Microsofts Long Tablet Track Record Wont Help

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-12-15 Print this article Print


5. Google is attracting vendors 

Speaking of Google, the company is doing a fine job of attracting vendors. In fact, it's expected that, in addition to Samsung's Galaxy Tab, products that run Android will arrive on the market in 2011 from LG, Acer, and other providers. Considering both Microsoft and Google are offering an operating system for vendors to include in their products, the companies are competing for the same development dollars. So far, at least, Google looks to be ahead. 

6. Tablets are an escape from Windows 

Don't underestimate that part of the allure of a tablet is that it's an escape from Windows. Devices such as the iPad or the Galaxy Tab allow consumers to bypass most of the security concerns, as well as all the quirks that make Windows so useful on desktops, but less useful on tablets. When it comes to tablets, consumers want to use products that are designed with those form factors in mind. And, to date, Apple and Google are doing the best job of delivering on that. 

7. There's a long history there 

Let's not forget that Microsoft has been heavily invested in the tablet space for years. Windows XP Tablet Edition is one of the more notable tablet offerings extant. Yet, it never caught on much beyond the enterprise. It wasn't until Apple offered the iPad that tablets officially became a product for mainstream users. If Microsoft hasn't had success in the past, what would make one think it can turn this around in the future? 

8. Enterprise-only? 

There is some debate over the viability of Windows 7-based tablets in the enterprise. On one hand, the operating system doesn't seem a good choice for companies that want a simple, intuitive experience for employees. However, Windows is heavily entrenched in the enterprise, and it's the operating system that employees know. It's hard to see Windows 7-based tablets becoming successful in the consumer market, but they might have a slight shot in the enterprise. Unfortunately for Microsoft, though, that won't be enough to take down Apple or Google. 

9. The "time and effort" question 

Running Windows 7 can be a pain. It is arguably one of the better operating systems Microsoft has released on the desktop, but it still requires constant attention from users regarding both security and general housekeeping. It's a robust operating system that doesn't offer the ease of use and simple upkeep that its competitors offer. That's not necessarily a problem on the desktop, where that kind of upkeep is expected, but it is a problem in the tablet space. 

10. Software considerations 

One of the key aspects of a tablet-based operating system is a healthy supply of simple third-party apps. Apple's App Store and Android Market are packed with mobile apps. But Microsoft's platform doesn't have a mobile app store, in that sense. Granted, Windows 7 boasts support for Windows programs, but is that what consumers are really looking for in a tablet? Some might say yes, but, when it's all said and done, one can easily argue that mobile apps will rule the day in the tablet space. 

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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