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Bill Gates: iPad Users Are Frustrated They Can't Type Or Create Documents 618

An anonymous reader writes "While Apple views the tablet and PC markets as two separate entities, Microsoft takes the opposing view. During a CNBC interview this morning, Gates continued to toe the party line insofar as he praised the benefits of Microsoft's tablets and Windows 8 while explaining that iPad users are frustrated because they have trouble typing and creating documents. 'With Windows 8, Microsoft is trying to gain share in what has been dominated by the iPad-type device. But a lot of those users are frustrated, they can't type, they can't create documents. They don't have Office there. So we're providing them something with the benefits they've seen that have made that a big category, but without giving up what they expect in a PC.'"
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Bill Gates: iPad Users Are Frustrated They Can't Type Or Create Documents

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  • And... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @05:38PM (#43647561) Journal

    And Microsoft keeps demonstrating that they just don't get it, that no one seriously expect a tablet to be a PC, and that no one wants their PC to be a tablet.

  • Re:Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @05:40PM (#43647589) Journal

    And yet you go to any business conference nowadays, and the place is littered with iPads and other tablets. How odd it is that, whatever your advice might be, businesses are buying tablets and they are being seen out in the field.

    You can certainly argue that business are wrong, but you can't argue with the fact that the tablet has made major inroads into the enterprise world.

  • by davydagger ( 2566757 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @05:40PM (#43647603)
    Microsoft is fustrated that still, no one gives a shit about windows 8, and no one wants windows rt, and they were all DOA.

    As much as I despise apple products, no cult-of-crapple iPad users would ever think twice about anything else, and if they did, it would more likely be android.
  • Re:And... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @05:44PM (#43647667) Journal

    I can't imagine anybody seriously believes tablets will completely replace PCs. But I think they'll make a helluva dent (if they haven't already).

  • by Dracos ( 107777 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @05:46PM (#43647679)

    What OS is installed doesn't change that. Surface users are frustrated that there are no apps for their devices.

    Touch UIs suck, and the proof is all over the internet. Every time someone posts something like "I would [something], but I'm on my [phone|tablet|mobile]" it is a damning statement on how limited touch is compared to keyboard+mouse. Even common desktop tasks are a chore in touch.

    I realized recently that maybe part of the reason why Apple resisted putting cut and paste into iOS for so long was because they couldn't figure out how to make it not suck. That's something Jobs would have obsessed over.

  • Re:And... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nadaka ( 224565 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @05:49PM (#43647729)

    I like physical keyboards.
    My Samsung galaxy S Relay has one good enough for texting and light email/browsing.
    My Asus Transformer Infinity has one good enough for modest writing, it also attaches to a usb mouse.
    My desktop has a really nice one with real mechanical keys.

    There is literally no reason an Iphone or Ipad couldn't use a bluetooth keyboard or mouse.

  • by dingen ( 958134 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @05:51PM (#43647745)

    So according to Bill it boils down to MS Office (because you can simply get a keyboard for an iPad, just as you can for a Surface tablet).

    The thing is however:

    a) there's no native Office for Surface either (Office 2013 has no Metro-interface and isn't particularly suited for touch screens, even in touch-mode)
    b) they are woking on a version of Office for iOS and Android
    c) you can use Office 365 on whatever device that has a browser, which includes Surface, but also the iPad and all of the Android devices out there

    How does that make the Surface any more attractive than the competition?

  • by theurge14 ( 820596 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @05:51PM (#43647749)

    Microsoft is a software company, right?

  • by berj ( 754323 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @05:54PM (#43647787)

    It shouldn't be that hard to understand.

    With the ipad and keyboard dock I can use the iPad *without* the keyboard if I want to. I'm guessing neither of the cheap laptops I could have bought would work very well without the keyboard attached.

