back to article Ever wondered what Microsoft really thought about the iPad? Ex-Windows boss spills beans

Former Windows chief Steven Sinofsky has spoken his mind about the launch of Apple's iPad (now celebrating 10 years) and its impact on Microsoft. Sinofsky said that Microsoft was "blinded" as to where Apple was heading, and was expecting a "pen computer based on Mac". "The iPad and iPhone were soundly existential threats to …

  1. laughthisoff

    Pen-based what?!

    "Sinofsky said that Microsoft was "blinded" as to where Apple was heading, and was expecting a "pen computer based on Mac"."

    What? From what I recall every idiot on the planet knew it was going to be an iPhone (iOS) with a big screen. What were Microsoft smoking to think otherwise? No wonder they lost that particular race, they were at the wrong sports event.

    1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory
      Joke

      Re: Pen-based what?!

      They didn't even bring a knife to a gun fight, they brought a banana and a small box of aubergines.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Pen-based what?!

        >They didn't even bring a knife to a gun fight, they brought a banana and a small box of aubergines.

        Based on previous exploits, MS came the the fight with a powerpoint presentation big on how good the gun they were developing would be, in the expectation that everyone would wait for them to deliver... a popgun...

    2. Fungus Bob Silver badge

      Re: Pen-based what?!

      What was Microsoft smoking? CPU's, of course...

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: Pen-based what?!

        What was Microsoft smoking?

        The heady paranoid whiffs of their own fear of their platform going down in flames...

        ...in deep lungfuls

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pen-based what?!

      I was led to believe that the iPad started off as development prototypes for iPhone, pre shrinking?

      That the developers quite liked using them, and someone saw a niche for it?

      Bit like the iMac losing the floppy drive, I didn't see the need for a keyboardless device. How would anyone get proper work done?

      I didn't realise that for some computer users, using them for social media and casual gaming, they were ideal.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft's problem in consumer space was that it couldn't make up it's mind whether it wanted to be Apple or Google so tried to take the worst of both viewed through Microsoft tinted glasses and just ended up fucking up royally and burning a lot of cash in the process.

    The just never got passed Win 95 and how that worked for them.

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Win95 didn't really work for them. It wasn't until Win98 OSR2 that it worked somewhat properly.

      Of course at the time Mac fans were calling it Windows 85 because the GUI had a passing resemblance to something they'd seen previously.

      .

      Damn I feel old.

      1. arctic_haze Silver badge

        Win95 didn't really work for them. It wasn't until Win98 OSR2 that it worked somewhat properly.

        What you mean is stability. But not financial success. People were buying Windows 95 like crazy. Yes, ordinary people who actually queued for it.

      2. matt 83

        It worked just fine for them, not so well for anyone else.

  3. eswan

    > "Microsoft was a tablet pioneer. The company released Windows XP Tablet Edition in 2003 – seven years before the iPad"

    I've still got a Toshiba T200 running Windows for Pen Computing 3.1, from about 10 years before that. Battery even still holds a charge. Back in the day, I had it up and running with a Raytheon Aviator wireless card and Mosaic 2.0.0b4.

    1. laughthisoff

      In a similar vein, I've still got a pair of Apple Newtons from the first half of the 90s as well, although maybe the less said about the Newton the better.

      Which reminds me of my all-time favourite joke: "How many Newton engineers does it take to change a lightbulb? Foo! Therefore to and eat fish."

      (The youngsters here won't get it).

      :-)

      1. ArrZarr Silver badge

        At the risk of explaining the joke, is it voice control?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          No, lousy handwriting recognition.

          There was even a joke on the Simpsons about it! IIRC One of the school bullies writes "Beat up Martin" and it became "Eat Martha"

          1. TRT Silver badge

            And also possibly the Terry Pratchett classic about the demon living in a personal organiser being able to recognise handwriting. It goes something like... "Yep. That's handwriting alright. Recognise it anywhere."

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              A friend of mine won a Newton at its launch in London many years ago.

              In the office the following day everyone is having a play and writing their name and seeing what comes up.

              One member of our team was called Nick O’Brien. The Newton called him Slicko Berlin.

              So that became his new name.

