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back to article Bill & Jobs' excellent adventure: Steve's tech looked better than mine

“We did tablets – lots of tablets – well before Apple did, but they put these pieces together in a way that succeeded.” Bill Gates had a few kind words for old rival Steve Jobs at the weekend, conceding Apple’s late co-founder had a gift for design and admitting that Microsoft had missed its opportunities on tablets. In an …

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Anonymous Coward

Can't create documents on iPAD ..

A lot of those users are frustrated because they can't type, they can't create documents"

Comparison chart of iPad .. text editing applications

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Facepalm

Re: Can't create documents on iPad ..

"This [chart] works best on a wide screen, but if you have to scroll horizontally, the left column with the app names will stay hovered on screen. Hover over an app’s title in the table to see additional features which might not be part of the main chart, and click to scroll to its full data block. Holding down command while hovering over the body of the chart will highlight the current row. Clicking a row will outline it. Clicking a feature header at the top will dim apps which don’t have that feature."

Smacked my gob, that did! But I then realised "Oh! Well, of course! The author 'get's it'".

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Re: Can't create documents on iPAD ..

Why is there no mention of QuickOffice in that chart?

(Yes, I know I could add it myself.)

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jai
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Re: Can't create documents on iPAD ..

well most of those apps are just text entry / notepad type apps. there aren't really any word processing types that would compete against the likes of MS Word or QuickOffice or Pages.

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Facepalm

Re: Can't create documents on iPAD ..

he then goes on to say: "..they don't have Office there,"

And whose fault is that exactly? The iPad will only have Office for the iPad if Microsoft creates Office for iPad. No-one else can.

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Citrix

I use Windows/Office very happily on many a fondleslab with Citrix.

Citrix for the home user would be a nice addition.

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iPad's Best Feature

The fact one CANNOT run MS Office on the iPad is one of its best features.

Also the lack of FLASH forces websites to realize just how worthless FLASH really is.

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Agree on the flash bit

Unless its video (and these days, arguably not even then), if your site is only visitable in flash.... Its not worth visiting.

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WTF?

Inherent Flaw

"A lot of those users are frustrated because they can't type". That's nothing to do with the lack of Office, it's because the machines don't have keyboards.

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Re: Inherent Flaw

But if you insist on having one then Bluetooth keyboards will pair and work quite happily with them. It's not an insurmountable hurdle.

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Microsoft spent years trying to shoehorn a desktop OS onto a tablet form-factor

Apple recognised the mistake Microsoft made, and instead used their mobile iOS platform for their tablet OS. Apple have wisely left their desktop OS largely unscathed from the touchscreen nonsense.

I still don't think Microsoft have realised where they went wrong, as they should have left their desktop OS as it was, rather than alienate most non-touchscreen users with Windows 8, and should have upgraded/improved Windows Phone so that it could operate as a tablet OS. But they knew/know best, and have had their arses handed to them on a plate.

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Re: Microsoft spent years trying to shoehorn a desktop OS onto a tablet form-factor

*cough*Launchpad*cough*

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Re: Microsoft spent years trying to shoehorn a desktop OS onto a tablet form-factor

No, no, no. They did learn from their mistake. They failed at trying to shoehorn a desktop OS onto a tablet, so the Right Thing to do must be to shoehorn a tablet OS onto a desktop PC. Right?

They learned from Apple: Microsoft thunk different.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Microsoft spent years trying to shoehorn a desktop OS onto a tablet form-factor

Not quite so. It was not so much shoehorning a desktop OS - it was shoehorning a product set and most importantly non-cannibalization. Microsoft is one of the worst companies out there in terms of "Though Shall Not Cannibalize" internal dictate - almost on par with some telcos and utilities.

Microsoft tablets were (and as we can see are till this day) to run MSOffice and ensure that not a single penny of revenue currently in the pipeline on the desktop is lost to a different product. These requirements dictated specific UI, input method, etc constraints (not essential for the underlying OS by the way).

Apple did not have that design constraint so it produced a tablet that was not designed to be crippled by day-to-day powerpointmongering and excelturbation. Rather unsurprisingly that proved to be a hit with the consumer audience.

