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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:And... (Score:5, Informative)

      by CannonballHead ( 842625 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @05:44PM (#43647663)

      that no one seriously expect a tablet to be a PC

      No, but the option for more overlap is nice. Especially when it has nothing to do with actual processing power issues, and not even screen size with a tablet, but simply peripheral and OS problems.

      If nothing else... PRINTING would be awfully nice from a tablet. Too bad both Android and Apple have clunky hacks (well, I'm not too familiar with the Apple one, but I understand it's not a native print-to-printer thing). It's not like it's a hard problem to solve, it's been solved for years.

      Same with typing. ASUS has a good thing, IMO, going with their Transformer tablets (I own one). I think it was smart for Microsoft to do it.

      I'm sure it's not for everyone. Not everyone likes smartphones, either (I don't have one) ... some for very similar reasons ("nobody seriously expects a phone to be a computer"). But, hey, some do. And I've heard, actually, some very good things about the Windows tablets. The bad thing, of course, is that they are expensive :)

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by immaterial ( 1520413 )
        It is a "native print-to-printer" thing. Tap the share button, choose "Print." The only caveat is the printer must be AirPrint [wikipedia.org] compatible, which most (if not all) consumer printers sold now are. For people with older printers or in corporate environments with larger office printers, there is both free and commercial AirPrint server software that can make any printer available to an iOS device.
      • Re:And... (Score:4, Informative)

        by crankyspice ( 63953 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @07:44PM (#43648931)

        PRINTING would be awfully nice from a tablet. Too bad both Android and Apple have clunky hacks (well, I'm not too familiar with the Apple one, but I understand it's not a native print-to-printer thing).

        Modern printers can be printed to directly. For everything else (my trusty Canon multi-function, my 8 year old cheap-when-it-was-new Samsung GDI contraption) that are shared via my Linux fileserver, it was a simple setup for CUPS and now those printers are iOS-accessible, too.

        Same with typing.

        The iPad has supported Bluetooth keyboards since day 1, and Apple (and countless third parties) have sold such keyboards since day 1 (of the iPad). I use one (a Zagg model with a slot that can be used to conveniently stand the iPad) with an iOS 4.3.3 first-generation iPad, routinely...

      • Re:And... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by mcrbids ( 148650 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @07:59PM (#43649041) Journal

        With my phone, a Razr Maxx HDD, I find myself commonly doing "real work" on the go, where Swype on the screen just doesn't cut it. I got myself an iGo folding BT keyboard and LOVE IT. Android comes with QuickOffice which does a passable job at MS Office compatibility, and which I've used many times in conjunction with the email and JuiceSSH for remote access to servers.

        I wish apps weren't full screen; It's trivial to plug my phone into a nearby TV with HDMI and, with bluetooth keyboard, have an impromptu "PC" with pretty impressive "content creation" capability. Copy/Paste is still weak, but it's improving rapidly.

        My phone is more powerful than the majority of computers I've used in my almost-20-year history working in information technology. It's silly to think it's not ever going to be considerable as a PC replacement.

    • Re:And... (Score:5, Informative)

      by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @05:46PM (#43647681) Homepage 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.

      I wouldn't mind if the screen on my laptop was removable, if it worked just like magic. and the usb ports on the base unit kept working when the screen was detached and it was in range. that would be sweet at home.

      however the whole windows 8 thing is a masterful diversion from the real thing that MS has riding on it.. I might sound like a broken record here, but the real thing why windows 8 is significant is that they're extending microsoft tax to 3rd party software - and nobody is talking about it. on rt it's _all_ 3rd party sw, if you pay then you pay part of the money to MS, on regular 8 it's just metro stuff currently, however now they can "give in" and give the regular desktop more prominent role again in their plans and have regular desktop apps distributed through their store as well then and people will praise them for being sensible. adobe is trying to fight that with subscription model(3rd party payments?), since in the future they sure as fuck wouldn't want to pay MS 30% of a 2500 dollar sale.

      • I wouldn't mind if the screen on my laptop was removable,

        Oh, it's removable. Perhaps not usable afterward, but definitely removable.
        Or did you have something else in mind? :-)

    • Re:And... (Score:5, Informative)

      by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @05:52PM (#43647769)
      I think you are overestimating the intelligence of a very profitable demographic for the tablet market, while Gates may be more right on.

