Editorial

Will Microsoft learn its lessons from its failed Tablet PC?

Remember Comdex? Yes, 10 years ago the computer trade show was the place to be for companies to introduce new PC hardware. Comdex is now just a memory, a victim in some ways of the Internet boom and bust that happened in the early part of the last decade.  At the 2001 edition of the trade show, held 10 years ago this very week, Microsoft co-founder and chairman Bill Gates made a keynote address that, among other things, introduced the public to what the company called the Tablet PC.

In Microsoft's official press release that centered on Gates' speech, it stated flat out, "Gates predicted that the Tablet would become the most popular form of PC within five years." Gates showed off working prototypes of the Tablet PC design, running the just launched Windows XP operating system. The prototypes came from PC makers like Acer, Fujitsu, Toshiba and even Compaq (later to be acquired by HP).

Microsoft's Tablet PC version of Windows XP was also introduced at the same time. In Microsoft's own FAQ about the variant of the Windows XP operating system, it admitted that the Tablet Edition had a number of additional features including an on screen keyboard, support for speech recognition, screen rotation from landscape to portrait and more.

Consumers were first able to purchase PCs with Microsoft's tablet design in 2002. But the truth is that the design never caught on with consumers. PCs with the Tablet design tended to cost more than comparable notebooks with the normal physical keyboard and non-touch screen monitor. Another issue is that Microsoft thought that people would use an electronic pen or stylus to access the Tablet PCs user interface. They didn't seem to think at the time that the human finger was the best way to handle a touch screen UI.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, was the fact that despite the many additional features put into Windows XP Tablet Edition, the truth was that Microsoft tried to turn a PC operating system, made to work with a keyboard and mouse, into something that it wasn't designed to do. It didn't want to make the effort to create something that was made for the Tablet PC from the ground up.

Cut to a few years later and the now legendary shut down of Microsoft's Courier project. Were there problems with the design of this twin screen tablet device? Sure. Perhaps the biggest one was that the team thought of the Courier as a companion to a notebook, rather than a replacement for it. It also apparently didn't have basic PC applications such as an email client. The end result was that Gates wasn't impressed.

The shut down of the Courier project happened in 2010, around the same time that Apple launched the iPad. Remember the jokes in the press about how the iPad was just a really big iPhone? But Apple CEO Steve Jobs knew that the hardware and software that were developed for the iPhone could be used to create a touch screen tablet PC that could truly serve as a replacement to a notebook for most people. It didn't hurt that the iPad had a price that was around the same as most Windows-based PC notebook. The end result? Apple created a new consumer electronic product line with the iPad. It's sold millions of units and generated lots of copycat products from others.

Now Microsoft is saying that its upcoming Windows 8 operating system will be a full-fledged touch screen experience for tablet PCs but will also work with the typical keyboard and mouse controls for desktop and notebook PCs.

Sound familiar?

We know that Microsoft wants in on the growing tablet market. It certainly doesn't want to be left out of Apple's party (and to a smaller extend from Google's Android as well). Our main concern is that Microsoft is trying once again to have it all. It's making its new Windows 8 operating system as one that will work for nearly everything.

If that kind of a system really worked, then Apple would replace its Mac OS operating system with one that was similar to the iOS system. But they didn't. Apple knows that PCs and touch screen devices are different. Trying to meld the two together just doesn't work.

The odd thing is that Microsoft already has a touch screen OS that on the surface would work perfectly with a tablet device: Windows Phone 7. Microsoft has been promoting the heck out of the OS in the past several weeks thanks in part to the "Mango" update that added a number of cool new features to the OS.

But Microsoft seems to think that Windows Phone 7 should only be used on phone, not on a tablet product. According to Microsoft's thinking, the tablet should only have a PC interface. Yet it would not be a massive stretch to alter Windows Phone 7 to work on a large tablet device. In fact it may be a better fit than Windows 8 would be.

But at the moment, Microsoft seems to be going down the same road as it did with the Windows XP Tablet Edition. It wants to have its OS cake and eating it, too.

While the failure of Microsoft's Tablet PC isn't totally Windows XP's fault, Microsoft's lack of vision for the product was certainly a huge factor. We hope that the company has learned some lessons from the past 10 years; not just from its own mistakes but from Apple's successes. While Windows 8 will almost certainly be a success for the desktop and notebook crowd, the tablet PC business could turn out to be harder to crack. Microsoft did make a good move in deciding to allow ARM designed processors to work with Windows 8. But will it be enough? In the coming months we should learn if Windows 8 for tablets will be a success or just another lost opportunity for Microsoft to expand the OS beyond its typical borders.

Image via Wikipedia

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I really don't see your point here. Yes iPads are selling a lot but that is only because MS has lagged behind in the tablet market. But! im sure there are tons of people out there that prefer to network all their systems through Microsoft that only bought an iPad because there is no other better choice. I am one of them I have an iPad 2 but don't think for a second that if Windows 8 was already in a tablet I wouldn't have made the switch. In fact, my iPad is nothing but a transitional device that will be replaced by a Windows 8 tablet as soon as it comes out. I know there is little that can be done in an iPad or any other small tablet in terms of productivity. But couple a tablet with a full fleshed MS Office, and a bluetooth keyboard and say bye bye to my iPad. I am not saying here that Office is all that a tablet needs to be productive but there are lots more apps in Windows that I would like my iPad to have and I don't.

