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To Ballmer, Grabbing iPad's Market Is 'Job One Urgency'

kdawson posted about 4 years ago | from the slate-envy dept.

Microsoft 764

Barence writes "Microsoft's Steve Ballmer has vented his frustration at the success of the iPad and said developing a Windows alternative is 'job one urgency.' 'Apple has done an interesting job of putting together a synthesis and putting a product out, and in which they've... they sold certainly more than I'd like them to sell, let me just be clear about that,' Ballmer told analysts. The Microsoft boss said the company plans to deliver a range of tablet formats in the next year, some based on Intel's next-gen Oak Trail processor. 'It is job one urgency around here. Nobody is sleeping at the switch. And so we are working with those partners, not just to deliver something, but to deliver products that people really want to go buy.'" In Microsoft's vision, slates will run a derivative of Windows 7.

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Anger. (4, Insightful)

slaxative (1867220) | about 4 years ago | (#33083300)

Shocking news. Microsoft exec upset by the success of a member of the competition.

Re:Anger. (4, Funny)

rubycodez (864176) | about 4 years ago | (#33083316)

Shocking news. Microsoft exec upset by the success of a member of the competition that Microsoft cannot buy out

Re:Anger. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33083360)

Ballmer is just upset he doesn't belong to the club [tinypic.com] .

Re:Anger. (5, Funny)

DurendalMac (736637) | about 4 years ago | (#33083334)

Chairs are flyin'.

Re:Anger. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33083638)

Is it possible to have an article mention Ballmer without some apple fanboi mentioning something about chairs?

Re:Anger. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33083778)

No Mr. Ballmer, it isn't possible.

Re:Anger. (5, Funny)

QuantumRiff (120817) | about 4 years ago | (#33083664)

Shocking news: Microsoft working on a project very similar to one developed by Apple.

I don't get it. (5, Interesting)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | about 4 years ago | (#33083310)

Microsoft, why don't you just write some QUALITY software for the iPad instead of trying to go head on in competition? That way, the more iPads Apple sells, the more software you sell. It's win-win.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | about 4 years ago | (#33083346)

Because that's going to make far less money in the long run.

And the reality is that if Apple wants to see Microsoft (one of their largest competitors) dead, they'd probably just not approve their apps anyways.

Re:I don't get it. (2, Insightful)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | about 4 years ago | (#33083464)

Because that's going to make far less money in the long run. And the reality is that if Apple wants to see Microsoft (one of their largest competitors) dead, they'd probably just not approve their apps anyways.

With garbage tablet PC's they're going to lose money, not make far less. And the reality is that Microsoft already has some free software out for the iPhone/iPod Touch (Windows Live Messenger, Bing, Tag Reader, Seadragon Mobile). Apple's not going to kill their apps. Having more apps available for the iPad increases it's perceived value to the consumer.

Re:I don't get it. (4, Insightful)

monoqlith (610041) | about 4 years ago | (#33083500)

'Because that's going to make far less money in the long run.'

Is it? Microsoft has already basically conceded that Apple has won this round. As Apple very well knows from the early desktop days, once a competitor has a solid lead in the market share it is very, very difficult to get the market back. It seems like whatever Microsoft's offering for this market is, it's probably never going to be as popular as the iPad.

Software is supposed to be Microsoft's main business, not hardware. Producing quality apps for the iPad as well as for various other portable devices that hopefully *other* people make, but which run Windows, would be their best bet, money wise. I haven't been able to see why, for some time now, Microsoft won't just focus on producing good products in one area (software) rather than producing shitty products in lots of areas.

Re:I don't get it. (5, Insightful)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 4 years ago | (#33083620)

As Apple very well knows from the early desktop days, once a competitor has a solid lead in the market share it is very, very difficult to get the market back.

Really? Ask Wordstar, Wordperfect, Lotus 1-2-3, dBaseIII, Netscape, and countless other companies what fat lot of good the early lead did for them?

Re:I don't get it. (2, Interesting)

Ben4jammin (1233084) | about 4 years ago | (#33083798)

Good point, but I would add that none of those companies had some of the advantages that Apple enjoys: Existing solid fan base BEFORE the Ipad came out and enough cash/market cap to make MS choke.

I guess what I am trying to say is that overtaking the Ipad will NOT be as easy as overtaking the technologies you listed.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

EvanED (569694) | about 4 years ago | (#33083666)

Software is supposed to be Microsoft's main business, not hardware. Producing quality apps for the iPad as well as for various other portable devices that hopefully *other* people make, but which run Windows, would be their best bet, money wise.

