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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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By omnicronx on 1/25/2011 1:49:19 PM , Rating: 2
This is why OEM centric platforms will always win out in the long run, and why MS is most likely far from being irrelevant. Apple will most likely continue to garner a huge share in the consumer tablet space, but eventually they are not going to be in the dominant position they are now in the grand scheme of things. The question is, who will be there to fill the gap.

Such hubris based on so little actuality. The confident reference to a "gap" that doesn't actually exist is a stroke of genius. Perhaps you failed to notice this. Looks like Apple are moving to wrap up the tablet screen production sector like they wrapped up the flash memory market a few years back. I guess the tablet OEMs are going to win just like they did with the iPod - oh wait a minute :)

Seriously, have you no understanding of how the market works? Do you seriously think that Apple has the production capacity to ever dominate the business tablet market? They barely have enough capacity to meet current CONSUMER demand.

The iPod is a CONSUMER device, that was undeniably pushed by iTunes into dominance.

iPod sales out of this consumer space are non existent, so to even compare the two makes me laugh.

The history of the iPod has absolutely no relevance when discussing the applicability of the iPad in the business space.

I also don't see why I should care about a 3.9B infusion for supply contracts, as though this has any relevance to the topic at hand. You are kidding yourself if you think that infusion is for anything else other than to increase its current production capacity as they are not meeting current CONSUMER demands.

They could spend their entire 60B in reserves and they still would have nowhere near the production capacity needed to dominate the entire market moving forward.

Sorry Tony, but history is not on your side. OEM centric platforms have shown time and time again why they make far more sense, especially in the business space.

I'm not trying to claim any product is better than another, I'm just commenting on the business model.

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