      QuickOffice Pro is a fully functional, 100% compatible substitute for Office and works directly with most online storage such as Google Docs and Dropbox. And it is an excellent program. And it’s only $20. Besides, I find that most people are unduly addicted to Office, especially Word. Unless you’re doing something really sophisticated that requires a table of contents, mail merges and really complicated stuff, any number of text apps would do just fine. Many free or cheap programs will open and save as Word documents – including on the Mac – but people will open Word out of habit to make a shopping list. It makes no sense to me. Since I’ve started using Google Docs – which is free – I’ve had little or no use for anything Office.

      • Dan Sutton

        Hmmm… I have a feeling that QuickOffice Pro isn’t quite as useful once you bring it into an enterprise environment. How good is it with Visio documents, or Publisher files, for example? How about spreadsheets which are connected to SQL sources via ODBC? These are the sorts of things which corporations use all the time; nobody uses Word to do mailmerges any more: that sort of thing is handled by backend daemons stuffed into the process space of an SQL Server or something like that, or by SharePoint or whatever.

        • Nokuchikushi

          You may be correct, in a way. QuickOffice takes care of Word, Excel and Powerpoint files and formats, including Sharepoint. Publisher is not included but – really, Publisher? There are much better tools from Adobe and Quark. I wasn’t aware that Visio was part of any Office suite, and it looks like it’s not according to the Office website. Not that it’s not used a lot with Office tools, but do you really think it’s going to be comfortable to work on Publisher and Visio documents on a 10″ screen with a makeshift, tiny keyboard? Especially when you’re in an enterprise environment? Talk about not using the right tool for the job… The point is, if even a small percentage of people chose their tablet for its ability to work on Visio and full-fledge enterprise office, then MS would have sold a lot more of their tablets by now. It’s not like they haven’t been available. They have been. For a long time. But not many buy them because people don’t choose tablets to work on Visio. They do that at the office, on a real desktop.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_G6VVWF2ONHKQ6S26IQUWWTOMWA Wolfgang Mozart

        You might clue Dad into the fact that it’s completely pointless to ‘zip’ a jpg. Also, you might show him that there are hundreds of apps for working with photos. Try iPhoto for iPad, for example.

        • who_r_dem

          Notice Nokuchikushi said file(s) plural. I know I despise receiving emails with 32 jpegs attached directly. ZIP them up, one nice neat file……

          • who_r_dem

            Meant LuKas.

    • Discit

      You’re talking about laptop work. The air is just as portable and more than capable of more than that. You can also run side by side Windows or Linux on an air. At $999 entry people who get a Surface will look at the Airs as a nice upgrade.

  • FalKirk

    Steve Jobs compared traditional PCs to trucks and tablets to cars. This is not meant to be a one-to-one analogy (please don’t look up current vehicle sales numbers) but I think Microsoft’s Surface may be the equivalent of a 4-wheel drive car.

    Four-whell drive is extremely valuable to some and it sells well, but it will never enjoy the the mass market status of the traditional car. Similarly, even though the Surface will prove invaluable to some, it – like the 4-wheel drive vehicle – will never subsume or devour the tablet market the way that Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer and Microsoft hope that it will.

    • http://twitter.com/dougscripts dougscripts

      “I think Microsoft’s Surface may be the equivalent of a 4-wheel drive car.”

      Wrong. The Surface will be like the Batmobile, which, of course, everyone owns due to its simplicity.

      • FalKirk

        Ha! You’ve got me there, dougscripts. Your analogy is much better than mine. :)

      • Rich

        “The Surface will be like the Batmobile.” Not a bad analogy, and Steve Ballmer may have to hide in his office and stay off the stage for awhile.

        • Dan Sutton

          Steve Ballmer should never be allowed near a stage. Anyone remember that incident when he was jumping up and down, flinging his arms around, making gorilla noises? (XP release?)

