So Microsoft is making some mysterious (but BIG) announcement on Monday, and the tech writers and trades are all aTwitter that it must be a TABLET! Could be, how would I know otherwise?All of the articles I have read, and there have been a dozen or more, seem surprised that Microsoft might actually make the tablet themselves. Well, not that they would "make it" any more than Apple actually manufactures the iPad, but you know what I mean.For years, and I think increasingly incorrectly, everyone thought the better model was that somebody (with expertise) makes the software, and then somebody else (with different expertise) makes the hardware. Marriage, competition, heaven.That's certainly the way it worked for Microsoft, didn't it? Yes, it did, but I am more and more convinced that it was an anomaly, born of the fact that Microsoft got into the business via IBM, that Microsoft had no expertise (indeed, were exceptionally unqualified) in producing hardware, and that IBM was on the tail end of a DoJ complaint about tying their software and hardware purchases together for their big iron, and were casting about for a way to avoid a repeat performance in court. (Some sources I have read say that was a misinterpretation on the part of upper IBM managers; whether true or not, it's obviously true that they commissioned someone else to write the operating system, and it turned out to be that geeky little Gates fellow and his buddies in New Mexico (at the time.)And it came to pass that Microsoft did very well, and that IBM did very well, except that Microsoft licensed the software to others and did extremely well, while IBM found itself in a race to the hardware bottom, and eventually exited the business.Still, memes die hard, and everybody assumed that "make the software, let others make the hardware" was the way to go.For a while it worked for Microsoft in phones, too, as Verizon and others used various flavors of Microsoft systems in those. But then came RIM, and Palm, with entirely proprietary software and hardware systems, and great success, while Microsoft floundered.When it came time for Microsoft to enter the game world, they could have written just the software, but who would produce the actual units? HP? Dell? Some never-before-heard-of Chinese outfit? Certainly not Sony or Nintendo. And who would make sure it was a superior gaming experience if something went bad - as it did with the first Xboxes? It took Microsoft a billion bucks to recover. Would Lenovo have dropped a cool billion to make things right?So Google is about to be in the hardware business (technically already is, I guess.) And Microsoft, apparently, too.Maybe the Xbox wasn't the exception and maybe people's idea of the business model has been all wrong all this time, and maybe Steve Jobs had it right even back in 1979 and again in 1984, but got crushed because of a funny wormhole in the universe which hasn't been repeated since. Maybe all those other hardware manufacturers, you know, the ones licensing 14 flavors of Android, or like Nokia, staking their lives on Microsoftware, are about to find out that all their assumptions are wrong, and they can't prosper for long with only half a solution.Microsoft making tablets! Quell surprise!!!No, not really. It was probably the right way to do it all along, it just wasn't so obvious until Apple did it. (][) Then again. (Mac) And then again again (iPod). And then again again again (Touch). And then again again again again (iPhone). And then again again again again again (iPad).Maybe they're on to something, and maybe Redmond has finally figured it out. Tech writers are soon to follow.
Nice thought. Dell and HP (or ASUS/ Acer/ Samsung...) won't be happy if it turns out that it is the best model. One thing to consider is that there may not be "One Best Model" for all time, it may well have been better for everyone involved to do it the Microsoft way in the 1990s and better to do it Apple's way now.Back in 1990 there were a lot of unsolved problems in computer science which are essentially 'solved' now. Networking, file services, graphics drivers, hardware abstraction... it was expensive and time consuming to solve those problems if you had to develop it individually. Having a lot of companies leveraging the expertise of one made a certain amount of sense.Now many of those the more expensive and challenging problem solving is done. Google built Android from free components, Apple did likewise. Microsoft arguably has all that legwork behind them in their own proprietary system.I don't think it's even that simple though. Nokia, RIM, and Palm all tried single vendor implementations and failed. Also, in spite of buying out Motorola, Google's method of pushing out Android is undeniably effective (if not extremely profitable for them).