There's a big difference between PC and iPad though, which is that the App Store takes a very substantial cut of the revenue. If you're looking at the risk/reward ratios of the options, that could swing the pendulum, especially if you're concerned about the MS-Apple spread (where that 30% not only hurts you but helps your competitor).

Re:I don't get it. (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | about 4 years ago | (#33083684)

Microsoft is not going to make the hardware. They are going to make a tablet OS and tell hardware makers how to best provide a platform for it to run on.

Unless they can make it magical, they have no hope of success though.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

Hadlock (143607) | about 4 years ago | (#33083686)

If rumors are true, Ballmer's job is on the line and being proactive about an iPad competetor, nomatter how shitty, gives him six more months. In a year nobody will remember the failed attempt that was the MSpad, just like with all the other MS branded hardware that has quietly gone to pasture over the years.
 
I think the more shocking thing here is that MS is going to try and shoehorn Win7 into a netbook to compete with the iPad, rather than starting with the Zune or WinPhone7 OS and extending that. While I never really liked the Zune before, people seemed to like (or at least, not hate) the last Zune HD which was basically an ipod touch.... and since the ipad is just an overgrown ipod touch....

Re:I don't get it. (1)

Akido37 (1473009) | about 4 years ago | (#33083366)

Microsoft, why don't you just write some QUALITY software for the iPad instead of trying to go head on in competition? That way, the more iPads Apple sells, the more software you sell. It's win-win.

I wonder about this sometimes. I think Microsoft needs to remember it's a software company, not a hardware company. Sell Office, sell Windows, create application software for all platforms. Otherwise you have Zune.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

nomadic (141991) | about 4 years ago | (#33083644)

They did it right with the Xbox.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | about 4 years ago | (#33083742)

Eh... yes and no.

I mean, sure, Microsoft makes money off of nearly every desktop computer sale even though they don't make desktop hardware, but people aren't rushing to sell tablet PCs with Windows 7 on it currently. If some of the market goes to tablets over desktops and Microsoft's getting close to 0% of that market rather than almost 100% of the desktop market, that's a big loss for them.

Frankly, with just a little bit of timely effort they should be able to get a sizeable chunk of a growing tablet market. We're not talking phones here with tiny displays -- a huge swath of millions of applications written over the years for desktop Windows machines could easily run on a tablet PC running a Windows variant. Ditto a lot of old school XBox games, really, since hardware has kept getting better and cheaper since its introduction. (A lot of those games wouldn't translate great to tablet style UI, but I bet some would, too.) As long as they have an OS offering that also includes the basic sort of tablet specific functionality people expect from something like an iPad, I don't see why this couldn't be a big market for them.

And, hell, even if you hate Microsoft's guts, competing hard and early in this market (instead of sitting on their ass until Apple had an insurmountable lead like with the iPod/Zune) can only force Apple and other would-be tablet makers to respond with cheaper prices and/or stronger offerings.

Re:I don't get it. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33083388)

MS turned into a management (instead of developer) led company. They won't be creating anything other than me-too.

Re:I don't get it. (2, Funny)

Threni (635302) | about 4 years ago | (#33083458)

To be honest, they're better off buying HTC, or releasing their own version of an Android tablet. They're far less likely to fuck it up if they do that,

Re:I don't get it. (3, Insightful)

phoenixwade (997892) | about 4 years ago | (#33083584)

To be honest, they're better off buying HTC, or releasing their own version of an Android tablet. They're far less likely to fuck it up if they do that,

I disagree - in my opinion, they'd "Buy HTC" - move all the hardware to Windows mobile, and HTC will just be a memory.

Re:I don't get it. (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | about 4 years ago | (#33083652)

Why would that be? Remember, until Android existed, HTC pretty much solely existed as a manufacturer of Windows Mobile devices. They did quite well, and still are doing quite well in that market.

Re:I don't get it. (5, Insightful)

AtomicJake (795218) | about 4 years ago | (#33083508)

Microsoft, why don't you just write some QUALITY software for the iPad instead of trying to go head on in competition? That way, the more iPads Apple sells, the more software you sell. It's win-win.

But we, the consumers would lose. Without a healthy competition, there is no pressure to lower prices. And, there is no pressure to innovate on the existing iPad for Apple. So, yes, I would love to see many tablets - some with an Apple OS, some with Windows, and some with Android. What could be better than having the choice?

Re:I don't get it. (4, Insightful)

Scrameustache (459504) | about 4 years ago | (#33083522)

Microsoft, why don't you just write some QUALITY software

Because that goes against everything they stand for.

That way, the more iPads Apple sells, the more software you sell. It's win-win.

