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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."