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_G6VVWF2ONHKQ6S26IQUWWTOMWA Wolfgang Mozart

            He does that at every conference, doesn’t he? LOL

  • russell

    I disagree with the article and most of the comments. I’m interested in what Microsoft have created in the Surface and what they propose generally with Windows 8. Maybe it will all fall apart but until we all have a go with one of these devices or a final version of Windows 8 it’s impossible to tell.

  • terpacks

    I have to admit, the prospect of being able to plug an iPad into a docking station and use it like a MacBook is a very appealing concept, though. I’m very curious to see how the UX develops in regard to controlling the television with an iOS device, also. These paradigms are all shifting quite rapidly and I really believe it’s far too early to declare anyone’s concept the ultimate winner. Apple has a tremendous lead and is doing incredible work that I absolutely love, but I’m glad other companies and developers are trying new methods and concepts.

    • Rich

      That’s fine, but with the Surface, Microsoft seems to have convinced themselves that 2 + 2 + 2 equals 187.

  • DrewNusser

    I like the idea of the hybrids running Windows 8, but I’m not a big fan of the Surface itself. What if I want to hold it on my lap but still use the keyboard? Nope. I’m still excited to be able to develop, test, and play my games all on one device (for multiple platforms too with emulators), but I’m going to wait to see if Asus comes out with one similar their Transformer series of Android tablets, but with an Intel chip.

  • Heath

    Lets be honest. It’s a decent concept (The new tablet).. Consumers will eat this up and I’d be surprised if it ISN’T somewhat a success..
    Your total “disagreement” just re-assures your bias.

    • FalKirk

      Let’s be honest. You post speaks in terms of unsupported conclusions, provides no facts and no rationale for your objection to the author’s position and relies solely upon the bizarre contention that if someone disagrees with you that is per se proof of bias.

  • Boggled

    Does no one accept that a tablet is a computer?

  • jhilgeman

    “Microsoft hasn’t exactly been releasing successful products over the last 10 years.”
    I’m no MS fanboy, but XP, Windows 7, and several releases of Office have all come out in the last 11 years (XP was in 2001), and I know those have been VERY successful products. On the server-side, just about all of their main products (Windows Server+IIS, SQL Server, Exchange, etc…) have done very well, too. They also have released multiple versions of Visual Studio, many different well-reviewed peripherals (I’m more of a Logitech guy, but I owned several pieces of MS hardware, all of which performed well)… Are you basing that statement on the rather few bad apples (e.g. Vista) ?

    I will give Apple props for having a good focus on UI, but this article is so lopsided that it’s just another reason why TechRepublic should have more controls on their authors so that they can keep balanced reviewers and kick the fanboys back out to their blogs.

    • Rich

      If the interest is in balance, you need to mention Vista, Bing, Kin, and Windows Phone 7 on the negative side. Microsoft has had little success in mobile, which is becoming (or already is) the largest sector of computing.

    • msfan

      you are talking about tools for professionals, the guy who wrote that article is talking on behalf of all regular users. He is not impressed with microsoft because he does not know it.

    • msfanboysuperdooper

      Huh? XBOX… and so much more… I’d expect better from someone with such a fine beard… at least a little research. This artical smells like Apple Fanboy to me. I bet your dad’s not got fudgy pudgy fingers like my dad, who’s also a Lion Tamer and an Elephant Wrestler by the way, but he’s also into his spreadhsheets so can wait to get his fudgy pudgy fingers on a keyboard and stylus…

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_G6VVWF2ONHKQ6S26IQUWWTOMWA Wolfgang Mozart

      XP was just NT with some parts of the interface ripped off from OS X. They even called it XP (after OS X) and even called their ‘new’ interface ‘Luna’ after OS X’s original work, ‘Aqua’.

      Windows 7 was just a patch to the HORRIBLE failure that was Vista. You can’t even UPGRADE to W7 without going though Vista though!

