The iPad Mini Hits Windows 8 Where It Ain’t

John Kirk / October 15th, 2012

Tim Bajarin muses on whether it was a mistake for Microsoft to focus Windows 8 on the the larger screen sizes:

When Microsoft decided to get into the tablet business again, it pretty much committed to 9- to 11-inch tablets, mostly eyeing the business market.

… it is clear that Microsoft will stay this course and will not manufacture 7-inch Windows 8 tablets directly or through a partner any time soon.

I believe this is a major judgment error by Microsoft because the plethora of 7-inch tablets coming out soon will become a huge hit with consumers.

Consumers appear to be extremely interested in an iPad mini, but I predict many business users will also fancy it…(too)

Tim goes on to make several excellent points. I would add this. I think the rumored iPad Mini will be a MONSTER hit in education. The current iPad is taking education by storm and the rumored iPad mini will turn the current torrent of iPad adoptions into a virtual flood.

Microsoft is in a very tough spot. They need to get into tablets. They are wise to go with their strength (business). But they can’t neglect education either. It may sound trite, but children are the future. Kids are already enamored with the iPhone and the iPad. Microsoft is in a dog fight to recapture this generation of tablet users. However, if they let the iPad become the de facto standard in education at the K-12 and college levels, all their efforts may be for naught. While they’re busy fighting for today’s customers, they will have already lost tomorrow’s.

John Kirk

John R. Kirk is a recovering attorney. He has also worked as a financial advisor and a business coach. His love affair with computing started with his purchase of the original Mac in 1985. His primary interest is the field of personal computing (which includes phones, tablets, notebooks and desktops) and his primary focus is on long-term business strategies: What makes a company unique; How do those unique qualities aid or inhibit the success of the company; and why don’t (or can’t) other companies adopt the successful attributes of their competitors?
  • Defendor

    There is nowhere to hide Microsofts high OS fees in a 7″ tablet price.

    With a reported near $100 to Microsoft for WinRT (Including Office), and likely ~$200 in build cost for good quality 7″ tablet and presumably some profit margin (~$100). A 7″ WinRT tablet would likely cost $400. Why would anyone choose that over Android/iOS offerings.

    WinRTs only real selling point over the competition is MS Office, which IMO offers debatable benefit on a tablet from the outset, but on a 7″ tablet, even that marginal benefit evaporates.

    Microsoft would have have to make some kind of cut down WinRT for 7″ tablets, without Office and cuts licensing significantly to perhaps $25 to have even a chance in this market.

    • FalKirk

      “WinRTs only real selling point over the competition is MS Office…” – Defendor

      In addition to MS Office, I would add a unified interface to the list of WinRT’s assets. I think Microsoft is banking heavily on the idea that having Windows 8 on desktops will familiarize their massive user base with the Windows 8 OS interface and make them willing and, hopefully, more than willing to leverage that familiarity by purchasing Windows 8 phones and tablets too.

      • Defendor

        While I agree that it is Microsofts strategy to put Metro on the desktop to attempt to leverage the Desktop market share into tablets, I don’t really see that working.

        Metro is poorly suited as a desktop UI and I expect the vast majority of people using a desktop will stick with the tradition windowed UI most, if not all, of the time.

        Having Metro be that thing on desktops that users actively try to avoid, is not going have much benefit for tablet sales.

        • FalKirk

          “WinRTs only real selling point over the competition is MS Office…While I agree that it is Microsofts strategy to put Metro on the desktop to attempt to leverage the Desktop market share into tablets, I don’t really see that working.” – Defendor

          Windows RT is behind the iPad in every way other than MS Office and the possibility of Window’s 8’s universal appeal. Microsoft is betting that those two things will overcome the iPad’s huge lead. Will that be enough? We really don’t know because we haven’t even seen the final versions of Office, Windows RT or Windows RT hardware in action and working together.

          We’ll know soon enough. October 26, is coming and it’s coming fast.

  • pawhite524

    John wrote, “However, if they let the iPad become the de facto standard in education at the K-12 and college levels, all their efforts may be for naught. While they’re busy fighting for today’s customers, they will have already lost tomorrow’s.”

    While this is undoubtably true I am asking your opinion as to whether X-Box usage by this same age group (K through college) gives MS a leg up or not. I have yet to read anything pro or con about X-Box potentially helping with Surface RT sales. I have to believe their iPod experiences helped buyers think of Apple as a trustworthy phone manufacturer back in 2007.

    BTW, fully endorse your “dialogue” with Defendor here.

    • FalKirk

      “While this is undoubtably true I am asking your opinion as to whether X-Box usage by this same age group (K through college) gives MS a leg up or not.” – pawhite524

      I honestly don’t know. I do know that Microsoft is working hard to integrate X-Box into their overall ecosystem.

      But Microsoft has always been odd in that they have great individual parts that, for some reason, never seem to work seamlessly as a whole. They’re like a team of all-stars that doesn’t play well as a team. A very hard company to figure out.

      • pawhite524

        Thanks for the response.  I am of the same opinion about Microsoft’s “team of All-Stars.”
        I have never seen the phrase “He was a great coach” when speaking of Steve Jobs but maybe it’s time we added that to his list of accomplishments, i.e., he got his All-Stars all playing on the same court at the same time with the same ball.
        Cheers!

        • FalKirk

          “I have never seen the phrase “He was a great coach” when speaking of Steve Jobs but maybe it’s time we added that to his list of accomplishments…”

          You know, I never thought of it that way. It’s hard to picture Jobs as a great coach, but he certainly did get people to perform the best work of their lives. I’ve also been very impressed that Cook has been able to keep the “team” together for over an entire year. A mass exodus following Jobs’ death would not have surprised me at all.

          • pawhite524

            Thanks, again, for the reply. I never stop being impressed with the writers from this site who take time to reply to commenters. Kudos!

            I know you have colleagues who have experiences with Steve Jobs as well as your own. Care to try out the “he was a great coach” paradigm on them? I think of coaches like Bill Parcells, Tom Laughlin, and, of course, Vince Lombardi where winning (success) was the only thing that mattered? By comparison could Tim Cook be the other type of coach, i.e., Coach K of Duke? I know none of these people beyond media reports so I am grasping at reputations only.

            All the best!

          • FalKirk

            “Care to try out the “he was a great coach” paradigm on them?” – pawhite524

            I’m interested as well. I’ll pass this exchange on and plant the seed with the others, but we’ll have to leave it up to them whether they wish to respond or not.

          • pawhite524

            Again, thanks for your time!

  • Osiris

    If i wanted a small screen i would keep using my phone. If i want a tablet i need something bigger then 7″ because of my hands size, etc. Sure people want smaller tablets, but kindle and nexus isnt that great, it is just that filler. W8 is in the sweet spot, not too big, not too small. Just right for any size demand for a PC. Apple has nowhere to go, but to the filler size tablet. Since it still is just an app driven device it isnt competing against the w8. RT yes, but after a year of RT manufacturers will go for the 7″ because well, filler size tablet!

    • FalKirk

      “W8 is in the sweet spot, not too big, not too small. Just right for any size demand for a PC.” – Osiris

      Not so sure that 16:9 was the way to go. But the market will decide.

  • I finally bought a Nexus 7. If it won’t fit in a pocket I don’t want it. The 7 inch screen is big enough and I will use it a lot more because of the small size. A 10 inch tablet would sit at home so it makes no sense for me to buy it in the first place.

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