  • by Loco3KGT ( 141999 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @05:55PM (#43647791)

    I 100% agree with him. I can't type /at all/ on my iPad 2. Because I'm not the disciplined type that raises their fingers 100% before hitting the next key I find the iPad trippng up a lot. It also doesn't keep up when I'm typing quickly and I'm not patient enough to slow down to wait for it. I've even tried two third party keyboards and wasn't impressed with them (1 because it was small and travel sized, the other is that new fangled overlay .. I can't remember the name but I was a part of the kickstarter). Anyway, when it comes to typing anything of substance I always put down the iPad and go to my desktop computer.

    In the end my iPad 2 has become the samething my X-Box has become, a bad, over-priced Netflix player.

  • Re:And... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rudy_wayne ( 414635 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @05:56PM (#43647817)

    Perhaps you are the one who doesn't get it. Why should a fully capable PC and a tablet be two different experiences?

    Because a fully functional PC is for content creation while a tablet is for content consumption. And many people don't understand the difference.

    People who use their PC for nothing but browsing the web, occassionaly sending email and posting to Facebook or Twitter are perfect candidates for a tablet. People who do real work use a "fully functional PC". Last year, the two largest PC companies, HP and Lenovo, sold a combined total of 110 Million PCs. Regardless of how that compares to tablet sales or previous year's PC sales, that's a lot of computers.

    While tablets have certainly become popular, due to the fact that there are a lot of content consumers out there. the rumors of the death of the PC are greatly exaggerated.

  • by gstrickler ( 920733 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @06:06PM (#43647983)

    I'll never understand that. You basically bought two cheap laptops ....

    Do that, and what you have are two cheap laptops that are slow, don't work right, and and are 2-5x the size and 3x-10x what an iPad/iPad Mini weighs. If you need a laptop, by all means buy a laptop. But if what you need is a tablet, buy a tablet.

  • People who use their PC for nothing but browsing the web, occassionaly sending email and posting to Facebook or Twitter are perfect candidates for a tablet. People who do real work use a "fully functional PC".

    The problem here is that the popularity of limited-purpose tablets made it unprofitable to continue to produce a "fully functional PC" with a 10 inch display [slashdot.org]. A 10 inch laptop can be easier for a bus or carpool passenger to use in cramped quarters than a 13 inch laptop.

  • Re:Yeah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LordLimecat ( 1103839 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @06:13PM (#43648059)

    Are you seriously implying that touchscreen is the new, better method of input?

    What exactly do you do on a computer? Im gonna guess its not

    • Writing proposals
    • Writing code
    • Doing financial work
    • Doing systems administration

    Or anything, really, that involves rapidly moving data from your brain onto a computer. Or does the new Lightning connector have that capability built into it?

  • Dear Bill (Score:5, Insightful)

    by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @06:18PM (#43648107) Journal

    Get back to the fundamentals. Quit trying to copy Apple. You lost site of what made your ecosystem worthwhile on the desktop:

    1. Hardware vendors that had to meet your standard, which was relatively open. Result? Lots of hardware that works with Windows.

    2. I can develop anything I want without paying you anything except of course the OS and hardware. I buy your development tools because I like them, not because I have to buy them. I can develop with 3rd party tools if I want to do that. Result? Tons of software that runs on Windows.

    3. Things take a long time to become obsolete. It seems like just yesterday that DOS applications still ran on Windows. I don't recall when this went away because by the time it did, all my DOS apps were gone because I didn't want them anymore; not because you forced my hand.

    No, you're not Free/Open Source; but you're "open enough" and it was working.

    You and your company got side-tracked by "app store envy". You thought you could be like Apple. You started clamping down on what was open, gripping too tight. Result? You have a lame Apple clone, and you alienated the people who liked you because of the numbered points above.

  • Re:And... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MouseTheLuckyDog ( 2752443 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @06:23PM (#43648165)

    Yeah but mechanical bluetooth keyboards are hard to find. At lest for now.

    Plus I hate to think of dragging my RK-9000 with me to use with my GNote 10.1.

    OTOH if I really needed to type a lot it would be worth it, and the Surface Pros don't come with real keyboards either. Just that rubberdome garbage.