      Office? Geez, I can’t believe you THINK they are innovating with that. They just rearrange the menus, or replace them altogether with that idiotic ribbon.

      MSFT have been coasting since IBM handed them the monopoly they didn’t want. I guess they really loved the old mainframes. I think MSFT are destined to do this with the PC. They love it so much already, they can’t innovate away from it. They are even trying to put Windows, a product that no normal person actually likes, let alone most of the ‘technologists’ out there who insist they ‘mostly’ use Linux and only go into MSFT ‘solutions’ for, you know, any COMMERCIAL software one would need to use roughly 90% of the time.

      • steve_wildstrom

        Your history is not very good. Windows XP and OS X were developed in the same timeframe with neither knowing much about what the other was doing. I saw conceptual drawings of the XP interface when Aqua was still a gleam in Avie Tevanian’s eye. It was derived from a much more radical UI done by Steve Capps, who had designed key pieces of the Mac OS UI, and Joe Belfiore, who now runs Windows Phone and was largely responsible for Metro.

        The claim that Microsoft has beren coasting since 1980 ignores an awful lot of critical history.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_G6VVWF2ONHKQ6S26IQUWWTOMWA Wolfgang Mozart

          Copying, not innovating. Bullying the innovators. Stifling competition, inventing new ways to extend the monopoly (FUD, Embrace and Extend, Vaporware)–you’re right, they were pretty busy. Unfortunately, they never really worked on improving any product. ‘Good enough’ is their mantra. This is because the end user isn’t MS’s customer–Dell, HP, Lenovo, Corporate IT, etc.. are the customers of MSFT.

  • test

    “Microsoft hasn’t exactly been releasing successful products over the last 10 years.” Really?

  • Sambhaji R. Patil

    How

  • W. van Dam

    Actually I think you would agree with Bill Gates if you consider more closely what he said. What essentially is a ‘Surface-like’ product? I like to evaluate products based on what I can do with them, not by looking at the technological specifications. And from that perspective I would say a ‘Surface-like’ tablet is a tablet on which the user can consume content, but also efficiently create it. Content creation has always been the focus of MS tablets (look back at their early concepts).

    The iPad allows for some content creation, as remarked in the earlier comments, but Steve Jobs himself pointed out that the iPad shines in the area of content consumption, and not so much in content creation.

    To also use a car analogy: You can use a station wagon (iPad) as a cargo truck (laptop), and it will do for moving small loads, but you’d be more happy with a cargo truck if you need to move larger loads. What MS is trying to do with its current day Surface tablet is to take the chasis of a station wagon and use it to build a cargo truck.

    The differences introduced by MS, the bulk hardware mainly, impede on the consumption experience of their tablet. Of course Apple would never make a iPad like that!

    But both software and hardware performance are subjected to improvements over time. What this means is that in time you do not need a tablet that is actually a disguised laptop to get the performance and software you need for content creation.

    Once that point is reached, I suspect Apple will indeed start to make ‘Surface like’ tablets. Keep in mind that this meant in the sense that Apple replaces its macbook lineup with tablets resembling the current day iPad in terms of weight and portability, etc., but with an effective content creation performance as you would expect from any new macbook.

    Also, when they do, Apple will probably again be heralded as great innovator and having understood the needs of their customers. And not without good cause. Timing is a key aspect of success with such kind of innovation, and also very very difficult to get right. It is also something Apple is quite good at.