Windows XP, when it came out outsold any other OS in its time and now its just old but that doesn't make it a failure. I still see tons of people working in hospitals, construction, and mail delivery using windows XP tablet edition all the time although I don't see any of them using Android or iOS tablets. Why because the actual generation of tablet device were only meant for internet consumption and for recreational purposes. This why taking notes in an iPad sucks so bad when using your finger. It wasn't built for that purpose, and that's ok but that doesn't mean a more productive choice cannot compete.

Apple is good at that producing devices for entretainment. Microsoft is good at making software that enable others make money with it. It seems like everybody has found their place in society. Isn't that why apple might be considering canceling their Apple Mac Pro line? who knows. Money talks and if I can get a tablet that can entertain me and help me make money, its a done deal.

Edited by trashoner, Nov 14 2011, 1:55am :

Apparently not after MS-Dos on the Gridpad or the Windows for Pen while Apple had Newton. Microsoft has had misses with Pads -- long before this one-- People seem to forget they were first with tablets however Apple Marketed it better.

Things people forget about tablets.
Gridpad from 1989 ran Microsoft DOS-
Windows for Pen Computing in 1992 ran Windows 3.1 (Compaq Concerto) and was also in color unlike the Newton that was Black / grey and clear.
Which could be disconnected from the keyboard and also could be hand touched and had handwriting recognition.
1993 Apple released Newton. (yes some will say didn't apple have in 1979 a pad-- however it had to be connected to an Apple computer in order to function as a PC- it only saved your data as a picture image) so no computing the computer would take that image and convert it to data.

So I guess Microsoft dropped the ball again on their tablets.

People seem to forget that back when Gates made his prediction there was no such thing as a mass market capacitive touch display, and really that's all that the iPad has on the tablets of a 10 years ago--a display that lets you use your fingers like a 3 year old.

bj55555 said,
People seem to forget that back when Gates made his prediction there was no such thing as a mass market capacitive touch display, and really that's all that the iPad has on the tablets of a 10 years ago--a display that lets you use your fingers like a 3 year old.

And bill also made the 640k RAM claim too.
Big deal.
At the time he made the prediction the ecosystem was very different.
Turns out that capacitive panels won over time.
I like people who learn from their mistakes.

I dont think microsoft are the ones to blame here. This was 10 years ago. And its been less than 2 years since the ipad was introduced. I would consider the microsoft attempts as valid predecessors of the current tablets. But i blame it all on the hardware vendors. if the tablet pc hadnt failed 10 years ago, who knows, maybe the UI would have evolved to the touch screen UIs we know today. but no, because the hardware has always sucked.

now MS seems to be taking a different approach... forcing the vendors to follow some design specifications with the goal of delivering a good experience.

While it never took off in the way it was expected the conv-tablets are very useful devices, number 1 device on my wishlist is an Lenovo X220T.....

And 'Remember the jokes in the press about how the iPad was just a really big iPhone?'
Yep I do, and Yep it is.

The comparisons between what happened then and now are too close to ignore in this whole Mac VS PC debate Android aside for the moment. Microsoft grabbed the GUI from Apple and made it all the rage for computers to be owned by the common man. All because Apple did not execute with price etc. etc. etc.

NOW, Apple grabs the tablet from MS and makes IT all the rage for tablets to be owned by the common man.

THEN Google comes along lifting IP from the both of them in the process to make their inroads in to the consumer world. MS sues, Apple vows to fight until death, and this fall Best Buy is PACKED with consumers that are still a LOT more confused about all the things that us GEEKS seem to have a pretty good handle on. From the looks of Best Buy yesterday, and all those Android tablets and phones scattered all over the floor I would say that Microsoft has dug themselves a pretty big fat giant hole at least for this XMAS season. And Apple seems to be ignoring what Google has accomplished as well.

This season MS better be concentrating on the XBOX, and next season there BETTER be a bunch of Win8, AFFORDABLE tablets on that floor, or their BETTER be a MIcrosoft Store in my town.

As for the XBOX, from the look of the beta preview that I was sitting in front of last night, as an MS fan, I'm pretty stoked, to say the least. Tighten that thing up a little before letting it loose on the consumer though.

JF

If MS is trying to make Windows-8 work well for both laptops/notebooks/desktops AND for the touchy-feely tablets; both will fail. The form factor and usage are almost mutually exclusive, so how can one Operating System work very well for both?

TsarNikky said,
If MS is trying to make Windows-8 work well for both laptops/notebooks/desktops AND for the touchy-feely tablets; both will fail. The form factor and usage are almost mutually exclusive, so how can one Operating System work very well for both?

Because most laptops sold will look like the ASUS Transformer Prime. Tablet on top that can be docked with a keyboard and turned into a regular laptop. Or docked with a large screen and turned into a desktop. And the benefit is that all of your data is always with you.

That concept is so powerful, that it literally makes the iPad look like a child's toy.

dagamer34 said,
Because most laptops sold will look like the ASUS Transformer Prime. Tablet on top that can be docked with a keyboard and turned into a regular laptop. Or docked with a large screen and turned into a desktop. And the benefit is that all of your data is always with you.

That concept is so powerful, that it literally makes the iPad look like a child's toy.

You can do that already with the iPad but the experience is castrated in terms of the applications you can run etc. the whole proposition is pointless. What ASUS and others propose is far beyond merely a docking station - the question isn't whether Windows 8 is suitable but whether vendors price the hardware at an appropriate level so that it can gain mass market appeal.

TsarNikky said,
..., so how can one Operating System work very well for both?

Because all computers are effectively the same. they have integrated circuits built on millions (in some cases billions) of transistors that all have requirements for establishing how electrons flow through the circuit to create the experiences you enjoy.