NO! There is no win-win: the other guy has to lose! They MUST lose! You're not a winner unless someone else is hurting.

Re:I don't get it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33083538)

Because Microsoft likes to play catch-up.

Apple beat them at the mp3 player then they made the Zune.

Google beat them at search, then they made Bing.

(everyone) beat them at social networking, then they made (and already killed off) Kin.

Apple beat them at tablets, now they have to do make some silly offering. It's "The Microsoft Way"

Re:I don't get it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33083604)

why don't they just license windows 7 for every iPad and get an exclusive agreement from Apple to be on every iPad Apple sells? That way, Apple doesn't have to pay very much, no more than $50 per iPad, and, as you said "That way, the more iPads Apple sells, the more software you sell. It's win-win."

...well, "win" anyway

Re:I don't get it. (1)

jcr (53032) | about 4 years ago | (#33083610)

>Microsoft, why don't you just write some QUALITY software for the iPad instead of trying to go head on in competition?

Your question presumes a capability on their part.

-jcr

Re:I don't get it. (1)

AltairDusk (1757788) | about 4 years ago | (#33083692)

I'd much rather see Microsoft come out with something I have much more control over than jump on Apple's ecosystem. I've been there and played in the walled garden, sure the garden is pretty but there's so much more outside those walls.

Re:I don't get it. (4, Interesting)

alexborges (313924) | about 4 years ago | (#33083730)

Brother, I must say that yes, you dont get it at all.

IT competition is all about control and platform. Microsoft is worried of anything that gets enough market to constitute a viable investment for development firms because if those firms make more money of the ipad/iphone then investing in microsoft develpment platform is less atractive and, given enough time, can even kill or seriously hinder the windows platform income which is way, way, way, way much more than anybody is ever going to get out of any ipad/iphone app.

And thats because, really, nobody can claim any kind of "moral" authority in that world (we foss guys are somehow different): if you ever make an app that makes that kind of money you can bet your ass Apple will kill it by copying it, extending it and including it in their base app set for the ipad.

It has been this way since there has been any kind of competition in personal computing.

D'oh. (5, Insightful)

gorzek (647352) | about 4 years ago | (#33083328)

Once again, Microsoft is late to the party and Ballmer's pissed. Hey, Steve, your company has never been a trendsetter! Deal with it.

I'm no Apple fan, but a company that can create markets out of thin air for products everyone else assumed would fail has to be doing something right.

Re:D'oh. (0, Flamebait)

Pojut (1027544) | about 4 years ago | (#33083422)

but a company that can convince people they need a product that does the same thing as other gadgets they already own has to be doing something right.

FTFY.

And yes, Slashdot, this is just my opinion. Sorry if it angers you.

Re:D'oh. (1)

aristotle-dude (626586) | about 4 years ago | (#33083668)

but a company that can convince people they need a product that does the same thing as other gadgets they already own has to be doing something right.

FTFY.

And yes, Slashdot, this is just my opinion. Sorry if it angers you.

This is true but I don't feel like carrying around my iMac in suitcase and the screen on the iPhones are too small to read on. I don't own a Kindle (never really serious considered one) and I'm giving away my MBP to my mother so my iPad will be my portable computing device when I go on longer trips. My iPhone is always with me but I like having a larger screen for reading or watching video when on a trip.

Re:D'oh. (1)

dancingmilk (1005461) | about 4 years ago | (#33083754)

+1. Completely agree. There isn't anything on the iPad I can't already do with another device. I never understood why people went apeshit for it other than the usual Apple Fanboys foaming at the mouth.

Re:D'oh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33083576)

That is a very good point. But Apple's Achilles heel in all of this are the restrictions they place on their devices: can only use itunes for updates, locked in to ATT, Apple decides which apps can be issued, etc.

If MS licenses or copies the tech aspects (as much as possible without being sued) and develops a more open platform they could actually develop a successful product. It won't be an iPad killer, but that should NOT be their goal anyways.

Remember: The early bird catches the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese!

Re:D'oh. (1)

gorzek (647352) | about 4 years ago | (#33083656)

I wouldn't call Apple's vendor lock-in an "Achilles heel" given that the vast majority of their customers don't give a shit about it.

Re:D'oh. (1)

Pojut (1027544) | about 4 years ago | (#33083744)

...last time I checked, not caring when a company does something like that and still buying their products en masse is more or less the definition of "sheeple", insofar as consumerism is concerned.

Re:D'oh. (2, Insightful)

openfrog (897716) | about 4 years ago | (#33083608)

It is job one urgency around here. Nobody is sleeping at the switch.