  • Martin

    I think I’d prefer to have a single device that can act as both a regular laptop when I need it to or a tablet when I need it to, rather than carrying around both a tablet and a laptop, especially when travelling. Just because the device can be both a tablet or a laptop does not mean I have to use it as both at the same time. I do need the flexibility of a laptop sometimes, but sometimes also would like the simplicity of a tablet for when I just need to quickly do something such as look up something on the web or read the news. I know there’s integration among many devices these days, but still having everything on one device is so much nicer. I bring my laptop to work, and do my work on a laptop, and bring it with me most places. If it could also act as a tablet as well, then that would be great. I already carry around a phone and a laptop, and carrying a third thing would just be annoying. A lot of people have a job where they have to use a computer, and more and more workplaces are letting people do their work on their own devices, although there are still many who can’t due to security concerns. Maybe if tablets could do as much as laptops could do I’d carry around a tablet instead, but at the moment, while tablets can do a lot, there are still many things lacking (I’m talking about the software). I own a MacBook Pro now, but I do think the Surface, from what I’ve seen, looks pretty interesting. But I think I am a little biased since I’m a sucker for come-back stories.

  • Doug My Self A Hole

    Long, Long, Long time ago Microsoft was heading toward greatness but then it became all about the dollar. Most companies follow the same path. They at one time did something really well then decide to try and do everything and your mediocre at nothing. When did we become a country of mediocre?

    • Dan Sutton

      In 1958. That’s when events stopped being history and started being pop culture.

      • Bob

        1958? Let’s see IBM 1400s (first mass market mainframe) 1960-61 followed by 360s/370s, man on the moon in 69, early PC boards 70s, mass marketed PCs 70s-80s (companies like Radio Shack, Commodore, Atari, et al) before the advent of the IBM PC. Then you get into the area of “miracle drugs”, other areas of consumer electronics, ad nauseum. What brought on the “pop culture” was the “tune-in, drop out” crowd – led by so called “egg-head” professors, who were full of themselves, but hadn’t a clue about the real world. Unfortunately, the country is paying the price of that influence today.

        • Bob

          This should be the first post and the “shades of 1984″ should have followed.

      • Bob

        I should add “shades of 1984″ and “Brave New World”. We have too many rewriting History and ignoring accomplishments in all fields, not only in the distant past of the country, but also the near past. I’ll leave it go at that, as this is not a political topic board.

  • http://twitter.com/AdamBenoit Adam Benoit

    “I can see why Gates would consider the Surface such an important
    release. He’s betting the company on its success, and let’s face it,
    Microsoft hasn’t exactly been releasing successful products over the
    last 10 years.”

    How long will it take for people to understand Bill Gates cashed out of Microsoft and has Nothing to do with the company’s direction anymore???

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_G6VVWF2ONHKQ6S26IQUWWTOMWA Wolfgang Mozart

      Uh, then why is he pontificating about it? The guy was clueless, except as a negotiator. Read his book, ‘The Road Ahead’. The guy could NOT have been MORE wrong. And, 640K was not enough memory when it said it was all anyone would ‘EVER’ need. My Mac at that time had a MB. ;-)

  • Dan Sutton

    I think the software will even it out: it’ll become obvious after a time which UI approach is favoured by users, at which point the software companies will adopt it.

    • Discit

      It’s been obvious for over a year as Win phone 7 and Metro came out. Most don’t like it as much as iOS or Android. That’s why they bolted it onto Win7 to make Win8. Get desktop users to use it and they may give it more of a chance. It’s been out for a while and MS is abondoning the few users that tried it with no Win8 upgrades.

  • dk504

    Of course Bill Gates is wrong. When has he been right about anything other than strong arming computer companies to carry the software his programmers created? He got rich off doing that not creating products like Steve Jobs did.

    Of course that’s why everyone hates Gates, he thinks he is Jobs.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_G6VVWF2ONHKQ6S26IQUWWTOMWA Wolfgang Mozart

      Totally agree, wish I had posted this!

  • Pete

    Of course people interact differently with a tablet, up until now they haven’t had any other choice. Personally I was really disappointed with what the iPad turned out to be, despite loving my iPhone.
    I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on Win 8 tablets.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1418200731 Stoney Heflin

    Well he is bill gates. You know the guy who revolutionized the industry? You on the other hand are….. not.. so I think I will go ahead and respect his opinion and dismiss yours..