      There are people who buy tablets as their PCs and only then realize why keyboards are still a thing. Hell, I've heard of a whole school that decided to get all the teachers computers, then decided to get them ipads. This was not an unpopular idea until shortly after it was actually implemented.
    • Re:And... (Score:5, Funny)

      by Nyder ( 754090 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @06:05PM (#43647963) 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.

      Ya, Bill Gates is the last person I'd take advice from when it comes to Apple products.

    • We recently went through a pretty agressive transition to google docs in my department. Approximately 40 people mostly accountants and managers who's marriage to office was extreme. There was extreme push back by the accountants for the very reason stated in the article. Android/Google aren't real documents. you can only view snapshots but cannot work efficiently. The collaboration was the sell, with the thinking being use your pc to edit in native office formats. At this point all the accountants have sw

    • 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.

      • Re:And... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by jasnw ( 1913892 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @11:40PM (#43650227)
        The one time I wish I had mod points I don't. There are many of us "tired" folks out here, but I don't think we're in for any relief any time soon because it's the ADHD teenage Valley Girl market that seems to be driving where OS development goes these days. As I sit before my Mountain Lion OS X box at home I'm constantly reminded how much better my older/slower (hardware wise) Snow Leopard box at work is. I give Apple one more try at turning things around with their next major OS upgrade, and if it's another big step towards iOS I'm putting Snow Leopard on all my Apple boxes and planning for life as a techno hermit.
    • 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.

      I do. I wish a tablet could run everything my pc can and could also be used as a portable touch device when I didn't want the 30" monitor, kb and mouse. It would be a dream come true. Processor architecture, along with severe performance limitations inherent to tablet devices are both major roadblocks.

    • 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.

  • Personally (Score:5, Funny)

    by themaddone ( 180841 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @05:39PM (#43647587)

    It's true.

    --Sent from my iPad

  • by LordKronos ( 470910 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @05:40PM (#43647595)

    I hate apple products as much as the next guy, but I'm not sure I can agree with this. I see my coworkers typing on their ipads all the time with a dock-like keyboard that attaches to act like a cover when not in use (not sure what it's called or if it's an official apple product or 3rd party).

  • 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.
    • 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.

    • While I agree about RT (stupid decision), the lack of adoption with Windows 8 has more to do with the lack of adoption by business app vendors. In fact, they're panicking about Win 8, because the morons never even got their crap running right on Windows 7. We have three XP systems with $3,000 software dongles on them that are still running XP because the vendor never made a Win 7 client.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 06, 2013 @05:43PM (#43647635)

    Like a start menu. oh wait.

  • Since ipad users are missing Office, we can expect to see a return of Office for Mac(now iOS)?

  • by ZeroPly ( 881915 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @05:44PM (#43647653)
    ... generally I don't lug it around.

    I evaluated the Surface Pro last month. We got a keyboard with it which I put in my office cabinet. It's still sitting there. I have a choice at work of what tablet I want to use, since I'm the product evaluator for that category. Right now I have an iPad, several different Androids, the RT (yuk), and this Surface Pro.

    The keyboard just isn't that big a deal to me. The one that comes with it is nice in that it magnetically latches, but in terms of actual typing it's slower than a $7 generic one from Micro Center.

    The reason I carry the Surface Pro is because my Windows software will run on it. Plus, it's got a USB port. If I care that much I'll just steal a full keyboard off someone's desk and plug it into the tablet. I'm in a corporate environment, it's not like USB keyboards are hard to come by. Crap, I keep one in my car...
  • 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.

  • . . . a lot of folks I see using computers can't do that with a keyboard either . . .

    • by stanjo74 ( 922718 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @06:42PM (#43648431)
      This was modded funny, but is actually insightful. Not many people are producing content (documents, drawings, etc). Everyone is consuming content - video streaming, web browsing, casual gaming, social media + some basic typing/input . Apple bet on the latter group and created a product that does this very well - zero administration, no viruses, safe applications.

      People who need to create content already used specialized software and/or machines (aka PC, workstation, server, etc). They are not buying a tablet to replace that.

      • Well, that's not a bad bet. Everybody consumes more content than they produce. I read more books than I write, and watch more movies than I direct.

  • by painandgreed ( 692585 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @05:48PM (#43647717)
    So frustrated, that I have never bothered to even take the bluetooth keyboard I bought along with my iPad out of the box in the past two years.
  • 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 GrBear ( 63712 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @05:52PM (#43647757)

    Users are frustrated because it lacks a keyboard? You mean just like Surface? Oh, but you can buy one as an add-on you say? You mean just like Surface?

