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Microsoft talks trash about the iPad's business capabilities, in slide form.  (Source: Microsoft via ZDNet)
Redmond's finest hopes to score some tablet business from the corporate sector

After a long road, Microsoft is finally ready to enter the tablet market in earnest during 2011 with a number of Windows 7 tablets running on Intel Atom system-on-a-chip processors.  To date, Microsoft has only released one high profile Windows tablet -- the HP Slate 500 -- and by "high profile" we mean "sold 5,000 units at launch."

Microsoft obviously hopes for much bigger things, with rival Apple selling millions of iPads each month.  But it has its work cut out for it with the impending release of the Apple iPad 2.

In an attempt to counter the iPad's sizable market lead, Microsoft is planning to attack it where it's weakest -- on the business side.  The company has been passing about a slide deck to its partners entitled "Microsoft Commercial Slate PCs".

The slides brag that Windows 7 can do things that Apple's iOS 4.x can't do well, such as "provide remote assistance", "deploy LOB applications", and "secure corporate IP".  Clearly Microsoft plans on leveraging the fact that Windows 7 is a more secure OS, is richer in business software, and (with the help of Intel's chips) offers superior virtualization/networking capabilities.

A recent report by Seattle's TechFlash pointed out that if iPads were factored in to computer sales reports, Apple would jump ahead of Dell to become the world's second largest seller of personal computers.

But its new campaign just might work to some extent.  Many businesses have clearly been interested in the tablet craze, but have been wary of handing out hard-to-manage iPads to the staff.  If Microsoft plays its hand right and manages to offer a decent selection of affordable options, it may just win these slow adopters over.  The only big risk is the fact that Windows 7 tablets are expected to get worse battery life due to the fact that they use Intel, rather than ARM processors.

The real question for Microsoft is what to do next.  The company has to focus on developing a next generation Windows operating system focused on the tablet, and has to try to efficiently offer legacy software support for its newly adopted ARM architecture CPUs in order to close the battery life gap with its rivals.  But it also has to consider whether a full-fledged Windows environment is well suited for its next generation tablet OS, or whether it would be better off adopting its non-traditional Windows Phone 7/Zune OS in a larger form factor.

Microsoft's plans for this year is looking increasingly clear, but its long term plans are far less so.



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RE: woot!
By acer905 on 1/25/2011 12:37:11 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, having a fully functional computer that you can easily carry around and write notes on, play simply finger games, and watch videos on the go is insane...

Especially if the thing has a usb port, or maybe bluetooth, and runs an OS that you can plug any wireless keyboard/mouse combo into and get all the abilities of a traditional computer...

Nobody would ever be able to use one of those...

Its not like it could... (gasp) replace your existing computers, instead of simply being a toy. The Slate has one real disadvantage... its a bit underpowered in comparison to what it could be (IE using the Z540 instead of the much more powerful D525).


RE: woot!
By Luticus on 1/25/2011 12:54:15 PM , Rating: 2
Thank you! Someone here knows what i'm talking about. Seriously the only real disadvantage to windows on a tablet is the battery life and Microsoft is trying to help rectify that by supporting more processor platforms.

Really all you need to do to effectively use windows 7 on a tablet is enlarge the buttons/interface items which are smaller (this is supported natively and can be done with little to no effort). This makes it thumb friendly. on top of that Microsoft has it's own built in software layer that is GREAT, finger/thumb friendly, and doesn't slow the PC down like the garbage all the 3rd party vender's keep trying to load, think Windows media center!


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