Nobody is sleeping at the switch... We just woke up in a panic... !

Think carefully on this (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | about 4 years ago | (#33083332)

The last thing Ballmer needs is a rushed, maligned and badly engineered Zunepad initial product release.

Re:Think carefully on this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33083470)

My thoughts exactly... oh well, let them fail! Same goes for Google with their coming Facebook rival. It will be a sad joke for them and a really good one for us!

Wrong (1)

overshoot (39700) | about 4 years ago | (#33083590)

The last thing Ballmer needs is for Apple to define another market that Microsoft doesn't control.

Re:Wrong (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | about 4 years ago | (#33083646)

Clearly a correct assessment, however Apple already HAS defined this one. Only a brand new innovation and not a year late catch-up will pull them ahead of the market defining product.

Re:Think carefully on this (1)

alexborges (313924) | about 4 years ago | (#33083740)

Love the sig!

It's a big responsibility (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33083338)

Apple's designs set the trend for knock-off electronics for years. How many phones since the iPhone have been made to "look like the iPhone?" How many MP3 players since the iPod? Now the tablet computer. Apple has a lot of weight on its shoulders because there's a giant knock-off industry just waiting to see what they'll do next.

Re:It's a big responsibility (1, Insightful)

EvanED (569694) | about 4 years ago | (#33083462)

Apple's designs set the trend for knock-off electronics for years. How many phones since the iPhone have been made to "look like the iPhone?" How many MP3 players since the iPod? Now the tablet computer. Apple has a lot of weight on its shoulders because there's a giant knock-off industry just waiting to see what they'll do next.

To be fair, to the extent that "there's a giant knock-off industry" waiting to see what Apple does, Apple itself is a giant knock-off company.

How many smart phones and PDAs were around before the iPhone? How many MP3 players were around before the iPod?

Apple's successes in those areas are because they knocked off the previous products really well. The iPad is really the first arena they're entering where there really wasn't much of an existing market.

How many mobile web browsers before iphone? (1)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | about 4 years ago | (#33083662)

Plenty.

How many were usable? Zero. None. Nada. Zilch.

Today only Android's come close, it's almost as good but last time I tried the iPhone still had an edge.

Now if you don't see how that made a difference, well, ...

Re:It's a big responsibility (1)

aristotle-dude (626586) | about 4 years ago | (#33083756)

Apple's designs set the trend for knock-off electronics for years. How many phones since the iPhone have been made to "look like the iPhone?" How many MP3 players since the iPod? Now the tablet computer. Apple has a lot of weight on its shoulders because there's a giant knock-off industry just waiting to see what they'll do next.

To be fair, to the extent that "there's a giant knock-off industry" waiting to see what Apple does, Apple itself is a giant knock-off company.

How many smart phones and PDAs were around before the iPhone? How many MP3 players were around before the iPod?

Apple's successes in those areas are because they knocked off the previous products really well. The iPad is really the first arena they're entering where there really wasn't much of an existing market.

*WHOOSH*

The GP was talking about the "aesthetics" of the hardware and the "look and feel" of the UI. There may have been other phones on the market before the iPhone and other MP3 players before the iPod but these devices and their associated syncing software set a new standard that others have been trying to imitate.

I'm sure someone would bring up the Prada phone that came out just before the iPhone but I believe that to be an example of industrial espionage. Apple had been working on their iPhone and platform for a number of years and it seems odd that Prada would have come out with a phone of that form factor out of the blue right before the iPhone launched.

Re:It's a big responsibility (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33083786)

Um yeah, Apple totally ripped off the Rio. That's why the iPod looks nothing like it, behaves nothing like it and became the standard MP3 player.

And for the iPhone, it's obviously a total knock off of the Blackberry Storm / HTC Evo / Samsung Instinct / Palm Pre / LG Ally / etc / etc / etc, except they came out *after* the iPhone.

There already is a tablet computer market. And the iPad is nothing like any of them (or the UMPCs). I didn't say Apple *invented* these technologies, I said they set the design trend. Want to see what Windows 8 is going to look like? Wait to see what Apple announces for Mac OS 10.7.

Quit playing catch up, innovate! (5, Insightful)

mini me (132455) | about 4 years ago | (#33083352)

The iPad is old news. Wired reported on the existence of the iPad [boingboing.net] way back in 1999. Why wasn't Microsoft working on their iPad-competior way back then? More importantly, why are they trying to play catch up now? Should they not be working on the next big thing?

Re:Quit playing catch up, innovate! (5, Insightful)

Scrameustache (459504) | about 4 years ago | (#33083554)

More importantly, why are they trying to play catch up now?