You could say Microsoft didn't take the time to develop a Tablet operating system from the ground up. You could also say the same of Apple, who just put their phone OS on the tablet. There a few weak key points in this article

According to Microsoft's thinking, the tablet should only have a PC interface

What nonsense! How could you write that with a straight face? Didn't you just say they were trying to do "everything" then here you say "only have a PC interface"?

it would not be a massive stretch to alter Windows Phone 7 to work on a large tablet device

That's exactly what they did! Are you blind? The entire WinRT, the Metro-styled applications, the tile and notifications platform... this is Windows Phone. What some people are complaining about is that Microsoft stuck a bunch of phone into their PC. All commenters say that WIndows 8 looks great for tablets, and it's the sidelining of the desktop that they're whining about.

While Windows 8 will almost certainly be a success for the desktop and notebook crowd, the tablet PC business could turn out to be harder to crack

Completely backwards. Look, Apple is slowly transforming pieces of OSX into iOS (store, launcher, etc). Microsoftis taking all the benefits from Wndows Phone and want to shift PCs to that, right away. More vision there than you'll ever fathom

Edited by burnblue, Nov 13 2011, 2:10pm :

ahhell said,
This type of flamebait "editorial" is getting tiresome.

Agreed, I just had to invoke a discussion with my 8 year old son in an attempt to find some rational thoughts on the subject - this really is a joke of an article, full of mindless bu***hit...

Microsoft is right in thinking that a tablet deserves a full OS, not a phone OS. They just don't get it that they don't have to dumb down the experience for desktops for that. Leave the Win32 app platform and UI on desktops and laptops alone and separate from the non-tablet UI. Desktop interfaces have evolved for years and everyone likes and uses them, everything they did earlier doesn't have to be declared "legacy", it needs full attention and development *in parallel* with the Start screen UI.

xpclient said,
Desktop interfaces have evolved for years and everyone likes and uses them

That's a pretty bold statement...many people don't "like" computers but they have to use them.

xpclient said,
Microsoft is right in thinking that a tablet deserves a full OS, not a phone OS. They just don't get it that they don't have to dumb down the experience for desktops for that. Leave the Win32 app platform and UI on desktops and laptops alone and separate from the non-tablet UI. Desktop interfaces have evolved for years and everyone likes and uses them, everything they did earlier doesn't have to be declared "legacy", it needs full attention and development *in parallel* with the Start screen UI.

thats what theyve done, you get to choose between metro or 'classic' (as in win 7 interface), so whats the issue?

duddit2 said,

thats what theyve done, you get to choose between metro or 'classic' (as in win 7 interface), so whats the issue?

The issue is that 1. There aren't enough improvements and compelling enough improvements on the desktop side. 2. Win32 API and earlier stuff is declared "legacy". Legacy means old and obsolete and it's future is uncertain. Microsoft's efforts and focus is on Metro and "bold re-imagining" of Windows. 3. Default interface on desktops and laptop is still going to be Metro. This may hurt the desktop app market.

duddit2 said,

thats what theyve done, you get to choose between metro or 'classic' (as in win 7 interface), so whats the issue?

The issue is the new metro interface is the primary interface, even on desktops and touchscreen-less laptops. Windows starts up to the Metro UI and the classic start menu is gone. I really want the Metro UI for my convertible tablet, but I don't want to use it on my desktop with a 30" screen. It just wastes space.

mrp04 said,

The issue is the new metro interface is the primary interface, even on desktops and touchscreen-less laptops. Windows starts up to the Metro UI and the classic start menu is gone. I really want the Metro UI for my convertible tablet, but I don't want to use it on my desktop with a 30" screen. It just wastes space.

Is this based on how the DP is setup or have I missed something (seriously have I missed something, no sarcasm intended). It was my understanding that the DP was setup to stop the 'normal' desktop to be used, forcing the 'developers' to get used to the new metro UI but not planning to retain this forced metro approach when released. I imagine they will be adjusting a lot of things based on feedback, and what I expect is at the least some kind of 'how do you want to use your PC' type wizard within the setup UI (language, name, time zone, UI preference etc). I just think far too much is being classed as final, because of a developer preview version that was obviously designed to generate user feedback.

duddit2 said,

Is this based on how the DP is setup or have I missed something (seriously have I missed something, no sarcasm intended). It was my understanding that the DP was setup to stop the 'normal' desktop to be used, forcing the 'developers' to get used to the new metro UI but not planning to retain this forced metro approach when released. I imagine they will be adjusting a lot of things based on feedback, and what I expect is at the least some kind of 'how do you want to use your PC' type wizard within the setup UI (language, name, time zone, UI preference etc). I just think far too much is being classed as final, because of a developer preview version that was obviously designed to generate user feedback.

Want to see a very good example of what's wrong at Microsoft? http://social.msdn.microsoft.c...80f3-4d8a-a01c-1fab0662303c

duddit2 said,

thats what theyve done, you get to choose between metro or 'classic' (as in win 7 interface), so whats the issue?

It is not so simple; W8, as it is right now, changes many paradigms people are used and like.

I am confident and hoping that MS will modify the OS a lot, as I said right now it is just a "Developer preview", so I will wait for the RTM product to decide what to do.

xpclient said,
.....This may hurt the desktop app market.

Aha!
Now we can start to differentiate here and try to, as a community come to a concensus and understanding here.

This will not hurt the desktop app market.
This will depricate the desktop application market.

In the Microsoft world, App refers to Metro-style applications, where as Application is for legacy win32 code.
Apps run on the Windows runtime, and built with Metro look/feel and constraints.

Applications can run on win32, .net, java, whatever.