      2. Inspector71

        Yes, Doonesbury pretty much marked the Newton handwriting recognition for all time. :-)

        To give it it's due by the time Steve Jobs killed the Newton when he returned to Apple they had improved on the infamous recognition a lot and it functioned really well. The last model, the MessagePad 2000/2100 was a really good product only (plus ca change) way too expensive and niche for the time. Powered by ARM cpus as well so a harbinger of the future in one way.

      3. JohnFen Silver badge

        I've still got a whole box of Newtons (I ran a company developing Newton software in the day). Despite its many flaws, it remains one of my favorite platforms to develop for.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I had a Fujitsu ST5010 Tablet PC, basically it was just a screen and a pen. I needed a laptop at work, this was just on the shelf gathering dust so I grabbed it. It was bought for some special project, but the user turned their nose up at it and demanded a proper laptop.

      It came with a case and a shoulder strap so I carry other stuff, VGA, network, modem and USB sockets so I could use it to test various things. If I was walking down the corridor, I could access it straight away with having to get out of the case or open it up like a laptop.

      Handwriting recognition could be a bit iffy, once I wrote "lights on the front" (of the printer), and noticed that it came back as "lights on the trout". Could never reproduce that.

      Had for about a couple of years, no comment, but when Apple released the iPad all of a sudden it was "You got an iPad?!" In the end I put a sticker on the case saying "Not an iPad". If it could be upgraded to Win 7, I'll still be using it.

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      >> "Microsoft was a tablet pioneer. The company released Windows XP Tablet Edition in 2003 – seven years before the iPad"

      They also could be considered a handheld/pocket/smartphone pioneer with the various WinCE devices that were released in the years prior to the iPhone.

      So it would be nature to assume that they knew quite a lot about the pocket/phone environment and the stupidity of trying to cram and access a full Windows desktop into a tablet or pocket format device.

      Yet TPTB in MS deemed it was for the best to axe WinCE/mobile development and have one universal OS across all platforms and form factors developed by the desktop bloatware experts, shows just how far removed from reality TPTB in MS were at this time.

      But then MS have form for missing tech trends - they were late to the Internet for example.

  4. AMBxx Silver badge

    10 years!

    I can't believe it's only been 10 years.

    That said, I used to see a lot of iPad's in corporate environment. Mostly for email and note taking. Now it's all Surface Pro and skinny laptops (mostly Apple oddly).

    It's as though iPad has just become a consumer product rather than business. Not sure how deep that goes though. My Father-in-law's iPad 2 no longer supports a decent email client. Given the choice of buying another iPad or just having a Kindle Fire, he went straight for the Fire. Does what he needs for £100.

    I'd be interesting to hear about where other people are seeing them though.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 10 years!

      I see some corporations being 100% surface and TBH, they're good tools. Not very cheap but not so costly either.

      Ipads, I only see them in personal use, mostly because Apple gear is dead expensive, today.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: 10 years!

        What are you talking about? Surface is quite a bit more expensive than iPad.

        The reason you see Surface in business is because it can run full Windows. I've seen plenty of Surface use in the business world and they are almost never used as tablets. If its tablet capability was removed I don't think it would lose even 10% of its sales.

    2. Headley_Grange Silver badge

      Re: 10 years!

      @AMBxx - I've got a mini and a pro (both a few years old) and neither gets much use. I bought the Pro cos I thought I'd be able to use it and the Pencil for taking notes - I don't get on with screen keyboards - but the paucity of apps or Apple support for handwriting recognition means it isn't practically possible.

      The other problem (for me - not necessarily for everyone) is that the OS's between iPad, iPhone and Mac get out of track, so that some apps, especially on the iPads, no longer play nicely with their Mac versions and I can't/won't update the Mac to keep them working. Net result is I tend to do everything (work and leisure) on a MBA and my phone is only really used for calls, mail, text, music and solving the occasional pub argument.

      I can't remember the last time I turned either of the iPads on and I'd have to turn the house upside down to find the Apple pencil. I sometimes take one on holiday instead of the MBA when all I'll need is mail and some browsing for booking hotels, flights, etc. I don't see iPads as business machines in any respect, mainly because of the clunky interface (cutting, pasting, using more than one app at a time), memory (getting stuff on and off them) and keyboard and battery life - but again, that might be more about how I work than a fundamental iPad problem. I don't know anyone else who's got one and I don't see my clients using them at all - as you say it's Macbooks or (less usual) Surfaces.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: 10 years!

        >The other problem ... is that the OS's between iPad, iPhone and Mac get out of track...