  • Re:Yeah (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Jeremiah Cornelius ( 137 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @06:30PM (#43648273) Homepage Journal


  • Re:And... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Proteus ( 1926 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @06:32PM (#43648299) Homepage Journal
    Where are you getting the idea that Apple... or any of Apple's fans... think that tablets will completely replace PCs? Apple's "post-PC era" commentary has almost entirely been focused on the idea that most people neither need nor want a "Home PC", and that a combination of tablet and phone will suit most people's needs (read: consuming media, writing the occasional letter or email message, etc.) admirably.

    Most commentary I've seen points out that a more traditional PC is well-suited to creation-heavy tasks, but that the convenience, relatively low cost, portability, and low learning-curve of touch-based computing will tend to relegate PC's to a niche market -- certain classes of business users and the "high-power" users (developers, scientists, etc.).

    FWIW, I think Apple is probably right. And the general idea -- most people need an "appliance", not a PC -- is a pretty good one that brings to life the dream of truly accessible computing. What scares me about it is that the major player in the space (Apple) is choosing to lock the general-purposeness of their devices away; and that others entering the market are following suit to some extent (Android manufacturers ship locked to their own app store in many cases, MS is pushing the App Store model for Metro [I refuse to stop calling it that], etc.).

    I think that path will make it a lot harder for the sort of serendipitous discovery of computing, development, and related things to occur. If I'd only had an iPad as a kid, instead of an 8088 with a compiler, I'm not sure I'd be a developer today.
  • by couchslug ( 175151 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @06:34PM (#43648311)

    Netbooks didn't "die" on their own.

    They were designed with crippling "birth defects" (weak CPU, limited RAM) so as not to eat notebook market share. It worked and after the initial surge, sales dropped off.

    Many people still like them, but when I can get a used Thinkpad X2whatever for cheap it makes no sense for me to buy one.

  • Re:And... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zeio ( 325157 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @06:41PM (#43648397)

    And Windows 8 is so terrible between the Ribbon and the Windows 8 interface this has happened:

    - All the secretaries, etc, need to be retrained. Yes they may be "more productive" after the retrain, but they must be retrained. The Ribbon has been accepted by now, but the new Win8 UI is a horrorshow.

    - For the computer mavens, gurus and hobbyists and IT guys - I really think the latest crop of Windows garbage is like another windows ME. Lets ignore it, maybe it will go away. I think Windows 7 GUI + Office 2010 is just about the final version that works. Office 2013 is crap, horrible GUI, horrible look, and Windows 8 is so bad that everyone I know who is using it has at least Start8 installed and paid for. Its laughable.

    As for me, I'm tired. Ubuntu, RHEL, CentOS, FreeBSD, Solaris, Windows XP, 7, OS X. Whatever. Its a mess that keeps getting messier and crappier mostly. Boring. People reinventing the wheel, resolving old solved problems, etc. Stupid. The industry is kind of in a bad state. Nobody has the discipline to stop changing stuff and hone in on stability anymore. Rugs have to been ripped out from underneath with ever increasing frequency. Things feel horribly unarchitected.

    My current favorite OS is actually android. Take the bazaar and productize it. Not bad. Getting better by the day.

  • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @06:41PM (#43648399) Homepage Journal

    You have to question the wisdom of chasing the iPad which has dropped to 40% http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS24093213 [idc.com] [idc.com] of the tablet market for 3 quarters (even after launching a smaller tablet) having been overtaken by Android, and growing less than half the overall market (Android is almost doubling growth).

    That's only half the story. When Android first came out on phones, they rapidly overtook Apple because there were a bunch of new players jumping into the game. Now that the market has stabilized, the pendulum is swinging back the other way. In the United States, iPhone sales are actually growing again, and now exceed Android phone sales. Worldwide, the numbers are also trending back in that direction. Chances are, the relative mix of sales will oscillate back and forth for a while before hitting some magic point of equilibrium in which a certain percentage of devices are iOS and a certain percentage are Android, and that won't change much until there is some major disruptive innovation. That's generally the way mature markets work.