Although I personally believe that Windows 8 is, in fact, good for desktops, laptops, AND tablets, what people have been saying is actually kinda the opposite of the last thing you said. It seems because Windows 8's UI is so similar to Windows Phone 7 that people actually want Windows 8 on their tablets only, not on their desktops and laptops. So, I personally think it'll be a success for what you said it won't be & won't be for what you said it will...

What the author does not understand is that Microsoft is intending to merge windows and windows phone.

Secondly, the article presumes whatever Apple does is the right thing to do and Microsoft shouldn't intent to do anything else although Apple's and Microsoft's business models are totally different.

When it comes to ignorance John Callaham is the Joe Wilcox of Neowin.

AtriusNY said,
What the author does not understand is that Microsoft is intending to merge windows and windows phone.

Secondly, the article presumes whatever Apple does is the right thing to do and Microsoft shouldn't intent to do anything else although Apple's and Microsoft's business models are totally different.

When it comes to ignorance John Callaham is the Joe Wilcox of Neowin.

Brilliant, and accurate!

I'm sorry, but what is this about the non-tablet interface in windows 8? I thought that was what the metro UI is all about, switching between the windows 7 like desktop and a tablet/phone style interface.

Reigar said,
I'm sorry, but what is this about the non-tablet interface in windows 8? I thought that was what the metro UI is all about, switching between the windows 7 like desktop and a tablet/phone style interface.

Not every Application will have a corresponding or replacement Metro App. There is a belief in the industry that there will be times when you need to fall back to classic desktop to use your favorite applicaton.

However, for the ARM powered W8 tablets, I would like to see some poll results from the MS development community to see how many devs are planning on porting their x86 code to ARM vs how many will create new metro only experiences.


My guess is that most top tier developers will be moving their 'bread and butter code' to portable libraries which can then be implemented on either platform using the windows runtime, and the metro experience.

Tablet PC was and remains an innovative product. Whilst you all clamour to windows and the UI being what failed it, anyone who used them from the start to more recent years knows that
1. High price
2. Battery life
3. Weight
4. Mediocre specs

is what killed them and kept them in a niche market. Tablets havent gone anywhere and the inking technology developed for them by MS is fantastic but rather tablets have become caught up with consumption devices for consumers which have a lower price point and completely different intended use.

Also the stylus was chosen as it offered superior inking and input, touch at the time of tablets and Windows XP could only be accomplished by resistive touch displays which were subpar for inking and a touch experience.

Dont get me wrong MS as any other company from products which never make it out of a niche market, has lessons to learn but the tablet was no failure for the reasons listed in this article. I do agree that WP7 should have been adapted to be the tablet OS. Still as long as MS promotes ARM tech and works to create some killer apps for the achitecture (eg office!!) then it should be onto a winner in the space.

Osiris said,
I do agree that WP7 should have been adapted to be the tablet OS. Still as long as MS promotes ARM tech and works to create some killer apps for the achitecture (eg office!!) then it should be onto a winner in the space.

If all they were looking for was short term gain to compete with iPad within a few product cycles then yes I would agree with you.

For long-term sustainability, I believe Microsoft are making the right move toward unifying under the kernel that powers their entire business. Adding ARM support to the NT kernel will provide the biggest bang for the buck down the road.

adriann said,
I suggest those who believe that Windows 8 can't work on a non-touchscreen laptop see the video at http://www.synaptics.com/solut...logy/windows8/ConceptVideos

Using the mouse trackpad to perform gestures instead of touching the screen works could work just as well as a tablet.

Just watched it. It seems like all it is doing is mapping the touchpad to the screen. That doesn't work so well because it's hard to guess exactly which part of the screen corresponds to the touchpad. Yes, the sliding in from the sides gestures work well, but did you see the keyboard playing? No way you can tell exactly which keys are where.

mrp04 said,
Just watched it. It seems like all it is doing is mapping the touchpad to the screen. That doesn't work so well because it's hard to guess exactly which part of the screen corresponds to the touchpad. Yes, the sliding in from the sides gestures work well, but did you see the keyboard playing? No way you can tell exactly which keys are where.

Precisely why I ditched my wacom digitizer for a windows xp tablet pc.

Which lesson are they supposed to learn?

1) Don't release technology before the hardware is affordable?
2) Don't offer higher end technology, when you can just implement limited touch input only, and avoid all the messy handwriting and voice technologies?
3) Don't create products for enterprise and corporate customers, because the only 'REAL' success is in consumer 'trends' and sales?

Microsoft made a good product, that was expensive, but has been used a lot in corporate environments over the past 10 years, even though it doesn't have 'big iphone renamed ipad' sales numbers.

Microsoft also created a complete platform of technologies and not just an appliance level device for consumers.

Company and corporate sales have the final word, and sadly neither the iPad or Android have the functionality, stability, or security that this segment of world requires.

There is NOTHING wrong with releasing technology and ideas, even if the hardware is not cheap and the company releasing the ideas doesn't reap the total benefits of the idea.

Microsoft has given away many ideas and concepts over the years, many premature to market viability, yet they do so to further technology. The TabletPC is not any different, even if Windows 8 has little success.

However, if you think corporations around the world are going to adopt Android and iPad over Windows 8 devices, you have not a clue of why Windows is successful. This type of thinking reminds me of people that think Active Directory technology is just authentication and file/printer serving.

When you can deplay 10,000 iPads that are secure, work with AD servers, are remotely updated and maintained autonomously, and have the performance that a $500 devices deserves, then Microsoft might have something to worry about.

