If you click on the picture above, you’ll be taken to an article from The Guardian, entitled “Bill Gates predicts iPad and Android users will switch to PC tablets,” by Charles Arthur. In the article, we learn a little about Microsoft co-founder, and former CEO, Bill Gates. To summarize Gates predicts that current iPad, iPad Mini and Android tablet users are going to move to Microsoft Surface products because current limitations. His major arguments for this prediction lies in the value of a physical keyboard and Microsoft Office. In my opinion, his arguments are fairly weak. I think we’ve noted that the value of a physical keyboard has been on the decline. More and more people are adept at using a virtual keyboard. Aside from this, many people still turn to an actual computer when they have to type something of extensive length. The argument centered around Microsoft Office is also a little overblown. I won’t deny that Microsoft Office is still the golden standard of the office application suite. I use it everyday and while I have used alternatives, such as the free and widely-available Open Office in the past, I’ve always gone back to using Microsoft Office. It’s more polished, mature, and feature rich. Nonetheless, I don’t think that this is a very big detriment for tablet users. Most people don’t purchase a tablet in order to do Office-related work on it. Some do intend to use some features to that affect, but I don’t think it’s really on the majority of consumers minds. The fact also is that there are many viable Microsoft Office alternatives on both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. For example, OfficeSuite Pro 7 is a great alternative for Android devices, which was recently a tip on my other blog The Tech Tipper (thetechtipper.wordpress.com). It has a great mobile user interface, features, and the ability to sync files with services such as Dropbox, Drive, and Sugarsync. It simply works great for mobile devices. I don’t deny though that there is a lot of value in Microsoft’s Surface offerings.
Windows 8 is really great. The new interface really has taken it into 2013 and has made it a viable option for tablet. I myself haven’t used a Microsoft Surface tablet, but I can see the value in having a full Windows installation on a tablet that can easily be popped into play with a physical keyboard. For a tablet consumer who wants to bridge the gap between a full powered computer, notebook computer, and tablet, the Microsoft Surface may indeed be one of the better options out there. As Charles Arthur writes though, “But with total iPad sales since April 2010 already past 141m, and total tablet sales according to IDC at 253m – of which fewer than 2m are the Surface RT or Surface Pro – one might wonder whether he’s right.” The Microsoft Surface clearly hasn’t taken off because I don’t believe this is one of the primary uses tablet consumers are looking for. They want an easy way to consume their media, surf the web, and a great rich app market. I wouldn’t expect Bill Gates to speak against the Microsoft Surface and, of course, I’m not either. The market is becoming increasingly competitive and perhaps as the year goes on the Microsoft Surface will be able to make a greater foothold. Microsoft does have the resources, the marketing ability, and a great product to continue to push and I would like to see the Microsoft Surface gain in popularity because in the end it benefits consumers as a whole. Competition breeds innovation and there is still a lot that can be done with the tablet market.