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Microsoft Surface Vs. Dell Venue: Tablet Rivals
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SortenB116
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SortenB116,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/10/2013 | 11:03:00 PM
re: Microsoft Surface Vs. Dell Venue: Tablet Rivals
You certainly can't compare the base price for the Venue 11 Pro with the Surface 2 Pro. The entry level Venue 11 Pro will come with BayTrail, which is much slower and much less expensive that the i5 processor in the Surface 2 Pro. I also don't think you can list screen size in favor of the Venue if they both have 10.6" screens.

I am more interested in the Venue 8 Pro, but I haven't seen any indication that it has any form of HDMI out, which makes it a lot less useful. There's no value to being able to run Windows desktop applications if you can do so on a large screen with a full size keyboard.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
10/7/2013 | 8:29:33 PM
re: Microsoft Surface Vs. Dell Venue: Tablet Rivals
True, Windows software is much more deeply woven into business infrastructure. But the article wasn't really about Windows devices being usurped by iOS devices, per se-- it was about Microsoft's Surface tablets specifically.

On that subject, Apple claims that more than 80% of tablets activated in the enterprise are iPads, and everything I've heard from research analysts supports this. So if the Surface is going to gain ground, it either needs to take some enterprise share away from iPads (in which case a "tablet with iOS" vs. "tablet with Windows 8.1" conversation becomes relevant) or it needs to replace retiring PCs and laptops (in which case the point isn't Surface vs. iPad so much as Surface's hardware convergence vs. other notebook options, such as clamshell Utrabooks, other convertible form factors such as the Lenovo Helix or the Dell Venue, etc.). In most scenarios, in other words, Microsoft is selling to potentially slim fractions of the market: the people who want a premium tablet but don't want an iPad; the people willing to pay top dollar for a portable, all-in-one convergence device; the people whose data revolves more around Microsoft's ecosystem of apps and integrated services than around Apple or Google's; etc.. That was the point of the article-- that the Surface tablets are much improved but still basically target niches that make breakout success questionable.

But if the article implies that employee preference for iOS means iOS is somehow pushing Windows out of the enterprise, then, no, that's not what I meant. Microsoft, as you point out, is still way more "business" than Apple, even with Apple recently making a few overtures to the enterprise and Microsoft spending more effort wooing consumers. Windows software will be crucial to the world's businesses for some time to come. But iOS isn't irrelevant to the enterprise, or to Microsoft's Modern UI and Surface plans.
rradina
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rradina,
User Rank: Ninja
10/7/2013 | 6:15:34 PM
re: Microsoft Surface Vs. Dell Venue: Tablet Rivals
I'm not sure I agree. IMO -- we're already converged. Citrix access to desktop applications is the green-screen terminal emulator of 25 years ago. Tablets will use Citrix for years to come and that will bridge the gap. The writing is on the wall for the classic desktop GUI just as it was for green screens (even Microsoft knows it -- that's why they created the modern UI).

It took years for the green screen crowd to to stop slamming desktops as "toys". How familiar does that sound to the comments here that criticize tablets as "toys" because they cannot "create content" (whatever the heck that means.)

I actually think Microsoft has some interesting converged technology. However, unless the new Surface models or the OEMs quickly gain a lot of traction in the coming year, it.....won't.....matter. Android and iOS have momentum and a huge lead in the native application space.

If convergence is viewed as the Superbowl, it's the fourth quarter with 8 minutes remaining. Microsoft has the ball but it's down by 14 points (two possessions). If they go three and out or fumble instead of scoring quickly, the other team has a great running game and they know how to eat the clock. Microsoft might get the ball back and they might even score again but it isn't going to be enough to win. Football isn't a "best of" series. It's one game and Microsoft needs to score quickly with their new products, gain momentum, get their "D" fired up and get the ball back to have a chance in OT.
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
10/7/2013 | 5:47:46 PM
re: Microsoft Surface Vs. Dell Venue: Tablet Rivals
"employees" use iOS at work? Really? Besides outside sales people, upper mgmt and the few people who have jobs creating media content, who uses an Apple at work? I'm still waiting on that list of Top 10 ERP applications which run on iOS. And don't bother me with business apps that run in browser, then it doesn't matter what your o/s is.
Apple iOS is still very much a consumer device, excepting stuff like your car dealer walking around with e-forms on his iPad or buying a coffee at Starbucks with your iPhone. That is not "business" in the sense of running a real company. When someone is running a manufacturing company that makes real products with Apple servers and client devices, let's have this discussion then. Oh wait, Apple doesn't make servers, I guess we'll be waiting awhile for that dialog, like forever.
DDURBIN1
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DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Ninja
10/7/2013 | 4:53:25 PM
re: Microsoft Surface Vs. Dell Venue: Tablet Rivals
"employees prefer iOS to the Modern UI" there you have it in a nut shell. Microsoft's touch UI is not as intuitive as iOS or Android thus the poor acceptance as Microsoft and Dell fight with others for the slim segment of the market willing to buy windows 8 tablets. Only corporate honchos can justify the cost of the learning curve their employee's will encounter as was done at Delta which hasn't made a sound business decision since the late 1980s.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
10/7/2013 | 4:23:59 PM
re: Microsoft Surface Vs. Dell Venue: Tablet Rivals
You might have a point that convergence is inevitable, but I think Windows 8 is relevant to when and how. Convergence is going to happen, but the question is whether Microsoft has it figured out. Microsoft had a tablet before Apple, but Microsoft didn't figure out how to strike that market with the right features at the right time. That didn't stop tablets from becoming popular, and even if Windows 8.1 flounders, those struggled probably won't stop convergence. But those struggles could inform the shape convergence finally takes in the mass market, just as Windows 8.1 will set positive precedents if it performs well.
rradina
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rradina,
User Rank: Ninja
10/7/2013 | 1:15:53 PM
re: Microsoft Surface Vs. Dell Venue: Tablet Rivals
"It also suggests Windows 8 hasn't persuaded users that convergence is the way forward, and raises doubts about whether Windows 8.1 adds enough to change their minds."