When a WP7 phone can benchmark faster than an dual-core iPad2, there is a plateau and a cliff ahead of the Apple platform, which innovation and initial adoption that cannot be maintained, nor will stand next to $500 devices from other companies that are running a full OS at 10-20 times the speed.

(Find the cheapest netbook, load Windows 7, Office 2010 on, take a 20mb spreadsheet and open it and navigate around the screen for a few minutes. Then take the same spreadsheet and try opening it on an iPad, and when it finally opens, try navigating around the screen. Do you still think users in general, let alone companies will move to the iPad? BTW. Opening this same spreadsheet on a WP7 is 100 times faster than opening it in Numbers on an iPad, and that is comparing a PHONE with 1/4 the processing power to a 'tablet'.)

You are comparing a platform and set of OS technologies to a glorified media player by even considering an Android Tablet or iPad to be in the same class as Windows 7, let alone Windows 8.

I suppose when Apple releases their 'table' computer device, you will write about how Microsoft Surface was a horrid failure, even though it redefined the concepts of touch, and visual interaction with a computer. Yes it isn't cheap for the imaging touch today, but it will be.

Microsoft has no mistakes to learn from, with the exception of educating ignorant technical writers and marketing their products that cross manipulation techniques.


Maybe Microsoft should just lock down their R&D and keep everything secret and not give away technologies or submit ideas into the lexicon, this way the world can evaluate on them on what really matters, selling cheap crap to people that don't know better and making a lot of money doing it, progress and technology be damned.

Of course if they did that, the Cortex CPU in the iPad2 would not exist, as Microsoft helped expand the ARM architecture, and the GPU in the iPad2 would not exist, as MIcrosoft redesigned GPU technology for the entire industry TWICE in the last 10 years, not only the hardware, but even be the grandfather of the user programmable shader technologies used in the cute Angry Bird OpenGL game running on the iPad.

I don't mind the ignorance, and pure laziness in even attempting to understand the flow of technology, but to solely base success on money and profit is egregious for a human being to devolve their thinking.

I bet if Microsoft could come out with iCrap2012 and sell it to the world based on fear or being trendy as the ultimate device for the end of the world, and sell 5 billion of them by guaranteeing all users will survive the upcoming end of the world in 2012, this would make them a 'good' company, and give them the status of 'doing well' because they got even more rich and swindled virtually every person on earth out of money for crap.

Remember this, when browsing the internet or playing a movie on an Android or iPad, you got the 2010 version of iCrap, and don't realize it is a modern portable DVD player that you paid 10 times what value it truly offers. Funny though, when WindowsXP users were doing this on their computers that had detachable displays and were browsing the internet and watching movies and music on a simple touch screen back in 2001, nobody was 'conned' into believing it was cool, and it 10 years ago, did FAR more than the iPad or any Android Tablet, and did it faster.

(Go look up Mire aka Smart Display - this was far more cool than iCrap 2010, but it wasn't trendy, and Microsoft didn't call it magical.)

thenetavenger said,

Remember this, when browsing the internet or playing a movie on an Android or iPad, you got the 2010 version of iCrap, and don't realize it is a modern portable DVD player that you paid 10 times what value it truly offers. Funny though, when WindowsXP users were doing this on their computers that had detachable displays and were browsing the internet and watching movies and music on a simple touch screen back in 2001, nobody was 'conned' into believing it was cool, and it 10 years ago, did FAR more than the iPad or any Android Tablet, and did it faster.

(Go look up Mire aka Smart Display - this was far more cool than iCrap 2010, but it wasn't trendy, and Microsoft didn't call it magical.)

Those trendy tablets are more than a glorified DVD player, but OK, sure, whatever.

And this Mira thing that you keep going on about. It was crap back then, and it if it were released in the market today, it would be crap now.

Yes, the idea was cool. I remember wanting one 10 years ago, but looking back on it, the Smart Displays were VERY limited and I'm glad I didn't waste my money. To sit there and say that the Smart Displays did way more than the iPad or an Android Tablet is a bit silly. Maybe a bit ignorant too.

With the Smart Displays, you were limited to the confines of your home because it needed to be connected to your PC over wifi. It wasn't a stand alone device like the iCrap 2010 and laptops are.

If someone was using your PC at the time, it locked out the Smart Display. If you were using the Smart Display, it locked out your PC. If you had two Smart Displays, you could only use one at a time unless your second one was connected to another PC. It couldn't even stream video *because it wasn't fast enough* .

So, yeah, pretty, "cool," stuff that people *would* probably have to be conned to buy.

thenetavenger said,

Microsoft has no mistakes to learn from, with the exception of educating ignorant technical writers and marketing their products that cross manipulation techniques.

Oh, but that one mistake accounts for 90% of Microsoft's problems.

The other 10% is the consistent failure to take fit-and-finish seriously. Good fit-and-finish can disguise a lot of technical deficiencies.

As Warren Buffett said, “I don't look to jump over 7-foot bars: I look around for 1-foot bars that I can step over.” Microsoft desperately needs to learn that lesson. When you get to pick your battles, you should pick the battle that is the easiest one to win.

But then, Warren Buffett is Bill Gates' buddy, not Steve Ballmer's.

john whats wrong with your ass.... You've been spreading **** about microsoft. Did steve jobs write a will for you? pls stop this biased attitude... I didn't even read the article to know you wrote nonsense because thats how your titles always attack microsoft.

benalvino said,
john whats wrong with your ass.... You've been spreading **** about microsoft. Did steve jobs write a will for you? pls stop this biased attitude... I didn't even read the article to know you wrote nonsense because thats how your titles always attack microsoft.