        Yes, that's an OEM QA issue, remember for many years MS couldn't keep Office on PC and Mac in sync. and so play nicely with each other...

        >I can't remember the last time I turned either of the iPads on

        Funny that, in my house the iPads are always being used, albeit mostly for content consumption and social media, with the PC's getting used for serious work ie. content creation (primarily for the user interaction reasons you list, but also because office and other content creation applications on PC are so much better).

    3. Flywheel Silver badge

      Re: 10 years!

      Mine's in constant use, both as a consumer and as a dev/support guy. I've worked very hard to find apps that really work (mainly network utilities, SSH, SFTP etc) and Pythonista is a great help. Battery life is great and these things seem to last forever. I gave my old iPad to the missus for music/reading etc as there weren't any more OS updates.

    4. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: 10 years!

      You sure the Skinny laptops are Apple, bloody HP's copied the design in their Elitebook ranges and everyone wants one claiming their current machine gives them back or shoulder ache.

    5. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: 10 years!

      > That said, I used to see a lot of iPad's in corporate environment. Mostly for email and note taking. Now it's all Surface Pro and skinny laptops (mostly Apple oddly).

      I always marvel when I see statements like this. I don't doubt them at all, but they are at extreme odds with my personal experience in corporate environments. My experience is that iPads, iPhones, Surfaces, and Apple laptops are rare and mostly limited to use by executives.

      I suspect that how prevalent they are is more dependent on local culture than on actual utility.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Robert E A Harvey

        Re: 10 years!

        THIS.

        The $MEGACORP I work for lets div. mgr. and above choose hardware - everyone else has a $400 price limit. Lots of fujitsu flaptops. try doing CAD on an i3 with 4GB of ram and 128M of storage.

      3. DiViDeD Silver badge

        Re: 10 years!

        Surfaces ... are rare and mostly limited to use by executives

        Think again young padawan. Here in Arsetrailer, the NSW government has decreed that we have Surface only. Surface Pro (think underpowered tablet with a rubber & cardboard clip on keyboard) for general users, and bloody Surface sodding Books for anyone who needs serious grunt (ie might occasionally need to browse FaceBook while simultaneously reading their email - not a task you could entrust to a Surface Pro).

        Until you've tried to develop and debug a complex Delphi application on one of these useless little shitboxes, you can never know the meaning of true misery.

        No wonder they're reserved for executives in sensible places!

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: 10 years!

          > Think again young padawan

          No need. I was talking about my personal observations, which are necessarily limited to the companies that I have worked for. I was not making a general, global claim.

      4. AMBxx Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: 10 years!

        @JohnFen

        Perhaps that just reflects the different circles we move in :D

    6. rcxb Bronze badge

      Re: 10 years!

      Tablets are a HORRIBLE form factor for most everything, only games and a bit of book-reading benefit from the form factor. Their popularity was just trendy and people too foolish to realize otherwise.

      For serious work, you need a keyboard, and a stand. Plus, the limitations of the low-end and low-power CPU, and very limited software selection really hobble its utility even in the best case.

      Smartphones work nicely. One-handed operation. Ability to quickly look-up some info. But nobody would claim they can do their work productively on those. So if your smartphone isn't able to do it, you upgrade to a full computer (or laptop).

      The in-between size of a tablet, with most of the same limitations as a smartphone, just makes no sense for almost anybody.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 10 years!

        "Tablets are a HORRIBLE form factor for most everything, only games and a bit of book-reading benefit from the form factor. Their popularity was just trendy and people too foolish to realize otherwise."

        While I myself can't work on a tablet form factor, I'll have to disagree with your statement.

        I've seen plenty of (young) organisations use tablets for all their work ...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 10 years!

        I use a phone tablet, laptop and full desktop experience every day.

        Whee I work and my home office both use laptops with docking stations and dual screen set ups.

        A home I have a wireless mouse and keyboard plugged into the docking station for that lovely clean desk experience.

        I use a tablet for casual browsing, ebaying / internet shopping so I can actually see what I'm buying if I need to do anything more than type a few lines I'll fire up a laptop. Now I've upgraded to a full ssd version it starts in under 20 seconds, the same as the tablet. I use the phone as a phone, twitter and Facebook reader camera etc.

  5. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Fuck all sympathy from me

    Microsoft had a killer platform in Windows Mobile. Decent hardware too. Absolutely pissed all over Android.