    Wow.. I'm not sure who I'm more afraid of now.. Ballmer or Gates, both seem pretty out of touch with reality.

  • 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.

  • by ProfessorDoom ( 82503 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @05:59PM (#43647873)

    Dear Abby,

        Ever since we got my 13-year old an iPad, he's gone up to his bedroom after dinner each night and asked us to not disturb him while he "creates a document." Today I learned from Bill Gates that he can't actually create a document.

        Should I knock before entering his room to ask about this?

  • by tekrat ( 242117 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @06:00PM (#43647895) Homepage Journal

    Trying so hard to still be relevant.

    He's trying hard to sell Balmer's terrible mistakes. Bill, I hope your money still isn't tied up in Microsoft Stock, as in 10 years it's gonna be over for you.

    I can create documents on my phone. It's called a bluetooth keyboard and you can get one on Amazon for as little as $20 for a Chinese apple knock-off. (So cheap, I keep one at home, and one at work, so I don't have to carry the keyboard, just my phone).

    Bill, you're smoking crack and you've missed the boat again.

  • by kwiqsilver ( 585008 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @06:18PM (#43648105)

    We're so frustrated that we keep buying more and more iPads thinking it will fix the problem.

    And of course, we would never do anything a stupid as use an iPad for what it's good for and a notebook or desktop for what they're good for. Nope. We assume every electronic device should do everything that our other electronic devices do. What I'm really frustrated about with the iPad is its inability to make toast or wash my clothes.

  • 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.

  • by SendBot ( 29932 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @06:21PM (#43648133) Homepage Journal

    He should check out windows users sometime. They can't:
    - find the very files that they just saved
    - or even just browse the contents of their machine
    - switch between programs without a mouse (I alt-tab and they go "woah, how'd you do that!?")
    - change the toner catridge in the network printer themselves
    - climb under their own dirty desks to plug things in
    - be trusted to install their own software
    - understand why IE is a poor choice

    Yes, I did work as a support monkey for a little while.

  • by evil_aaronm ( 671521 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @06:24PM (#43648195)
    On a couple of counts: 1. For typing, I can use the built-in "keyboard" easily enough. When I know I'll have to type a lot, like at a meeting, I'll bring my BT keyboard. 2. For creating documents, there are a number of Word-sort-of-compatible apps: Pages; Office2; QuickOffice; QuickWord; Documents To Go; etc. Yeah, it's not 100% Office compatibility, but if I need to shoot off a quick doc with some formatting, a table or two, I can do it. I'd use it on the airplane, or riding along as a passenger on a road trip to put together a rough draft that I'd finish in the office, using Word on the desktop. I realize that the platform and apps are limited, and there's a time and place to do different kinds of work. It's a matter of setting expectations.
  • by MouseTheLuckyDog ( 2752443 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @06:29PM (#43648255)

    Wow a minor miracle.
    BIll Gates notices that IPhone users are frustrated because they have to buy a bluetooth keyboard to type a lot.

    Too bad he didn't notice that for two decades that Windows users are frustrated because their computers keep crashing.

  • by EmperorOfCanada ( 1332175 ) on Monday May 06, 2013 @06:36PM (#43648337)
    I would like to be able to type more on my iPad. I even got the iPad keyboard (stupid thing is in portrait not landscape) but that is not what small devices are for. Small devices are for content consumption. Large double/triple screened monsters are for content creation. By consumption, taking pictures or sending texts are at the small end and doing 3D animation is at the large end.

    Even accountants need double monitors. I am mostly a C++ developer using 2 screens and wishing for 3. My iPad is for watching Coursera and other lecture videos. My iPhone is for texting, a tiny bit of email, a microscopic amount of browsing, and for listening to Audiobooks and lectures, oh and phone calls.

    In a super emergency I use my iPhone or iPad for SSHing into my server; but that is purified suckage.

    If I had to make a prediction it would be that many consumers won't even consider getting a home PC what they will do is get large screened smart phones. A possibility is that a good docking station comes out so they can have a laptop type interface where the vast computing bulk comes from the phone. This way they can type longer letters, write school reports, properly interface with a printer, and fill out complicated on-line forms.

    I don't want my tablet/smartphone to try to be more and fail. I don't ever want to edit a spreadsheet on something so frustrating. Any attempt to make it less frustrating will just frustrate me more.

"More software projects have gone awry for lack of calendar time than for all other causes combined." -- Fred Brooks, Jr., _The Mythical Man Month_