John you have just been called out...care to respond?

better question is that hardware manufacturers learned the mistakes or even better way to put it: will they be able to seize the opportunities they got

apple makes hardware and software, Microsoft is "just" a software company - a products success or failure is only partly depends on them

and please next time dont leave out the facts that the tablet pc concept wasnt positioned for the consumer market, it was a professional tool like the smartphones of that time... the consumer-tablets like ipad rely on a market that has cheap and available-for-all wireless connectivity and of course: content

Morden said,
better question is that hardware manufacturers learned the mistakes or even better way to put it: will they be able to seize the opportunities they got

apple makes hardware and software, Microsoft is "just" a software company - a products success or failure is only partly depends on them

and please next time dont leave out the facts that the tablet pc concept wasnt positioned for the consumer market, it was a professional tool like the smartphones of that time... the consumer-tablets like ipad rely on a market that has cheap and available-for-all wireless connectivity and of course: content

this. its the hardware manufacturers that should learn a lesson here. it has come to the point where new ultrabooks are compared to the macbook air like it was a gold standard.

Julius Caro said,
....

This.
I also think MS need to take more of a stake in what their OEM/ODM channels provide. WP7 is an interesting experiement, but wouldn't work for the broad scope of the PC industry.
What MS need to do is OWN the windows experience. There seems to be a hand-off to the OEM channel where the overal experience starts to break down.
If they can take that back and market windows devices instead of leaving it up to the OEMs, then the products will take shape as a unified family of devices designed to be the solution for modern computing.

I dont agree that Win7 with some modifications can be made to work better on tablets than Win8. Windows 8 will be a blessing for tablets!. The UI the whole idea will work brilliantly. What im concerned about it how the mod the old desktop underneath it to go with the whole metro idea.

It is still a long way so i have high hopes. There is one thing though. MS themselves will use Win8 to get ppl ready for the complete shift. Which will come with Win9, when they will unite all their experiences.

Apple's iPad success is more down to their logo being on it and Jobs using words like "awesome" and "magical" when introducing it. People are so gullible.

Note to self: John Callaham "editorials" = Apple fanboy BS.

Slayer said,
Apple's iPad success is more down to their logo being on it and Jobs using words like "awesome" and "magical" when introducing it. People are so gullible.

Note to self: John Callaham "editorials" = Apple fanboy BS.


Who is the fanboy here?

sopharine said,

Who is the fanboy here?

Possibly, but what is the counter argument? Beyond the Apple logo, and using the drop in price of touch displays and the limited functionality of the touch display (no digitizer, pressure, etc.) with Apple rehashing technology that had been around for almost 20 years, what makes the iPad so 'magical'?

Heck even compare the iPad to Mira from 2001, what can it do, that people weren't doing back then. (Expect iPad users have to give up handwriting recognition and pressure sensitive input.)

Slayer said,

What am I a fan of?

I think anti-fanboy would be more appropriate. One who dismisses something solely because of its logo while thinking others are buying a product solely because of the logo. "Gullible," as you put it. I mean, people buying something because they enjoy it and it fits their needs is just silly talk.

I don't think the iPad is magical, but it's pretty good at doing what it's designed to do.

Heck even compare the iPad to Mira from 2001, what can it do, that people weren't doing back then. (Expect iPad users have to give up handwriting recognition and pressure sensitive input.)

Probably a lot more since the Mira couldn't be used if your PC was being used by someone else, it also locked out your PC while using it, and it didn't support video streaming. Basically, it relied too much on the PC.

omgben said,

I think anti-fanboy would be more appropriate. One who dismisses something solely because of its logo while thinking others are buying a product solely because of the logo. "Gullible," as you put it. I mean, people buying something because they enjoy it and it fits their needs is just silly talk.

I don't think the iPad is magical, but it's pretty good at doing what it's designed to do.

Probably a lot more since the Mira couldn't be used if your PC was being used by someone else, it also locked out your PC while using it, and it didn't support video streaming. Basically, it relied too much on the PC.

Mira, AKA Smart Display, was way ahead of its time. Sure the first iteration of the OS had severe limitations but it was V1 and we were in 2002.
All the issues you mentioned were going to be fixed in the next release of the OS but what really killed the project was the fact that at the time the hardware was too expensive.

" While Windows 8 will almost certainly be a success for the desktop and notebook crowd.."

It won't, judging from the majority of answers from enterprises that will skip Windows 8, like they did with Vista, while still in the process of migrating to Windows 7. By the time they finish Windows 7 migration, Windows 9 will be out.

alexalex said,
" While Windows 8 will almost certainly be a success for the desktop and notebook crowd.."

It won't, judging from the majority of answers from enterprises that will skip Windows 8, like they did with Vista, while still in the process of migrating to Windows 7. By the time they finish Windows 7 migration, Windows 9 will be out.


Enterprises are slow to move. Everyone including Microsoft knows that. However, Windows 8 is most definitely aimed at CONSUMERS. And it will sell hundreds of millions of copies -- just like Windows 7 is doing.

alexalex said,
" While Windows 8 will almost certainly be a success for the desktop and notebook crowd.."

It won't, judging from the majority of answers from enterprises that will skip Windows 8, like they did with Vista, while still in the process of migrating to Windows 7. By the time they finish Windows 7 migration, Windows 9 will be out.

Logically they would skip every other version. Especially now with Microsoft's accelerated release schedule (compared to the longevity of XP). There's no sense in upgrading 80,000 computers one version every couple years. Keeping to the pattern of every other release makes more sense.

pack34 said,
Logically they would skip every other version. Especially now with Microsoft's accelerated release schedule (compared to the longevity of XP). There's no sense in upgrading 80,000 computers one version every couple years. Keeping to the pattern of every other release makes more sense.