    Rather than actually support it and push it, they let it fall victim to some weird suicide cult.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows 8

    was the beginning of the end for me and Microsoft. IMHO, it was worse than Vista.

    I started weaning my personal computing needs off of Windows about the time that Sinofski left MS.

    I use an iPad (bought secondhand for £130 over two years ago) for a lot of things. One day, Apple will stop supporting it but that won't be for a while yet if recent rumors about IOS 14 are to be believed.

    Touch has its place but I don't think that the Surface gets anywhere near as close as Apple does. The surface has always seen to me to be a bit of a half arsed compromise.

    If MS were really, really, really serious about it being the way of the future then they could have made it a much better competitor for the Apple infrastructure.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Windows 8

      Windows 8 UI worked very well on the Surface. It's UI and applications for a 10" tablet are far better than Windows 10 and its utterly dumber down apps (Windows 8 mail application is usable, Windows 10 is not).

      Surfaces do work well and can fully replace a tablet/laptop combination, and Apple too had to admit a real digitizer (the high-precision pen) is very useful for this kind of devices.

      But Window 8 native UI was totally inadequate for desktops that moreover started to have bigger and bigger screens - and the flat desktop UI looks outdated, childish and is far less comfortable to use.

      I can't understand why MS can't design a OS that can work in both ways depending on the device and user needs. IMHO, had MS delivered such an OS, would have had a winner and maybe even more traction for Windows Phone.

  7. kmedcalf

    Steven Sinofsky?

    So, according to the article Steven Sinofsky was single-handedly responsible for everything that is wrong with Microsoft products:

    - He was a founding member of the team that created Microsoft Foundation Classes

    - VP of Microsoft Office in 1998 and overseeing the introduction of the controversial Ribbon UI

    - launched Windows 7

    - He then went on to create Windows 8

    So every abomination in Microsoft history was associated with Steven Sinofsky. The world would obviously be a much better place had his daddy worn a condom that didn't break.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Trollface

      Wait a minute

      He didn't have anything to do with the Registry, nor is he responsible for Windows ME, or Clippy, for that matter.

      And I'm quite happy with 7.

      So, it's not all black for Mr Sinofski.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Microsoft Foundation Classes

      Never really had too much bother over MFC myself ... am I a weirdo ?

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Microsoft Foundation Classes

        MFC is a classic "lesser of two evils" thing. The Windows API is (to be charitable) baroque and really hard to use directly. MFC reduced that pain quite a lot. So, while I never liked MFC, I did prefer it over the alternative.

        1. Steve Todd

          Re: Microsoft Foundation Classes

          While MFC was great if you wanted to write Notepad, it really wasn’t a patch on object libraries like Borland’s VCL. About the only part of it that can be used in isolation is CString, and it’s a damned poor example of how to write an object framework.

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: Microsoft Foundation Classes

            True, the Borland's VCL was better, but didn't stick around.

            1. Steve Todd

              Re: Microsoft Foundation Classes

              I think you will find that the VCL is still sold as part of Embarcadero C++ Builder and Delphi. It’s 25 years old and counting. It’s also what the .NET framework was based on, since Anders Hejlsberg designed it before he was poached by Microsoft to work on .NET.

              1. JohnFen Silver badge

                Re: Microsoft Foundation Classes

                I didn't know that. Thanks!

      2. DCFusor Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Microsoft Foundation Classes

        Hello, fellow weirdo! Personally, after a somewhat stiff learning curve, including developing a bit of philosophy, myself and a couple guys I worked with in my consultancy made enough money using DevStudio6 and MFC to retire quite young, and quite long ago. I'm just now reaching normal retirement age after well over a decade of not needing a job. Thanks for all the bugs, Bill! If you'd made good product, easy to work with, and reliable, I wouldn't have had so much success fixing your junk.

        We bailed at .NET, which clearly wasn't for us or what we did - we sold performance, and wrote drivers and applications for a manufacturer of telecom and paging gear.

        As to philosophy - clearly MS hadn't any good clue about things like OLE...1, 2, ? ActiveX, COM (omg, DCOM) - and the security issues obvious to us even back then. And how again do you print that sound file you embedded in the word document? There's a long list of hilarious errors around that stuff, including even accidental early release of corporate quarterly reports vie obviously named embedded data in available boilerplate source.