    Similarly, right now, Android is growing much faster in tablets because it's really easy to grow from zero to nonzero. Once that market ceases to gain new players (and eventually, it will pretty much stabilize), there's no reason to believe that we won't see the same pattern emerging.

    You can tell Microsoft and Apple want the safe Duopoly back;

    You're half right. Microsoft wants their duopoly back. Right now, it's pretty much an Android/Apple duopoly, and Microsoft is just warming up the bench. As far as I can tell, Apple doesn't really care who their competitor is, so long as they have one. Competition drives Apple to provide a better platform, and in the end, that's good for pretty much everyone, whether you're an Apple user or an Android user.

    Androids monster growth is not going to stop anytime soon, the iPad is a dying platform.

    If you honestly think that iPad is a dying platform, I have a bridge to sell you. Dying platforms don't tell 70+ WWDC tickets per second at $1,599 a pop.

  • Re:Yeah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @06:56PM (#43648559) Homepage

    One thing I've noticed since switching to a Windows tablet is how lousy the onscreen keyboard is. On most platforms, touchscreen keyboards try to incorporate things like predictive text, auto-capitalization, etc to help you type, because they realize that a touchscreen with no tactile feedback is a less-than-idea way to type. The Windows onscreen keyboards have none of that. What's more, they seem wildly inaccurate ... the visual feedback seems to be telling me that I'm hitting the right keys, but when I look up at what I entered, half of the letters are keys right next to the ones I thought I was hitting (and although I can touch type on a physical keyboard, I do have to look at the keys on a tablet).

    What exactly do you do on a computer? Im gonna guess its not

    Writing proposals
    Writing code
    Doing financial work
    Doing systems administration

    Screw all of that. Before you can do any of that, you have to enter your password to login to the system first. Try that when you have a strong password and you can't be totally sure what keys you're pressing.

  • Re:And... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Shoten ( 260439 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @06:56PM (#43648569)

    I would like to have a single device that is a lightweight tablet with a tablet interface, but when I drop it into a dock with a real keyboard, mouse, and screen, it switches UI modes to the right UI for that. A "single experience" would be a flawed approach IMO.

    Even better if it would switch "experience" at need to also be my HTPC and gaming console when I have my TV connected and want to switch over to using a remote, or game controllers. The tablet hardware isn't there yet (for 3D gaming), but I expect it will be within 5 years or so.

    There's no technical bar here - it just seems to be a mindset thing. Tablet / PC / console / HTPC - why not have the tablet be the core of all of that, and just switch UI "experience" depending on what input devices and display I'm using at the moment? Let the software developers choose to support whichever of those "experiences" they care about for their products.

    The reason why you can't do this...at least yet...is that the core processing (CPU and video) functions at work here are fundamentally different in each of the experiences you describe. The same processor that gives you low heat and long battery life in a tablet is woefully underpowered for a gaming console or PC. The same graphics processor in a gaming console would require venting and a fan in a tablet. Other things are more pliable (although I don't know if you could hotplug RAM on the fly, I'm sure that's not quite as impossible to solve in the consumer market, as some servers have this ability) but the processors at those two core functions are all different across these device types, and for good reason.

  • by Brad Goodman ( 2906427 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @06:59PM (#43648597)
    Stop telling people what their tablet should be used for, and listen to them

    I'veI seen people bumbling around with smartphones, tablets and PDAs trying to take them to meetings and conferences, and use them to take notes. They all suck. The iPad keyboard is not "like a dream" to type on no matter what Steve Jobs said.

    I know one guy who has a surface pro - I asked him (as a joke) how he liked it. He said "it's great - I grab it on a way to a meeting - I can type - take notes, write docs, do spreadsheets."

    It's not about replacing the desktop - but being able to do some work while your not at it.

    I hate MS just as much as the next guy (I'm actually a Linux and iOS zealot) - but I believe microsoft's biggest mistake was showing those commercials with stupid people dancing around clicking their covers on-and-off and not showing what the product could actually do for you.

