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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: What a lot of hokum in one place.
By Tony Swash on 1/25/2011 2:28:51 PM , Rating: 1
ust out of curiosity, first i shall poll the readers:

1) How many people have seen an iPad in real life, being used by actual people, outside of stores selling them. I for one have seen one. It was about 2 weeks ago.

2) Of the people you see using them, what are they doing. The person i saw was playing a simple game.

3) How many people, estimate, would be able to fully replace their home/work computer with an iPad?

The problem that i see with the iPad, and the tablets that it has inspired, is in the approach it takes. Being a content viewing device, it is not truly suited to replace a traditional computer. Think of a college student, who instead of buying a laptop or netbook bought an iPad. they would be forced to go to their schools library in order to write a lengthy report that makes up most of their grade for a class.

There are many people who spend more time inputting content into a computer than they do viewing it. For them, the limited abilities of a content viewing device would cause problems, especially if it costs as much as their content input device.

The idea behind the Slate, and the reason its geared for business, is as a mobility content input device. This may not be the thing that sells millions of units to the average masses, but it fills a needed role. At your desk, you dock your tablet, giving it keyboard and mouse functionality, and perhaps a larger screen. Then when you leave your desk, you pick it up and keep working on it with the touch interface.

It is not a fancy new idea, it is the evolution of the portable computing. years ago someone slapped together a device with integrated keyboard, mouse, and screen and created an expensive, yet mobile computer. yet, many people didn't really like using the built in mouse, so at their desk they had another.

I for one am hopeful that, just like laptops, tablet computers will evolve, become more powerful, and have longer battery lives, so that they will be able to phase out their predecessor.

A content viewing device can never do that.

That's a tremendously well presented and thoughtful argument as to why reality is not reality.

Unfortunately for you reality is reality.

Apple sold 17 million iPads in the first nine months. With a version one device.

They will sell three times that number in the next twelve months.

Reading your post is like listening to someone standing waist deep in a river offering a rational sounding argument as why their feet are not wet and cannot possibly be wet.

All the other posts here saying the iPad is a useless piece of crap that cannot possible catch on or replace the old style computer just seem ridiculous in the face of Apple's sales figures. Hands on hearts guys at it's launch how many iPads did you think Apple would sell in the first nine months?

Does the fact that reality seems to conflict so deeply with your inner mental picture of the world suggest to you that one or the other need adjusting so that they might fit? I will leave you to guess which one needs adjusting :)

RE: What a lot of hokum in one place.
By Pirks on 1/25/2011 2:52:26 PM , Rating: 2
iPad is a useless piece of crap that cannot possible catch on or replace the old style computer just seem ridiculous in the face of Apple's sales figures
Apple sold just a few percent of whatever amount of PCs was sold and self-assembled in the world, so looks like Apple's tiny sales figures (compared to PC/parts sales) only prove that iPad is useless toy that can't even exist without PC and its iTunes on top of ol' trusty Windows.

"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet.  A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

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