Bill Gates is at it again. The Microsoft co-founder and former chief executive recently spoke in an interview, saying he believes that Apple's iPad owners would truly be happiest with Microsoft's Surface tablet.
Sure, the sales and responses from consumers don't necessarily match that, but if they took an objective view of the marketplace, Gates argued, they'd find that the Surface tablet would scratch their itch, and not leave them "frustrated" like the iPad.
Gates obviously has a vested interest in seeing Microsoft succeed. He is also arguably the most important public figure still connected to the software giant, and his words have a significant impact in the media. But there is no question that Gates' claims regarding the iPad and Surface tablets were over the top and were sure to be discounted as self-serving in the market. When it comes to comparing the iPad and the Surface tablet, he's just plain wrong.
Here is why Bill Gates' comments about the Surface tablet and iPad couldn't be any more wrong.
1. The Surface RT is already obsolete
Interestingly, Gates didn't compare just the Surface Pro and the iPad. Instead, he included the Surface RT, as well. What a mistake. The Surface RT is an obsolete device that has been ignored by today's consumers and enterprise users. The device hardly works with any applications that corporate users want, and the software installed on the device is limited. It's a joke of a tablet. And Gates shouldn't compare it to the iPad.
2. What doesn't the iPad do?
Gates made the fascinating remark that the Surface tablet can do what the iPad cannot. However, it's not quite clear what he was talking about. The iPad is essentially a lightweight computer with all of the functionality of such a device. There are some limitations related to file management, but that's not nearly enough to drive customers from an iPad to a Surface.
3. Customers can make decisions with their wallets
Gates doesn't seem to understand that customers tend to make decisions with their wallets. And if they truly believed that the Surface was a better product, they would have gone out of their way to dump the iPad for Microsoft's offering. Instead, the Surface owns an extremely small portion of the tablet market. Meanwhile, the iPad is dominant.
4. The Surface keyboard isn't a differentiator
One of the ways the Surface differentiates itself from the iPad, Gates argues, is with the tablet's cover, which doubles as a keyboard. That, he says, makes it a more useful product than the iPad. Perhaps he forgot that Apple sells a physical keyboard equipped with a stand for a tablet and that one works best.