They see Apple making monies, they want THOSE monies.

Microsoft is a three year old child.

Re:Quit playing catch up, innovate! (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | about 4 years ago | (#33083680)

The biggest problem Microsoft has is that it is an enterprise software company. Apple is a consumer hardware company. While Apple has some software (OSX, iOS) they are both designed to run on the hardware they sell. Microsoft has a lock on the enterprise software market when it comes to out fitting offices with an OS and productive suite.

Good luck with that. (4, Informative)

MikeFM (12491) | about 4 years ago | (#33083364)

Did you see their crappy looking Windows tablet mock-up? That's pretty much everything right there. Microsoft has no idea how to make a stable, secure, easy-to-use, attractive product. If it runs standard Windows apps it's just a tiny hard to use PC. If it doesn't then you may as well go with the better made iPad with it's huge lead in apps or even an Android based device. Their only hope is to offer a cheap device for people to dumb to know the difference - it works on the PC.

It's going to be called the KANT (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33083524)

Kinda like
Apple's
New
Technology

I don't want... (3, Insightful)

matt4077 (581118) | about 4 years ago | (#33083370)

I don't want a "range", developed with "partners". MS has repeated that mistake so often now, expecting different results every time. isn't there a witty saying that defines insanity this way?

Re:I don't want... (1)

Captain Spam (66120) | about 4 years ago | (#33083566)

I don't want a "range", developed with "partners". MS has repeated that mistake so often now, expecting different results every time. isn't there a witty saying that defines insanity this way?

That seems to have worked for MS's entire corporate lifespan up to this point. And despite gains in the world of not-Windows, Windows is still the dominant OS for numerous consumer applications, and that was made under the "range of options developed with partners" theory. A relatively recent surge of interest in a paradigm different from what got them their umpteen hojillions of dollars in the first place is precisely the thing that good businesspeople would NOT panic and change their entire company's philosophy over.

Granted, yes, Microsoft is most likely best off changing this philosophy soon anyway, but from a business standpoint, that doesn't seem altogether too insane.

Courier...the iPad Killer... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33083380)

...oops. Cancelled.

Sigh (-1, Flamebait)

trifish (826353) | about 4 years ago | (#33083386)

When will people finally realize that Apple doesn't have huge sales thanks to any miraculous quality or innovation, but thanks to sheep-like following and buy-everything-they-make attitude of their fans?

Re:Sigh (1)

uncanny (954868) | about 4 years ago | (#33083488)

it's fine with me. Let them buy the stuff. The iphone made way for android phones, hopefully soon we will see lightweight, powerful, [soemwhat] open sourced tablets coming out.

Re:Sigh (0, Flamebait)

Pojut (1027544) | about 4 years ago | (#33083506)

^^^This, pretty much. I know a couple of people who buy and use Apple products as if they were any other brand ("I like the interface", "I've had good luck with their products", that sort of thing), but most of the time Apple users are straight up zealots...in their mind if it isn't an Apple product, it's crap.

To be fair, other hobbies have similar "exuberances"...gaming fanboys, car fanboys, etc. Apple fanboys are, to me, a lot like Fox News Republicans*: no matter what evidence or logic you present them with to counter their claims, you're always wrong.

*Note that a Fox News Republican is not the same thing as a Republican.

Re:Sigh (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | about 4 years ago | (#33083796)

Apple products sell because they are Magical. Quit trying to analyze the magic with your logic.

Re:Sigh (1)

keytohwy (975131) | about 4 years ago | (#33083514)

Are Apple breeding sheep? They've outpaced the PC industry in growth for the last 17 quarters. Hardly just selling to the faithful...

Re:Sigh (1, Funny)

Scrameustache (459504) | about 4 years ago | (#33083588)

When will people finally realize that Apple doesn't have huge sales thanks to any miraculous quality or innovation, but thanks to sheep-like following and buy-everything-they-make attitude of their fans?

You misspelled "Microsoft". How's you Zune, btw? Did you squirt anything good lately?

Ballmer is great for lulz (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33083390)

I'd like to squirt Ballmer a picture of millions of Apple customers not giving a damn about any potential Windows slate device.

And yet (5, Insightful)

Bertie (87778) | about 4 years ago | (#33083394)

They killed the genuinely interesting-looking Courier before it ever got anywhere near production.

Can't think why the vultures are circling over Ballmer, can you?

Re:And yet (5, Interesting)

AltairDusk (1757788) | about 4 years ago | (#33083712)

I wonder if killing Courier will go down in history as one of Microsoft's huge mistakes... I certainly wasn't happy to hear it was cancelled.