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Happy

Re: Microsoft spent years trying to shoehorn a desktop OS onto a tablet form-factor

Hey, I actually like launchpad. Even without a touchpad and a simple non-Apple mouse.

But then, I never really clicked with the Windows Start-Menu anyway.

I started to use spotlight a lot to start applications, recently.

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Re: Microsoft spent years trying to shoehorn a desktop OS onto a tablet form-factor

"Microsoft thunk different."

Microsoft and thunk go together like chocolate and peanut butter...

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Anonymous Coward

Windows Design After Gates

Windows (and Microsoft in general) design has improved a lot since Gates left. Windows 7/8 are by far the best looking OSes on the market right now, and Windows Phone 8 looks great.

And Windows 95/98 looked fine or the time they were made (look at Linux and Mac OS at the time) - I think Gates is largely just being humble.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Windows Design After Gates

He hasn't left - He's the Chairman of the Board.

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Re: Windows Design After Gates

Our group at MS Research had a former Apple designer, and I remember she thought Win95 was rather nice. But generally even inside Microsoft we all thought Apple did better design (but not such great software engineering). Buying an Apple product was like buying a Volvo, buying a Windows product was like buying a Ford pickup truck. Each has its advantages, if you want to look affluent and cool, or you want to get work done.

As for tablets, I worked for a while in the eBooks project (I'm one of the inventors of ClearType, check the patents if you don't believe me). I don't know if the tablets would have failed due to their design, the group did spent a fortune doing readability and font research. But the telling fact is that higher executives chickened out and cancelled the project before it ever had a chance.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Windows Design After Gates

"But generally even inside Microsoft we all thought Apple did better design (but not such great software engineering)."

Of course people at Microsoft would want to take some pride in their "home team" but Apple does excellent software engineering. There's a reason why Apple is able to do certain software things with minimal fuss while the same things take Microsoft years, even decades, and Microsoft still can't necessarily get them right. Things like a "high-DPI" mode, or being able to run their desktop kernel and APIs on circa-2007 smartphone hardware, or being able to transparently build and run the same native code software on two different processor architectures, or being able to sandbox applications, or being able to use circa-2002 graphics chips to do desktop compositing, etc.

"Each has its advantages, if you want to look affluent and cool, or you want to get work done."

Indeed, if you want to look like an affluent and cool developer who works at e.g. Google, you will use a Mac...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Windows Design After Gates

"Apple does excellent software engineering."

Yup - just look at the Windows version of iTunes.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Windows Design After Gates

"Yup - just look at the Windows version of iTunes."

The company has tens of thousands of employees. Not everything they make is going to be gold. A lot of it is, though.

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Anonymous Coward

Anonymous recommends Windows ..

Windows 7/8 are by far the best looking OSes on the market right now, and Windows Phone 8 looks great."

It's understandable why you would want to remain anonymous ..

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Megaphone

Re: Windows Design After Gates

Yup - just look at the Windows version of iTunes.

Apple wants to make iTunes work best on Mac, Microsoft wants to make Office work best on Windows, Google wants to make Google Maps work best on Android. Color me shocked!

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Anonymous Coward

Eadon not woken up yet?

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erm 2001, really?

What about Windows for Pen Computers?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_for_Pen_Computing

I remember Windows 3.11 (perhaps even 95) on tablet devices from Compaq and Fujitsu.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Happy

Kinda, sorta ...

I *still* use HP iPAQs, which run Windows Mobile. Keep four of them around so if one dies, I'm not stuck trying to find an increasingly-rare replacement. I'd be the first to admit they're not tablets -- but they're small, and they can handle most of my files. (I also have an Android tablet, a tower, and two laptops. One of the laptops has two hard drives set up to swap, so the machine can do either Windows XP or Windows 7 with purity.

I have an MP3 player, a dumbphone, and a plain ol' digital camera. The biggest problem with the mobile do-it-all devices is that if they break or are lost, you lose *everything*. So call me a troglodyte, but I'm perfectly happy with what Microsoft did before Apple created the iWhatevers.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Kinda, sorta ...

"I have an MP3 player, a dumbphone, and a plain ol' digital camera. The biggest problem with the mobile do-it-all devices is that if they break or are lost, you lose *everything*."

