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5/6/2013
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Bill Gates: iPad Users 'Frustrated'

iPad users can't get anything done, says Gates. The solution? Microsoft's Surface tablet, of course.

10 Ways Microsoft Could Improve Surface Tablets
10 Ways Microsoft Could Improve Surface Tablets
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Bill Gates took to CNBC today to pitch Microsoft's line of Surface tablets, and he had some choice words for Apple's iPad and similar tablets. "A lot of those users are frustrated," said Gates. "They can't type, they can't create documents, they don't have Office there."

Gates pegged current tablets' lack of physical keyboards as their biggest detractor. There's no arguing that it's easier, quicker, and more accurate to pound out text with a physical keyboard. Today's mobile professionals grew up using typewriters, word processors, desktops and laptops -- all of which include real keyboards. There's something to be said for the muscle memory that comes from beating on keys for a decade or two.

The iPad and other tablets use virtual keyboards that appear on the display and come and go as needed when you need to enter text. They work, but they don't offer the same tactile response that comes with a real keyboard.

Gates then pointed out that the Surface RT and Surface Pro, Microsoft's two tablets, have keyboard options that make them more productive. Further, the Surface Pro runs a full version of Windows, which includes Microsoft Office, Outlook, and tons of productivity apps. The Surface, said Gates, offers the "portability of the tablet, but the richness of a PC."

[ The iPad Mini is proving to be more popular than its big brother. Read iPad Mini Eating iPad's Lunch. ]

Surely Gates knows there is an entire industry of accessory makers that supports the iPad and other tablets with keyboards. LogiTech and Zagg are just two companies that make reasonably priced keyboard cases (~$100) for the iPad. There are many others. Stating that iPad users are frustrated with the lack of a keyboard is simply disingenuous considering the fact that Microsoft charges an extra $100 and $129.99 to equip the Surface RT and the Surface Pro, respectively, with keyboards of their own.

As for Gates' comments about Office, iPad users don't appear to miss it. Apple sold 19.5 million iPads during the first quarter of 2013, during which time Microsoft sold only about 900,000 Surface tablets. Those numbers speak clearly enough.

Further, both Apple and Google offer productivity suites for the iPad that are compatible (to a degree) with Office. iPad users can create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations through Apple's or Google's software and sync those documents with various cloud services, including iCloud and Google Drive.

At the end of the day, of course, Gates is just doing what he's supposed to be doing: supporting the products made by his company. There's nothing wrong with that. It would be better for Gates, however, if he weren't ignoring what's going on in the tablet market right now. Better yet, maybe he should do something about the Surface's own shortcomings.

Here's the actual clip of Gates speaking:

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Greg MacSweeney
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Greg MacSweeney,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/9/2013 | 1:53:58 PM
re: Bill Gates: iPad Users 'Frustrated'
Tablet apps are evolving to the point where they are just almost as productive as a PC. With a Zagg keyboard (or logitech), the iPad is approaching the functionality of a PC.

Now, if you are going to be sitting down in an office for 8-10 hours, a PC is obviously a better choice. But tablets are rapidly approaching the functionality that most users need on a daily basis.
rabbitrock
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rabbitrock,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/8/2013 | 8:13:16 PM
re: Bill Gates: iPad Users 'Frustrated'
So let me get this straight. Windows and Office move the cheese (radical interface changes that orphan 300 MM users experience), but said competitor innovates and winds up leaving users frustrated? Cat Kettle Black - at best.
Ks2 Problema
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Ks2 Problema,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/8/2013 | 12:25:41 AM
re: Bill Gates: iPad Users 'Frustrated'
I don't have an iPad, I hope I never have to use W8, with the exception of Access, I haven't used Office in this century, but I do have a Google Nexus 7 and, while it's mostly a fine piece of hardware, in my view, tablets, in their native configuration, are good for one thing: the passive consumption of media. Trying to get any work done on a tablet without at least a keyboard and mouse attached can be agonizing.

(And even then you're still stuck with a thoroughly hobbled, single-app-centric user interface. You know, like 'Metro.')

But, guess what...

Passive media consumption is, apparently, just fine with Joe and Mary Sixpack. Heaven love 'em.
Vader674
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Vader674,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/7/2013 | 10:15:33 PM
re: Bill Gates: iPad Users 'Frustrated'
I can say I am a huge anti apple guy, I don't like proprietary anything. I'm a huge fan of Android and Microsoft, BUT Bill is off base here and missing the boat. Keyboards are no reason to buy Microsoft. Want a Tablet? Android or Apple are both FAR superior to Microsoft's crap they are putting out.
Fill
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Fill,
User Rank: Strategist
5/7/2013 | 8:09:09 PM
re: Bill Gates: iPad Users 'Frustrated'
I use an Apple bluetooth keyboard with my iPad, as needed. They also make a keyboard dock. Better than a magnetically attached floppy keyboard, imho. What Microsoft has 'invented' is a awkward little laptop that needs a kickstand to be propped up. It's quite odd, it's like they started with a decent touch screen ultrabook and removed the keyboard and then stuck it back on with a magnetic connection and called it a 'tablet'. Worse, they took a tablet OS, Windows 8, and are trying to force it onto everybody's desktop where it doesn't belong. It makes you wonder wth were they thinking? Did they not do any focus groups or market testing?
pmmms
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pmmms,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/7/2013 | 7:35:17 PM
re: Bill Gates: iPad Users 'Frustrated'
Can't believe CNBC let Bill come on for an "ad" for Microsoft Surface. His whole comment is one big lie.
bfore1254
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bfore1254,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/7/2013 | 7:33:59 PM
re: Bill Gates: iPad Users 'Frustrated'
Nice try Mr Gates, as an iPad user I am so frustrated I just bought two more Ipads.
UNCLE BERNIE MADOFF
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UNCLE BERNIE MADOFF,
User Rank: Strategist
5/7/2013 | 7:18:59 PM
re: Bill Gates: iPad Users 'Frustrated'
Gates seems clueless. He reminds me of his dottering old mentor, Buffett.
moarsauce123
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moarsauce123,
User Rank: Ninja
5/7/2013 | 7:16:14 PM
re: Bill Gates: iPad Users 'Frustrated'
Wow. At this point Bill Gates' misguided ideas about tablets have been so thoroughly discredited by recent history that I'm surprised people even bother to print his tablet-related opinions anymore. :)
BandH
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BandH,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/7/2013 | 7:11:03 PM
re: Bill Gates: iPad Users 'Frustrated'
The interesting observation here is that this is the first time, in recent years, that I can recall Bill Gates being trotted out to the media to promote a Microsoft product. In recent years he has devoted all his time, and public appearances, to promoting the excellent work and goals of his nonprofit foundation.
Is this an indication of how poorly the surface/tablet/Windows 8 product lines are performing and how desperate Microsoft has become? I can almost hear a private conversation between Bill and Steve Balmer - "But Bill, we REALLY need you to help push the products this time, we are hurting and need our Chairman to go on record and slings arrows against the competition like the good old days..."
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