I think comparing the PC market to the mobile market is useless.The PC market was/is driven by business costumers. Corporate managers or government officials make decisions on buying dozens, hundreds, thousands of machines. The consumers were simply an aftermarket where people followed what they were forced into at work. The PC market does not work without IT departments. The Neighborhood Geek Squad or your friend/relative fixing your PC is a classic mark of the PC world.The mobile phone market and subsequently the tablet market is totally different. Apple call it the post PC world. Here the consumers are targeted not the corporations. The consumers do not need IT departments or geek squads. They need an appliance that works out of the box.The Microsoft+PC manufacturers model was never able to produce high quality products. But the people who bought their products were not buying for themselves, rather for their companies. And such buyers had issues other than quality to worry about when making the decisions.In a consumer oriented business easy-to-use and quality are important factors. People want instant gratification. Microsoft's business model is simply not able to produce that. You need good software + good hardware + good services. Right now with Nokia they might have the first two.People like to think that Google is playing a game similar to Microsoft with its Android platform. That is not true. Android is not an operating system licensed to manufacturers. Android is more like Linux. An open source code base for anyone to play with. The best way to describe Android is a project in the making. A defensive strategy based on copying Apple as fast as possible. Google hasn't figured out what it wants out of it. There is no business model behind Android.Lastly the early mover advantage is at Apple right now. In the PC business Apple missed the realization that it was a B2B game. Microsoft gave businesses what they wanted thus gained the early mover advantage that allowed it to control the ecosystem.This time Microsoft missed the realization. It was a B2C business now. Microsoft was stuck trying to apply its own game to a totally new market. Their close relationship with Nokia is a sign of awakening. Too late unfortunately.Google is making the same awakening with the purchase of Motorola. That's a long way to work out for them. Samsung drives Android registrations but I see no signs of Google appreciating that.The first mover advantage is at Apple. The ecosystem is theirs. The developers are theirs. Apple leads the market. No one can match them. People talk a lot about innovation. Apple invented this and that... Tim Cook feels like telling every journalist how innovation is in Apple's DNA because Steve Jobs - the best sales man on earth - told everyone Apple invented everything.The truth is the paradigm shift has happened. Took 10 years. Apple is the best seller in the post PC world now. They don't need to invent anything for along time ahead. All they have to do is crank out as many phones and tablets as they can while making sure their customers and developers stay happy. Much like Microsoft didn't have to invent anything after they had the operating system and Office up and running.So if you ask me Steve Jobs was not right. He screwed up royally in the first round. To his defense the B2B market was never his game.
The Xbox isn't the only example. What about Zune?Zune failed, of course, but it was a product aimed at consumers, competing against Apple's well-entrenched iPod/iTunes ecosystem. Even if Zunes had been better & cheaper than iPods, it's doubtful they'd have gained much traction (unless they were MUCH better and/or MUCH cheaper).But a Microsoft tablet will be squarely aimed at corporate users, a market in which Microsoft is an 800lb gorilla incumbent. Lots of corporate IT folks love Microsoft and hate Apple, and can't wait for Microsoft to launch a credible iPad competitor. And since Windows RT (the tablet version of Windows 8) has Microsoft Office built-in, that means they can charge as much (or even more) than Apple does for the iPad.Let me add something: There's been widespread speculation that Microsoft is about to introduce a version of Office for iOS. I'm not sure they will, since that might undercut their own tablet. But if they do, I think it's likely that they'll price it so that an iPad + Office costs more than a Microsoft tablet with Office built-in.
Microsoft entering the corporate market with an office ready tablet. - that's an interesting thought.The iPad so far is designed primarily for media consumption. Not production. Can Apple be wrong about it? Can a tablet become the PC replacement for production?