I respectfully disagree. There are many reasons to upgrade 80,000 computers one version every couple of years.

First off, when old OSes go off to die, there is no support.
Any company who has 80,000 PCs in need of upgrade will be on a Software Assurance license in which the cost of upgrading is labour only, as licensing fees to MS do not change with SA. Remaining with an old OS can drive up support costs, as out of band support must be purchased seperately, and can be quite costly.

Labour costs are reduced with improved manageability baked into every new release. Look how we've come since XP, with improved imaging capabilities, and improved management tools.

By the time windows 8 rolls out, the tools will certainly be much better than win7 days.
To reduce the IT resource cost, upgrading to the most modern OS will no longer be an option, but the norm.

If that kind of a system really worked, then Apple would replace its Mac OS operating system with one that was similar to the iOS system. But they didn't. Apple knows that PCs and touch screen devices are different. Trying to meld the two together just doesn't work.

Incredibly lame and pathetic argument. The author seems to believe it as a FACT that whatever Apple does is the RIGHT thing. Why should Microsoft follow Apple's OS strategy when Apple has managed just 5% OS market share, while Microsoft has 90%?

Fact of the matter is Windows 8 is 10 years ahead of any other tablet OS. Its incredibly powerful features make iPad look nothing but a toy.

england_fanboy said,

Fact of the matter is Windows 8 is 10 years ahead of any other tablet OS. Its incredibly powerful features make iPad look nothing but a toy.

When you throw user experience out of the window, even 100 years of experience in the industry is useless.

Jebadiah said,

When you throw user experience out of the window, even 100 years of experience in the industry is useless.

I'm not talking about industry experience of Microsoft. I am talking about the user interface and the powerful feature set Windows 8 has compared to iPad which is nothing but a glorified iPhone.

england_fanboy said,

Incredibly lame and pathetic argument. The author seems to believe it as a FACT that whatever Apple does is the RIGHT thing. Why should Microsoft follow Apple's OS strategy when Apple has managed just 5% OS market share, while Microsoft has 90%?

Fact of the matter is Windows 8 is 10 years ahead of any other tablet OS. Its incredibly powerful features make iPad look nothing but a toy.

Have you got some kind of vested interest or something in Microsoft? I've seen you reply to several threads recently and in all of them you are FERVENTLY defending Microsoft and reminding people about how rubbish iPads are.

The proof in the pudding is the eating. You (and specifically you) may consider the iPad to be a toy. I take issue with it for several reasons... most importantly, and most obviously, the market doesn't agree. If it was such a frivolous trinket, so many people wouldn't have bought them and found them to be absolutely fantastic devices. Everyone I know who has bought one absolutely adores it.. it does everything they want, and I genuinely have heard no gripes or complaints about them.

How can you know that Windows 8 will be the magic bullet? Could you elaborate on why, for example, Windows Phone 7.5 (which I would imagine provides a similar user experience to what Windows 8 will provide on tablets) has failed so far to annihilate Apple in the mobile phone space? You talk about advanced and "powerful" features - maybe the consumer doesn't WANT that kind of complication on their product? The iPad is popular because it empowers the user and is EASY TO USE. You don't need instruction manuals.

And I'm keen to point out here, before you start calling me a fanboy, I'm not an iPad owner (and indeed have no interest in owning one) and I'm planning on pick up a Nokia Lumia 800 as soon as they are released to replace my Android device as I think Windows Mobile is a superb product... I simply just don't understand your point of view and your irrational point of view on all things tablet!

Chicane-UK said,

Have you got some kind of vested interest or something in Microsoft? I've seen you reply to several threads recently and in all of them you are FERVENTLY defending Microsoft and reminding people about how rubbish iPads are.

The proof in the pudding is the eating. You (and specifically you) may consider the iPad to be a toy. I take issue with it for several reasons... most importantly, and most obviously, the market doesn't agree. If it was such a frivolous trinket, so many people wouldn't have bought them and found them to be absolutely fantastic devices. Everyone I know who has bought one absolutely adores it.. it does everything they want, and I genuinely have heard no gripes or complaints about them.

How can you know that Windows 8 will be the magic bullet? Could you elaborate on why, for example, Windows Phone 7.5 (which I would imagine provides a similar user experience to what Windows 8 will provide on tablets) has failed so far to annihilate Apple in the mobile phone space? You talk about advanced and "powerful" features - maybe the consumer doesn't WANT that kind of complication on their product? The iPad is popular because it empowers the user and is EASY TO USE. You don't need instruction manuals.

And I'm keen to point out here, before you start calling me a fanboy, I'm not an iPad owner (and indeed have no interest in owning one) and I'm planning on pick up a Nokia Lumia 800 as soon as they are released to replace my Android device as I think Windows Mobile is a superb product... I simply just don't understand your point of view and your irrational point of view on all things tablet!

(just adding my two cents)

I personally think that everyone just has their own tastes. The iPad/iPhone has a notably different interface from Android, which has a notably different interface from Windows Phone/Windows 8. I believe they are all easy-to-use, but in their own ways. (Well, actually, I haven't had much experience with Android.)