Re:And yet (1)

Pojut (1027544) | about 4 years ago | (#33083800)

I wonder if killing Courier will go down in history as one of Microsoft's huge mistakes... I certainly wasn't happy to hear it was cancelled.

Abso-freakin'-lutely. I've yet to hear anyone think that it was a good idea to cancel it, either online or in person.

Playing catchup (5, Insightful)

ckhorne (940312) | about 4 years ago | (#33083396)

This seems to be another "Johny come lately" attempt by Microsoft to catch up to Apple and Google. "Innovation" may be a big catchword these days by the large companies, but by making a competing project "job one urgency", it just underscore the fact that Microsoft is just trying to play a me-too game.

I don't mind if Microsoft does well or not, but why do they actively choose not to actually innovate? Do they not understand that the success of search engines, phones, tablets, and everything else that they've been late to the market on is because...well, because they're late to the market.

I simply don't understand why Microsoft doesn't get it. Innovating requires *new* ideas. Otherwise, they might as well be another Chinese second rate copy.

Re:Playing catchup (5, Insightful)

al0ha (1262684) | about 4 years ago | (#33083768)

Microsoft has been playing catch-up with Apple since the day the Apple II launched. The only reason Apple didn't continually trounce Microsoft was due the ouster of Steve Jobs in 1985. Apple's board thought they were the big brains, but as everyone found, it was Steve all along.

I hate unoriginal people like Ballmer (1)

line-bundle (235965) | about 4 years ago | (#33083400)

Ballmer needs to get new balls. MS has not recently issued an new product. It's always me too.

Ballmer doesn't know that MS has some really good hardware labs. He should use them to create something original, not another ipod copycat, iphone copycat, ipad copycat.

(perhaps not a hardware version of clippy though)

Re:I hate unoriginal people like Ballmer (4, Insightful)

Scrameustache (459504) | about 4 years ago | (#33083618)

MS has not recently issued an new product. It's always me too.

Replace "recently" with "ever" and your sentence is fixed.

From an iPad owner (5, Insightful)

Albanach (527650) | about 4 years ago | (#33083402)

I own an iPad. It's nice for what it is, a media consumption device.

What amazes me though is the time it's taking for viable alternatives. It wasn't in any way a surprise that Apple launched this. It wasn't a surprise that this would be a new market segment - netbooks had already shown demand for lower cost highly portable computing devices.

I purchased the iPad for a specific function and it does its job well. However, I can see plenty of areas it could be improved. We're still waiting on multi-tasking. It has no camera a gaping hole in what would otherwise be a great device for grandparents to use for web/email and skype). No flash does limit some sites, and Safari is just okay, certainly not a great browser - you have to pay to get a browser that supports tabs!

The email client seems cumbersome, and from a business user perspective, Microsoft could really make a killing from a similar form factor but with outlook. Outlook is, after all, still king in the corporate world.

The competition needs to get in gear before the iPad becomes as entrenched as the iPod.

Asleep at the Switch (4, Interesting)

Mr. Flibble (12943) | about 4 years ago | (#33083410)

Microsoft has been asleep at the switch for a long long time.

They chase every new product Apple comes out with, instead of actually innovating and putting a product out there that customers want. Sure, they do quite well in the operating system and Microsoft Office world, but outside that they do very little of any worth. The Xbox is only now profitable, and will probably never recoup the original costs.

Ballmer wants to chase the sexy gadgets that Apple is putting out, but Microsoft's operating system is not sexy.

Granted, there is a serious threat here, Microsoft has almost completely missed he mobile market both with phones and tablets. The irony being that Microsoft has already come out with a tablet operating system that has barely seen adoption, and the mobile OS market will only continue to grow.

So, will Microsoft come out with a tablet that "people will really want to go and buy"? Maybe - if they licence the iPad 2.0

Microsoft has become too bulky for meaningful development. Infighting between departments is crippling the ability for Microsoft to actually innovate. They will be relevant in the OS and Office Space for some time to come, but so far, Ballmer has not carved out that "third" tier of highly profitable business that he promised he would when he took the position.

Re:Asleep at the Switch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33083650)

Microsoft has been asleep at the switch for a long long time.

They chase every new product Apple comes out with, instead of actually innovating and putting a product out there that customers want.

They've been very successful chasing Apple, though. Remember that Windows was just a copy of the Apple Mac interface.

Biggest News (1)

BigBlueOx (1201587) | about 4 years ago | (#33083416)

The biggest news here is that the head of the Microsoft empire is, apparently, an incoherent raving loon. RTFA. Wow. Just wow.