The PC market was/is driven by business costumers.Not at first. In fact, not for years. The Apple ][ came out in 1977. The big competition at the time was the Commodore PET and the Radio Shack TRS-80, and not many of those were being bought by business. The IBM-PC didn't come out until 1982, and that's when the explosion happened.Somewhat irrelevant sidebar story because it's Father's Day: My Dad was Research Director of a special metals company; they made high process wire for use in satellites, heating elements for consumer products, etc. When they did a "melt" (those giant cauldrons of molten steel) it was critical in his business to have all the various alloys in exactly the right percentages: nickel, steel, molybdenum, chromium. Wrong percents? Hundreds of thousands of dollars of waste. This was the upper end of the industry, and the specs were maddeningly tight.So they would take a sample just before the pour, assay it, and if it was short something or other, add a little, remelt, re-assay and pour. It was a small company, not computerized, and the calcs were done at first by hand, later on an HP scientific calculator, and later, to make it even easier, he bought a small personal computer with a keyboard anybody could use with minimal training. An Apple, in fact. Nobody much cared, and nobody laughed, but when he demonstrated savings of several million dollars in less waste and less down time while the rest of the plant waited for the calculations, everybody cared, and greatly.And that's why, when IBM launched the PC, he was told to go buy one right away and replace the Apple ][, which he did. That's how business worked - and still does. Microsoft rode to fame on the back of IBM, but doesn't need to do that anymore, they have their own brand and it's solid (in spite of what the rest of us think about it.)When I see nurses wheeling a laptop-on-a-cart up and down the hospital corridors I think "That's going away" and when I see people come into the conference room and set up their laptops on the table I think "That's going away" and when I see road warriors lugging a suitcase and a heavy laptop bag I think "That's going away" - but there is no guarantee that they're going to buy an iPad instead of a Microsoft tablet, just because corporations buy things differently, and for different reasons, and if the company gives you one, and it's a Windows tablet, it's probably the one you're going to use.Author's note: I would SCREAM for them to get an iPad instead, but then I screamed for them to get an Apple ][, and then a Mac instead of some chiclet POS with 'IBM' on the front, but nobody listened then, either.I think it's entirely fair to compare the two, given that the tablet market is barely two years old as a successful product. Yes, corporations are more open to "other products" now, and yes, people have more money to buy their own, but that does not diminish the power that Microsoft might bring to bear on this market, if it is savvy enough and if its pricing is right and if the hooks of its other middlewares are strong enough. (No "Word" or "Excel" for the iPad? Not good.) If if if...I fully believe Microsoft got lucky (they were also good, and ruthless, but mostly lucky at first). I don't know that they'll be lucky again, but maybe they don't need to be. The first mover advantage is at Apple. The ecosystem is theirs. The developers are theirs. Apple leads the market. No one can match them. And yet that was also true of Apple 1977. And of Motorola phones 1990. And of AOL 1995. And of Henry Ford 1910. First mover advantage is highly overrated. It's often a good thing, but more often the early scout gets the arrows in his back. Was Google the first search engine? eBay the first place for an online auction? Facebook the first social site?So if you ask me Steve Jobs was not right. He screwed up royally in the first round.I didn't ask you, but I'll disagree that he "screwed up." He couldn't see the future, that's true, but even with the advantage of hindsight, there is little he could have done to stop the PC market from developing the way it did, because it was IBM's imprimatur which gave it the credibility it lacked with corporations, who, as you point out, made up the vast bulk of sales.Perhaps he could have sold out to IBM, but they weren't interested in his software or hardware, they were assembling a PC from off-the-shelf parts (which led to their downfall as others later could do the same and did) in their belated rush to get to the market.There are going to be lots and lots of tablets out there in the world. The market has barely begun, and in spite of Apple's obvious lead I would still say it's anybody's game. In 10 years we'll know better. Right now? It's a crapshoot, albeit with a heavy favorite. Or maybe two.
"Not at first. In fact, not for years. The Apple ][ came out in 1977. The big competition at the time was the Commodore PET and the Radio Shack TRS-80, and not many of those were being bought by business. The IBM-PC didn't come out until 1982, and that's when the explosion happened."I'm forced by past nerd loyalties to remind you that the Atari 800/400 sales were not so shabby in that time frame (i.e. in 82 it outsold the Apple II by 2x).Enjoying rest of the post...B
The iPad so far is designed primarily for media consumption. Not production…The pundits keep saying that, but are you aware of any evidence to suggest it's true?I put it to you that the reason most iPads are used primarily for consumption is that most computers in general are used that way. Lots of users (both business and consumer) use their computers primarily for email and the web. I'd guess the average computer user produces less than 1 presentation or spreadsheet per year, and probably fewer than 5 word processing documents per year.Furthermore, I would argue that Apple's development of Apps like Numbers, Pages, GarageBand, etc. for the iPad clearly show that they expect it to be used for both consumption and production.
