Microsoft Exec Slams Apple iPad As Consumption-Only Device5:05 PM EST Tue. Oct. 16, 2012
Microsoft is characterizing Apple's hot-selling iPad tablet as a "consumption" only device as it prepares to take the iPad down a notch with its own Surface tablet.
"The iPad is a great device for consuming information, consuming data and getting information, but you can't really do high-end work on it," said Long Tran, director of technology and cloud services for Microsoft's U.S. SMB Technology group, in a presentation Tuesday at the Best of Breed (BoB) Conference, run by UBM Channel, the parent company of CRN, at the Grand Hyatt in Tampa, Fla. "It is really, really difficult [to do work on the iPad] because of the screen size. There is no compromise with Windows 8. You not only get a consumption device, but you get a creation device."
Microsoft, in fact, is positioning its Surface tablet with its Surface Touch Cover keyboard as a no-compromise device that plays well in both the consumer content consumption world and the business content creation world with enterprise business applications.
Microsoft Tuesday inadvertently released pricing for the Surface tablet. Microsoft Surface for Windows RT tablet -- without the Surface Touch Cover keyboard -- will carry a $499 price tag for an entry-level device with 32 GB of storage. That's the same price as the Apple iPad with 16 GB of storage.
The price for Surface rises to $599 to include the Surface Touch Cover keyboard. That's comparable to the Apple iPad 32-GB model, which has a $599 price tag. The Apple iPad 64-GB model has a $699 price tag.
At the BoB Conference, which is aimed at helping solution providers retool for the cloud computing era, Tran showed off Windows 8 running on the Samsung Series 7 tablet.
"This is one device that can do it all for you," said Tran. "I see a lot of times people carrying two or three devices. They want to watch something on one device and work on another device, and they want to do something else on a third device. With Microsoft, with one device, you are going to be able to do it end to end. That is our vision."
Among the major differences between iPad and Windows 8 tablets is the fact that Windows 8 can be used for both personal and "enterprise grade" applications, said Tran. What's more, he said, Windows 8 tablets provide the security and management that is missing with the Apple iPad.
On Windows 8 tablets, users can create multiple logons with a business-class profile for their own use, restricting access to business data, while at the same time creating a profile for a child using the same device for content consumption.
"Businesses don't want that [mission-critical business] information out there for children, kids and toddlers working on that iPad because you might have some security breaches or vulnerabilities," said Tran. "With Microsoft with Windows 8 you can set up multiple user accounts. So if your child gets on, they can have that account, and if you are doing business and need high-end security, you can have that as well."
NEXT: Solution Providers See Big Windows 8 Tablet Opportunity
Solution providers attending the conference said they see Windows 8 tablets as a major new opportunity to bring enterprise-class business applications and security to their customers that are looking to implement tablet-based solutions.
Christopher Hertz, founder and CEO of New Signature, a Washington D.C.-based Microsoft partner, said he is already pitching Windows 8 devices vs. iPad in businesses and winning 100 percent of the time in his customer base.
"What is compelling for customers is that whether you go from the phone to the tablet to the PC, you have got a single, unified experience in the business environment with pretty aggressive security," said Hertz. "When we find customers that haven't used an iPad and put a Windows 8 tablet in front of them, they go to Windows 8."
New Signature has invested in building Windows 8 applications including a mobile polling and analytics application called Votifi.
For his own personal use, Hertz said he has an iPad, which he uses for content consumption but does not use for business. What's more, he said, the Samsung 7 Series with a wide screen provides a better video experience because of its larger screen size compared to the iPad. "Video on this [Samsung 7] is pretty darn good," he said. "On my iPad, I have that letterbox effect."
Douglas Grosfield, president of Xylotek Solutions, a Microsoft partner based in Cambridge, Ontario, predicted Windows 8 will drive big sales growth for partners in 2013.
"Windows 8 is going to be a boon for businesses," he said."Microsoft has a good track record of going all in on a new technology like Windows 8. When they recognize there is opportunity, they are all over it."
Grosfield also predicted that Surface and other Windows 8 tablets will give fits to the Apple iPad. "The Surface tablet is disruptive technology," he said. "It is a business tool. It is designed first and foremost for business use in the enterprise. It is a corporate device."
The Surface for Windows RT tablet is slated to ship Oct. 26, the same day Microsoft's long-awaited Windows 8 enters the marketplace. Windows RT is a version of Windows 8 for ARM-based devices. Another tablet in the Surface product line, based on an Intel microprocessor and running Windows 8 Pro, is slated to be available in late January 2013.
Microsoft plans to sell the Surface tablets only through the Microsoft Store and other retail outlets, not through the company's legions of channel partners. Selling its own tablet device also puts Microsoft in competition with OEM partners such as Samsung, Lenovo and HP.
PUBLISHED OCT. 16, 2012