Re:Biggest News (1)

dimethylxanthine (946092) | about 4 years ago | (#33083670)

incoherent raving loon

Crackhead in Latin.

MS is nothing but a me-too (1)

WilyCoder (736280) | about 4 years ago | (#33083432)

Stop copying and innovate.

Re:MS is nothing but a me-too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33083622)

Well, in a lot of instances, yes. But, to be fair, they were showing off their own tablets before the iPad was finally announced. Apple, being a hardware maker as well as software maker, had the ability to beat them to market because the PC market's hardware makers drag their feet while they look for ways to clog up the system with pre-installed crapware.

Just do the opposite. (4, Funny)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 4 years ago | (#33083438)

In Microsoft's vision, slates will run a derivative of Windows 7.

Apple just put out something that is so well integrated and Microsoft decides to start with a derivative? OMG! Calculus MS101 fighting Calculus MS102! Is it normal or am I talking at a tangent here?

I can figure it out from context clues... (1)

boneclinkz (1284458) | about 4 years ago | (#33083444)

"Job one urgency?" Are we playing madlibs?

Coming up with a serious iPad competitor should be job two ennui, at least.

Ballmer's phrasing is telling (5, Insightful)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | about 4 years ago | (#33083472)

>they sold certainly more than I'd like them to sell

Not "we'd like to sell more", not "we'd like to supply their software and participate in their success like we did with AppleSoft Basic and Mac Office".

This is competitiveness in its pathological form, where the point isn't to win but instead to make sure others lose.

Keep chasing the coat tails.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33083490)

Way to show your vision and leadership in technology Ballmer...by simply following the path paved before you. How utterly boring and blind. Show some originality and boldness by doing something different. Or better yet, how about focusing on your freaking software you bumbling, chair throwing baboon. I'm sure I speak for many of my fellow Redmondites when I say this...please retire.

Oh and...sent from my iPhone (go ahead and fire me)

Tough time for a fanboy (2, Insightful)

the_last_rites (837649) | about 4 years ago | (#33083492)

I have never seen a research division that is so awesome and also, at the same time, seemingly at odds with their market strategies which are unimaginative and trivial sounding. I sincerely hope the rumors about Ballmer being on the way out, have some truth to them. At the same time, I also hope that the rumors about Ozzie leaving have no truth to them whatsoever.

target the people who dislike the apple ecosystem (1)

slyrat (1143997) | about 4 years ago | (#33083498)

I think that if Microsoft got a good touch interface version of win 7 things could go very well. There are a lot of individuals that just hate the entire apple software ecosystem and prefer having more control of the computer. If it is good at what windows is already good at, has a decent touch interface, and isn't crazy expensive it should do really well.

HP Slate (1)

CSHARP123 (904951) | about 4 years ago | (#33083510)

HP Slate had generated a lots of buzz when he showed it in the beginning of this year. I dont think Windows 7 makes a great sense for the the kind of device iPad is. I think MS just thinks people wants to use the same application that they use on PC on Slate or tablet devices. It may not be the case.
I think Apple caught MS with its pants down like it is said on this ZDNet blog [zdnet.com] .
MS just handed over a big chuck of their market share to Apple. It started with iPhone, now iPad and next people will think about buying Mac instead of PC. Seriously, MS needs to wake up and do a major make over if it needs to start selling to masses instead of just enterprises.

Re:HP Slate (1)

AaronLS (1804210) | about 4 years ago | (#33083676)

LOL, good observation. It is possible this was a planned strategy of Apple's to get people used to Apple products and eventually lure users into buying Mac's as well.

Remember UMPC? (1)

dreadlord76 (562584) | about 4 years ago | (#33083512)

Microsoft wanted to own this space, made investments. But the price of UMPC was just too high. Seriously, if Microsoft was insistent on a $500 price for a workable tablet 4 years ago, it may have totally shut the door on iPad. Many people waited for the UMPC, but when they came out, and the price was closer to $1000 for a usable configuration, the end was clear. If Microsoft would have borrowed from their XBox playbook, and subsidized every UMPC to grow the market, it may have been a different story.

Steve Ballmer - Life and Death (5, Interesting)

Kagato (116051) | about 4 years ago | (#33083536)

This is pretty much it for Steve Ballmer. They are playing a catch-up game with Apple (and others). They have had so many things just fizzle while he's been at the helm. Vista, Zune, Mobile, "Slates". It's obvious he's a business guy and not the forward thinking visionary the company needs. There's been a lot of Wallstreet chatter that Steve Ballmer's time to turn things around is very short.