The pundits keep saying that, but are you aware of any evidence to suggest it's true?My own personal use. At the desktop, or in the RV on my wife's laptop, I see a Fool post I think deserves comment, I respond. If I'm reading the iPad (which is now probably 50% of my experience) and I want to respond, if it's going to be more than a couple sentences I head downstairs to my office, or mark it for later reply. It's hard to do anything but take the briefest notes, I can't imagine trying to do our quarterly net-worth calculations (Mrs. Goofy insists) on it. Juggling multiple pages or apps is clunky. And having used iMovie on it, I'll just say it's not as easy as Apple would like you to believe.None of which is to say I am in any way critical of the experience. It is delightful, portable, convenient, wonderful, and having had it for a year, if it fell off the table and smashed I would be at the Apple store tomorrow to buy another. It is a different experience, as a motorcycle is different from a car, although they both get you there.But for "production", no, not really. (Nurses filling in check-boxes for patient medication? Sure. Road warriors with a folio which includes a bluetooth keyboard? I would. People at corporate meetings? Why not? Dentist viewing an X-ray and showing it to me? Absolutely.) Writing the office's monthly report, or an analysis for a client presentation? I sure wouldn't.
I put it to you that the reason most iPads are used primarily for consumption is that most computers in general are used that way. Lots of users (both business and consumer) use their computers primarily for email and the web. I'd guess the average computer user produces less than 1 presentation or spreadsheet per year, and probably fewer than 5 word processing documents per year. Furthermore, I would argue that Apple's development of Apps like Numbers, Pages, GarageBand, etc. for the iPad clearly show that they expect it to be used for both consumption and production.I agree with you and the guy below who opines that Office will not be enough to trigger corps to abandon iPad. If you need to do Office, you will do it more efficiently on that desktop PC. The attraction of a tablet to corps will be in specialized apps - to track and display inventory, finances, product lines etc. The device will be the front end of databases and a communication device. Communication will be by voice and voice recognition of short messages. They don't need Office to do that stuff.Microsoft will make four programs in its Office suite -- Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote -- available on its tablet- optimized operating system. That may not sway consumers who have gladly snapped up iPads without the availability of Office, said Michael Cherry, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft, a Kirkland, Washington-based market-research firm.http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-06-18/microsoft-tablet...
The iPad so far is designed primarily for media consumption. Not production. Can Apple be wrong about it? Can a tablet become the PC replacement for production?Yes it can, if a few things are added. Personally, I would need an easy way to dock my tablet to a keyboard and large monitor, preferably wirelessly, simple backup to local storage and the cloud, and access to the filesystem in a way that iOS does not allow. Maybe I don't really need filesystem access if the Apps are well designed but I am old school. I like Terminal and the Finder. Then a tablet, or even a phone, would be all that I would need. It seems like we are almost there, I can probably get some of these already. But without filesystem access I am not really motivated to investigate the others.Apple does not seem driven to fill this niche. Their consumer-focused vision is a bit different, which might provide an opening for Microsoft.