Quite the opposite, at least if you have an iPhone. Every single time you plug your iPhone into your computer, its entire contents are backed up.

If my iPhone is broken, lost, or stolen, I can buy a new (or used) one, click a few buttons in iTunes, wait about half an hour, and the new phone will be a perfect copy of the old phone. Worst case scenario is a day or two of data loss.

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Users are frustrated with the iPad

Because they can't run office on it?

I get frustrated with the iPad due to being locked into the apple eco-system!

I get frustrated with the iPad as it isn't compatible with the rest of my kit!

I however do like the pages/number software which seems 100% appropriate for the level of work I would like to to do on a tablet, I just wish my android tablet could run them.

If people want to run a developers software on their chosen equipment, and the developer doesn't make a compatible version. it is not a shortfall in the equipment, it is a shortfall with the developer.

MS need to realise they are not the beginning, middle and end of corporate/home computer equipment anymore.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Users are frustrated with the iPad

"If people want to run a developers software on their chosen equipment, and the developer doesn't make a compatible version. it is not a shortfall in the equipment, it is a shortfall with the developer."

It takes time and effort to port (and support) an app. If a developer decides not to port his app to a certain platform, it's a business decision, not a "shortfall."

I make an app. I estimate it would take at least 3 months to port it to Windows Phone. I don't see any indication that Windows Phone has the market share or that its users are spending enough money on apps to make that remotely worth my while. Would you call this decision a "shortfall"? And of course if I wanted my app to run on Microsoft phones AND tablets, I would also have to port the app to Windows 8, which would take another couple of months. So far the only numbers I've seen indicate that the top grossing Windows 8 apps are making around $25/day which is a joke. At this point I don't see why anybody would want to spend the time and effort to write software for the Windows "ecosystem."

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FAIL

One thing "Boy Wonder" did NOT learn for Gates...

...was the art of charitable giving.

http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2011-10-06/business/35277092_1_philanthropy-steve-jobs-jobs-and-apple

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Windows

re: the art of charitable giving...

Hiding your big-bucks from the tax-man in a private foundation is not really being charitable...

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Re: re: the art of charitable giving...

Sorry to tell you this DUMB-ASS...but since the "Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation" was formed in 2000, it has given away at least 28 BILLION DOLLARS...and counting.

http://www.omg-facts.com/Business/Bill-Gates-Has-Donated-More-To-Charity-T/53399

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WTF?

Re: One thing "Boy Wonder" did NOT learn for Gates...

Hmm. Last I checked, it was Melinda that setup the charity - not His Billness.

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FAIL

Re: One thing "Boy Wonder" did NOT learn for Gates...

@alisonken1...Better check again Ace...because you are wrong. 3rd paragraph, if you please.

http://www.gatesfoundation.org/who-we-are/general-information/leadership/management-committee/bill-gates

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No excuse

It's not like there is a shortage of good designers in this world, is there?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No excuse

Well, there's certainly no shortage of people who think they're good designers!

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Not just the hardware

Then there was OpenStep which he bought in from NeXT and that laid the foundations for a solid unix OS together with a great looking WYSIWYG human interface. Apple had its fans pre-OSX, but that change to the OS moved them into a truly different league.

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Bill Gates, meet your old VP Dick Brass

While the Tablet PC design was fine for the time it was released in 2001, (I remember getting a 1st-hand demo on a flight with an executive flying in the next seat), Bill (with probably Steve Ballmer's bumbling) blew the first-mover opportunity when they let internal politics in Redmond block development of an MS Office for Tablet PC.

http://www.gottabemobile.com/2010/02/04/former-microsoft-vp-explains-why-office-sucks-on-tablet-pc/

The Fat Lady sung after that (until iPad in 2010)...

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must have missed this

"Jobs died in October 2011 from pancreatic cancer."

On an IT site I think we can reasonably assume people are aware of the passing of His Holiness.

It's right up there with the BBC's insistence on still saying "The Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher" even when she'd been in office for over 10 years.

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HCV
Meh

Gates: "The fact that he, with as little engineering background as he had, it shows that design can lead you in a good direction."

Remind me again of Gates' extensive engineering background?

I think "hanging out with Woz" might compare favorably to many undergraduate educations.

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