  • by styrotech ( 136124 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @07:10PM (#43648695)

    Microsoft is fustrated that still, no one gives a shit about windows 8, and no one wants windows rt, and they were all DOA.

    As much as I despise apple products, no cult-of-crapple iPad users would ever think twice about anything else, and if they did, it would more likely be android.

    MS rose to riches in the 90s on selling massive numbers of Office suites when they (and desktop PCs) really were a big productivity improvement.

    They put huge efforts into (mostly) successfully keeping standalone document/spreadsheet files relevant during the increasingly networked and web oriented 2000s. Smaller geekier companies (like ours) moved to things like wikis other webapps etc, but that didn't put much of a dent in the Office suite market.

    Now in the 2010s a bunch of smaller factors like mobility, device independence / cloud storage, "coolness", apps, always on networking, an increasingly powerful web, collaboration, the growth of other platforms etc have combined to really start eroding the actual value/point of a file based Office suite outside the world of the legacy enterprise desktop.

    I think MS has hung onto Office technology being the only real basis of any of their collaboration/content based solutions for far too long. Their fear of huting the massive Office profits has left them vulnerable/blind to being left behind. They realise this now and are getting a bit desperate.

  • Re:And... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tepples ( 727027 ) <{tepples} {at} {gmail.com}> on Monday May 06, 2013 @07:16PM (#43648761) Homepage Journal

    I don't know what more you can expect

    What I expected was some sort of freely licensed alternative to FingerPrint, just as MinGW is a freely licensed alternative to Visual C++.

  • by emblemparade ( 774653 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @10:34PM (#43649913)

    The clock is turning back: we used to call these things "workstations," a name that stood for a powerful but small computer sitting on a desk somewhere, definitely not something that everyone had or needed. We should call them that again: most of us won't need "workstations," but some us do.

    The word "PC" has run its course. Tablets and phones are far more "personal" than a big clunky desktop would ever be. So, yeah, I would say that conceptually the PC has died, or rather has become a workstation again.

    By the way, I'm one of those people who will always need a workstation... :) But it doesn't mean I begrudge or don't understand the changes in the industry. My mom sure as heck doesn't need a workstation for her email and web browsing.

  • Re:And... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by grantspassalan ( 2531078 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @11:39PM (#43650217)

    I am so disgusted that I can't get 3 tons of manure into a sports car. IPads and iPhones are computers just as much as that monstrosity that may still be sitting on your desk or gathering dust in some closet. Why does this nonsense of the death of the PC get propagated again and again and again and again and again? Desktop computers are like 18 wheelers, laptops correspond to delivery trucks, iPads are alike passenger cars as the iPhone is like a sports car. There, now you have a car analogy. I see plenty of 18 wheelers and delivery trucks on the roads amidst all the smaller vehicles. Similarly there will always be desktop and laptop computers in addition to their smaller brethren.

  • Re:And... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Zemran ( 3101 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @11:43PM (#43650237) Homepage Journal

    I think that if you have a desktop PC, you now have more choice. Do you need a laptop or a tablet? If you only check the internet etc. while you are away from your PC then a tablet is great but if you travel and do real work then you might still want a laptop... Some people are happy with a smart phone and a PC. I do not own nor want a tablet but I think that giving people more choice is great and I am therefore a strong supporter of tablets. To be honest, I have thought about getting a small dumb phone so that it fits in my pocket better and a tablet to replace what the phone can do but I doubt that I will ever do that... it is about having these options to think about and to be able to choose whereas Gates just want people to do what he can make money from.

  • Re:Yeah (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anne Thwacks ( 531696 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2013 @02:24AM (#43650843)
    I have noticed that, on many devices, when you enter the Wifi Key, you have the option to view it why the hell can't I have that for passwords? (especially on my Andoid Phone) If I am the only person in the room, it doesnt need to be converted to asterisks. (and if I am tyuping it over a 300 baud acoustic coupler in plaintext, hiding the echo won't help either).

How many NASA managers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? "That's a known problem... don't worry about it."