I have the developer preview of Windows 8, and personally, there are things that I like, and things that can be improved upon (and which they have time to do so). But some parts of Windows 8, in my opinion, just doesn't seem straight-forward. Like, there are certain little features or whatever that are there, but there's no indication that they are there. I didn't know you could start a search on Windows 8 by just typing until someone told me here on Neowin. On an iPad, you can just swipe to the left and start a search from there, and on Android devices, the search bar is right there on the home screen. Of course, Windows 8 has time to improve, and I think by the time it reaches RTM, a lot of this stuff will be smoothed out, but at this stage, there's still work to be done. (And, I'll admit, I'm a huge fan of Microsoft.)

Windows Phone, however, is pretty easy to use. On the home screen, you can tell the Social tile (with images of friends' faces and Facebook's logo and such) will bring you to a screen filled with friend's Facebook updates and such, the Inbox tile (with an e-mail icon) obviously leads to e-mail, the tile with the phone icon will lead to a dialer to call people and such, and so on... iPads and iPhones are also easy to use. You're presented with a screen filled with icons, with indications of other screens with icons if you swipe left or right. You'll find (nearly) the same icons on an iPhone and a Windows Phone and you'll know they'll do the same things, basically. It all boils down to the icons, because people will recognize that, and that's what allows people to pick up a device and start using it. (Just what it looks like to me; I could be totally wrong about that... lol.)

In my opinion, Windows Phones just haven't caught on yet (in the US) because there just hasn't been enough marketing for them. I mean, sure, Microsoft markets Windows Phone a bit (i.e. the giant phone in New York City), but overall, they're just not marketed as much as Android phones, which allowed Android to become pretty much the most popular smartphone OS today (I think; don't quote me on that). I think that if Windows Phones were given more attention, they'd get more market share, and I believe that will come in time, with Microsoft, Nokia, HTC, and so on each with their own marketing... thingies... for the phones.

As well, I don't believe that it's about which OS or whatever is the best out there. Is Windows Phone better than iOS or Android? Maybe, maybe not. Each one has their own advantages and disadvantages; it all depends on your style.

But as well, to me, a product isn't the most popular in its category because it's the best; it's the most popular because that's what people grew up with. I live in a house where we have 4 Windows computers, and so me and my family are familiar in Windows, and will probably continue to buy Windows. In a household where the family uses Macs, that family will continue to use Macs in the future because that's what the family is familiar with. I believe that's the same with phones, and that'll make it hard for Windows Phone to catch on. But the new people who haven't used a smartphone before, that's the segment that can allow Windows Phone to catch on, as long as the OS is marketed enough and brought to those people's attention.

Tablet PC's still live. sure they may not have a major market share, but they're not a failure as they have a nice little niche of their own where they can do stuff that you can't on regular PC's or internet pads. and they're the dream sketchpad of most artists.

HawkMan said,
Tablet PC's still live. sure they may not have a major market share, but they're not a failure as they have a nice little niche of their own where they can do stuff that you can't on regular PC's or internet pads. and they're the dream sketchpad of most artists.

i agree.. why not write an article about how iMacs are a huge failure because of their marketshare? Or how apple TV is a failure in comparison to the Xbox platform? its just nuts how people point out problems with microsoft even though the problem has been shown to be fixed.. Windows 8 will be huge for the market and is going to fix all the problems with earlier tablets.

Lachlan said,
i agree.. why not write an article about how iMacs are a huge failure because of their marketshare? Or how apple TV is a failure in comparison to the Xbox platform? its just nuts how people point out problems with microsoft even though the problem has been shown to be fixed.. Windows 8 will be huge for the market and is going to fix all the problems with earlier tablets.

Even so why does anyone care if Bill Gates got it wrong? should we list every CEO who got something wrong? Steve Jobs and his failed Cube or Larry Ellison and his NetPC vision of the future or Scott McNealy believing that JDS could overthrow Windows in the corporate world. CEO's are people and make mistakes - it is funny, therefore, when I see people point out mistakes that people have made.

Mr Nom Nom's said,

Even so why does anyone care if Bill Gates got it wrong? should we list every CEO who got something wrong? Steve Jobs and his failed Cube or Larry Ellison and his NetPC vision of the future or Scott McNealy believing that JDS could overthrow Windows in the corporate world. CEO's are people and make mistakes - it is funny, therefore, when I see people point out mistakes that people have made.

Well said, also the author of this article faisl to realise that the overall aim is to merge the codebase for the 3 screen vision MS has, windows 8 (touch UI) - windows phone 7 - and the new xbox UI's are the start of things to come.

duddit2 said,
Well said, also the author of this article faisl to realise that the overall aim is to merge the codebase for the 3 screen vision MS has, windows 8 (touch UI) - windows phone 7 - and the new xbox UI's are the start of things to come.

IIRC according to a leak from around a month ago Windows 9 will be when Windows 9 and Windows Phone 9 are based off the Windows NT kernel (thus replacing the Windows CE core which Windows Phone is currently based upon). WinRT will be the native code API that many developers have been waiting for which will really allow for Windows Phone to shine next to iOS and Android. IMHO I believe the biggest casualty of the phone OS wars will be Microsoft eating away at Android's marketshare and possibly even eating into Blackberry (assuming RIM by that stage hasn't got its act together) given that Microsoft has a strong enterprise presence (awesome enterprise development tools, deployment, server/client integration etc).

The next XBox is going to be really interesting - there are rumours of them going back to x86-64 but there are also rumours of maybe a ARM 64bit version given that it will allow them to create a smaller console that generates less heat etc. Interesting times ahead

Mr Nom Nom's said,
... WinRT will be the native code API that many developers have been waiting for which will really allow for Windows Phone to shine next to iOS and Android. ...

There we go!
Finally someone talking about WinRT, possibly the greatest success story of the Windows 8 Development team!!!!!!