SSDD (1)

overshoot (39700) | about 4 years ago | (#33083546)

Translation: "Stop buying iPads until we come out with something, or at least until we can get enough press saying that they're not cool any more."

I Thought Microsoft Tried This Already ... (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 4 years ago | (#33083548)

I seem to recall a device that Microsoft had announced that acted as a sort of courier between the user and the internet by couriering data back and forth. You could even send courrier electronique ... sorry, what's the English for that? Ah, yes, e-mail. Say you worked for a package company and you had to act as a courier for packages, well then this device might have helped you. But I'll guess we'll never be able to gauge the couriering possibilities of said device.

I just wish I could remember what that hyped device that never saw the light of day was called. I think it was called "The Tablet That Couldn't Slow Down."

Ah, now those were the days when Microsoft's future was a bright and promising vista.

Riddle me this (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | about 4 years ago | (#33083556)

So, why hasn't the board ousted Ballmer yet?

MS playing catchup (1)

dimethylxanthine (946092) | about 4 years ago | (#33083558)

as (almost) always.

A range of products (1)

fermion (181285) | about 4 years ago | (#33083570)

So like Windows 7 they will put out several SKUs, the affordable one so gutted to not be useful, the useful one so expensive that no one can afford it. The hardware vendors will have to use components that fall off the back of trucks to make the product affordable. Because several OEM makes the products, there is an illusion of no vendor lock in.

Or they make the product themselves, like xBox, which might work, but then we are dealing with an operating system that may be tuned for MS corporate needs rather than user needs.

MS is not able to compete at equal price point. A MS tablet will have to run under $300, which will mean much less hardware, or MS not charging $50-$100 for the OS.

Innovation (5, Interesting)

whisper_jeff (680366) | about 4 years ago | (#33083594)

I know it's become a cliche joke over the years but I find it amusing when a company will casually and regularly throw around the term "innovation" when they rarely are anything approaching innovative. Microsoft has become the poster-child of this movement. When was the last time that Microsoft lead the way into a new market segment? When was the last time that Microsoft truly innovated rather than following someone else's lead? I realize they've watched Apple leap into the tablet market with huge success only to recognize "I want me some of that!" but, seriously, could they have not done it themselves, years ago? They have the money to invest in R they have the brainpower to put together good stuff. But, their corporate culture (which has been discussed, ad naseum, here) absolutely stifles innovation. They have become a corporation that follows rather than leads. They have two markets (desktop OS and office suite software) where they established a lead and are going to be very slow to relinquish their leadership position but, in virtually every other market, they seem intent on watching what others do and follow the successful ones, after the fact.

It really is a shame because I'm sure, if their braintrust was let loose to create without the petty corporate politics getting in the way, they could probably make some really cool shit but, until their corporate culture is slaughtered and replaced with a new one (in other words, Ballmer is replaced...), they seem intent on remaining a me-too company.

Way way too late Ballmer (2, Interesting)

McNihil (612243) | about 4 years ago | (#33083612)

Way way too late Ballmer... Hint: for Microsoft to succeed in the new iPad space the wow factor needs to be so much higher to make an impact on the already infatuated crowd. Any investor and board member should just kick him out. Ballmer is not on top of things and will NEVER... I repeat NEVER be on top of things. Even Gates wasn't fully on top of things BUT he was at least in the same ballpark.

Don't copy, innovate! (1)

AaronLS (1804210) | about 4 years ago | (#33083616)

This is the problem with MS. They see another company become successful and decide to copy them, and they do it in a rush so it is never as good as the competing product. That's like a standup comic following another comic's routine by doing the same routine. They need to instead do something innovative that meets a yet to be met need.

to mr. ballmer (1)

Programmer_In_Traini (566499) | about 4 years ago | (#33083642)

if you'd stop trying to re-invent the wheel you'd see there's plenty of upcoming windows 7 tablets on their way

such as this splendid exo pc tablet
http://www.exopc.com/en/index.php [exopc.com]

Problem: iPad market is "Apple gadget fanbois" (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | about 4 years ago | (#33083660)

I don’t see much of a “Microsoft gadget fanboi” market. People buy Microsoft because of a combination of (a) they don’t know better (b) it’s cheaper than Apple (c) it’s easier than the cheaper but less-supported alternatives. They won’t drop $hundreds on a shiny gadget that duplicates the functionality of their existing computers.

As usual (0, Redundant)

Beer_Smurf (700116) | about 4 years ago | (#33083700)

"Don't worry, we will copy Apple like we always have."
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