But for "production", no, not really. (Nurses filling in check-boxes for patient medication? Sure. Road warriors with a folio which includes a bluetooth keyboard? I would. People at corporate meetings? Why not? Dentist viewing an X-ray and showing it to me? Absolutely.) Writing the office's monthly report, or an analysis for a client presentation? I sure wouldn't.-----------Sounds to me, though, like it would be absolutely fabulous for travel and not having to worry if the RV park you booked has Wi-Fi or not - and for paying bills on the road, etc. Could also read books on it and magazines, etc.I'd love to have one. One of these days I will get it.... :)AM
Maybe I don't really need filesystem access if the Apps are well designed but I am old school.I also would have thought access to the filesystem is a necessity. But lately, having to revert to the Finder feels a bit like opening a terminal window. It's good to have the ability, but it's testimony of lack of design on the part of the software side somewhere.In terms of hardware, the iOS quad-core processors are powerful enough to handle pretty much any desktop task. Bar maybe a tiny few heavy graphics design packages. So I see no reason why an iPad couldn't turn into a lap-top or desktop with a mouse and a keyboard, running a desktop OS. Well, except for storage maybe.But extrapolate current hardware five years into the future, and some convergence seems inevitable. That may require a shift of how things are done on the desktop towards on a tablet. And vice-versa.What is a little irritating is that there's no technical reason not to have access to the filesystem other than that Apple wants to have control over what and how you put stuff on your iPad. It's not a technical matter or a usability matter. It's purely a matter of control.Maybe at some point Apple will allow access to files that are not apps as a compromise.Mark
What is a little irritating is that there's no technical reason not to have access to the filesystem other than that Apple wants to have control over what and how you put stuff on your iPad. It's not a technical matter or a usability matter. It's purely a matter of control.The filesystem limitation was easily solved for my purposes with the GoodReader app, probably the best $4.99 I've spent in years. It's a terrific file system not to mention a great reader for PDFs.
Okay, so what's the announcement already? Today's the day, but I see nothing.....WT
It's purely a matter of control.Sandboxing means it's a bit tougher for a misbehaving app to affect other applications. It also means that when a user uninstalls an application that it's gone. File systems are messy and wind up littered with junk in a hurry. When you have a limited amount of space that becomes hard to manage fast.
extrapolate current hardware five years into the future, and some convergence seems inevitable. That may require a shift of how things are done on the desktop towards on a tablet and vice-versa.I expect compatibility, but not convergence. Cook made clear at AllThingsDigital that he doesn't foresee convergence. Each device needs to specialize in what it does best. Microsoft may try to converge, but will likely fail if it heedeth not this wisdom.There's no technical reason not to have access to the filesystem other than that than that Apple wants to have control over what and how you put stuff on your iPad. Maybe at some point Apple will allow access to files that are not apps as a compromise.I think tablet file storage is headed for the iCloud. This reduces memory requirements on the tablet, which makes tablets affordable. You can already have Dropbox cloud file storage on your iPad. Apple was interested in buying that company, which shows their interest in the cloud file system direction.The winning tablet will not be the one that tries to cram the PC experience into a tiny flat plate. It will be the one that optimizes the tiny flat plate experience.
Okay, so what's the announcement already? Today's the day, but I see nothing.....WTMS was being mysterious about it, not giving the location at first, and possibly not the time either. It's at 3:30 PT, so it's going on now....Maybe this was all to get a little more suspense. It was a good try....I know I actually even pulled up the MSFT ticker a few times today to see if there was any news yet. I didn't finally read about the 3:30 PT until well after the market closed.Aaron
"Microsoft didn't tell anyone where the event was going to be held until 10 AM Los Angeles time. That means media members had to fly into LA, book a hotel, rent a car, and figure out other logistics without knowing where they were going.This is a huge pain in the butt. For instance, Harry McCracken of Time has been waiting in a Burger King near the airport all day. How do you think he feels about Microsoft right now?If this isn't something really big, like a Microsoft tablet, the media is going to be pissed. And they will take out their fury on Microsoft with mean articles. That's not how you build buzz!"http://finance.yahoo.com/news/microsofts-secret-event-could-...Another article says it's supposed to be at 6:30 ET (now) and is late. A different one says 7pm ET.I'm not expecting to be thrilled, but am at least curious, and maybe someone else out there will be thrilled.Aaron
The iPad so far is designed primarily for media consumption. Not production. Can Apple be wrong about it? Can a tablet become the PC replacement for production?I'm a bit late to this party, but having used Numbers to make a spreadsheet on the iPad recently, I can say it was actually easier to make the spreadsheet on Numbers on the iPad than on either Numbers or Excel on the computer - and yes, I do know how to use both programs fairly well. On the iPad, you cannot get the seriously involved spreadsheets, but for a doing a regular, everyday spreadsheet and not one that is seriously involved with heavy charts, it's absolutely perfect.
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