Convergence is inevitable and it has nothing to do with Windows 8. Folks are buying keyboards for their tablets and they want no more than two devices that do it all (a tablet and a phone.) Laptops replaced desktops several years ago. Using tablets like laptops will cause them to replace laptops. Resistance is futile for the same reason folks ditched desktops for laptops.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
10/6/2013 | 8:27:24 PM
re: Microsoft Surface Vs. Dell Venue: Tablet Rivals
Agreed, as the article says at the end. Large-capacity Surface Pros and even discounted Surface RTs have sold out in the past, but neither meant much in the end.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
10/6/2013 | 7:55:35 PM
re: Microsoft Surface Vs. Dell Venue: Tablet Rivals
Yeah, I don't think there's any way to compare Apple having limited supplies of, say, the iPhone 5S and Microsoft having limited supplies earlier this year of the original Surface Pro. I mean, Microsoft could astonish everyone in the next couple weeks by announcing an incredible number of presales-- but none of the MIcrosoft's past "sold out" devices have been anything like Apple's, so I wouldn't count on it.

Still, if Microsoft has any promising data, I think they should hold onto it for the moment. It's likely that Apple will announce an new iPad and new MacBook Pros just a couple days before Microsoft launches Windows 8.1 and its new Surfaces. Apple, in other words, is poised to steal Microsoft's thunder, at least in the mass market. If Microsoft has some great stats to share, it'll need them to steal some thunder back. If all Microsoft can do is point to the number of Windows 8.1 activations (which are inevitable, since it's free to existing Win 8 customers), you'll know it's falling flat.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
10/6/2013 | 7:43:40 PM
re: Microsoft Surface Vs. Dell Venue: Tablet Rivals
I probably shouldn't have buried this paragraph on the second page, but the article acknowledges that Microsoft's "nearly sold-out" inventory might not mean much:

"But these signs aren't convincing. Without knowing how much presale inventory Microsoft made available, it's premature to characterize the preorders as a triumph. Given how poorly the Surface RT sold, constrained supplies could simply mean Microsoft produced fewer units this time."

There's plenty of reason to be skeptical of Microsoft's tweet, and (as the end of the article notes) even its recent high-profile deployments, such as Delta. But the issue has shades of gray.

On the issue of whether Dell's tablets are worth paying attention to, for example: I think they warrant consideration because a) they're very competitively priced; b) their specs are much more attractive.

Other indications of rising Windows tablet momentum include recent data from IDC and other research firms; most of them generally agree Windows 8 will not be deployed en mass in the enterprise but feel that Win 8 will nonetheless gain enterprise tablet market share via division or group-level mobile deployments. Most of the analysts also agree that Windows 8 won't displace the iPad's spot in the enterprise, which makes it all a little hazy.

Your skepticism toward Win 8.1's prospects isn't unwarranted. Dell's new machines are attractively priced and the hardware seems nice. But they'll still Windows 8.1. Ditto for Microsoft's new Surfaces. They're both nice (albeit expensive) machines, but they both still run Windows 8.1. I think Windows 8.1 is an improvement, and Microsoft's Surface tablets - with their SkyDrive and Skype ties - point toward the ecosystem of integrated services Microsoft is trying to build. But if buyers truly dislike Windows 8, better prices and new hardware might not help. Microsoft could always surprise us with the final release, but at face value, Windows 8.1 is a targeted and iterative evolution, not a major overhaul.

That's really what this second generation of Windows tablets will provide-- a referendum on the Live Tile UI, if not also on the current appeal of hybrid form factors. The first generation of devices was hampered by poor pricing and clunky hardware. The new generation of devices has these problems figured out, to varying extents. If sales are still lackluster, it'll be hard to blame anything except the OS, and perhaps the brand of convergence it's trying to provide.

My intuition, though, is that sales will trend up. Windows tablets will still get clobbered by Android and iOS devices this year, even if Apple does its competitors a favor by not announcing a Retina iPad Mini until 2014 (per the recent rumor making the rounds online). But it's a big and growing market, and even if Windows tablets are in third place, they can still sell enough units to carve out a role.
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