        Further, it was simple to make a rule - if MS isn't using it in their own major products, don't use it yourself, thus avoiding most of the consequences of that behavior now exemplified by Google -

        "oops, let's drop or make that thing incompatible".

        Glad I completely switched all my stuff to Linux, even back then when it was more painful - RH 8. That's paid off too. Sometimes early adoption is a good thing.

    3. DougS Silver badge

      Windows 7 as a "triumph"

      I agree, it was only because Vista was universally despised that 7 was viewed so favorably. Vista's problem was mostly that Microsoft rushed its release because they didn't want to further extend XP's life (which they were forced to do anyway in the end)

      Had they wait another 18 months or so to polish Vista, it would have ended up pretty much where 7 was and people would have been fine with it.

    4. Nugry Horace

      Re: Steven Sinofsky?

      MFC isn't an abomination - it's a lot easier to work with than raw Win32, and it's lasted better than a lot of other hot-platforms-of-the-year like VB.

    5. hammarbtyp Silver badge

      Re: Steven Sinofsky?

      He truly is the Thomas Midgely of the software world

  8. Scott 1

    "...overseeing the introduction of the controversial Ribbon UI in Office 2007 – a strategic move to distinguish it from rivals like OpenOffice as well as making features more discoverable."

    More like *less* discoverable. I sometimes find myself having to use search to find the feature that I need - features that I used to be able to navigate to easily from the old-school menu system.

    1. MiguelC Silver badge
      Devil

      I would happily drag Mr. Sinofsky through the streets of *any* borough covered in tar and feathers for that sin alone.

      1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

        Then light him on fire.

    2. JohnFen Silver badge

      I could not agree more. The ribbon actively makes applications harder to use and makes it more difficult to find the controls I need.

    3. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Glad you said that.

      Making the Office suite different was clearly the main purpose. Change for its own ( or marketing) purpose.

      The ribbon does not make finding items more transparent. Locating stuff you don't use regularly is much less intuitive, grouping items that you use together in a work related menu rather than a structural one and hiding stuff you'll never use ( so that it's easier to search for stuff you use occasionally ) is now so close to impossible it almost doesn't exist.

      The Ribbon on its own I could have been fairly happy with. The prevention of editing menus according to user need (without creating whole new menus and hiding the original ones) isn't. But part of this era of Microsoft has been about forcing users to work the way that Microsoft want them to. As the piece says the Win 8 desktop forced users into it. And they're still playing silly buggers with the Start menu - Editing programmes into grouped folders being a fiddle being the most obvious and most recently the list of "apps" vanishes before your very eyes after about 5 seconds.

    4. mmonroe

      With regard to the ribbon, here at work I have to run M$ Office, but I've found a nice add-on which gives you back the proper menus. There are several around but ubit works for me.

  9. P.B. Lecavalier
    Coffee/keyboard

    Let me fix it for you

    > He pulled off the Office Ribbon UI

    You mean he successfully forced it down people's throat. Stalin also "pulled off" many things, you know.

    > and Windows 7 was a triumph

    It's all about managing the expectations. When you start from low...

    > Windows 8 failed. Sinofsky left Microsoft in November 2012,

    > just over three months after its August launch.

    I see honor.

    > Windows 10 is now well enough liked by business users

    I'm sorry, well liked?!?! Business users: People who don't have a say at what's going on, with dumb PHBs deciding on the tech in front of you.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Let me fix it for you

      Pulling off the Office Ribbon UI is rather like pulling off the wings from flies - cruel, pointless and forces things to crawl.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Let me fix it for you

      My company likes Windows 10. Then again, that could be because we're an IT services company and we make plenty of money by helping firms to plan, test and roll out the regular Win10 feature updates - money they didn't need to spend back when MS provided stable and long-term supported operating systems (and LTSC doesn't count as MS hobbles it so that O365 isn't supported).

      Win 10 is a sod for businesses, so much so that many are turning to outside help for it...

      AC for obvious reasons...

      1. DCFusor Silver badge

        Re: Let me fix it for you

        Yep, the smart move is to make money off MS mistakes. Hard to imagine you'll be out of a job anytime soon!

      2. ashdav

        Re: Let me fix it for you

        "Win 10 is a sod" full stop.

        Period if you are from across the pond.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Let me fix it for you

          We on the other side of the pond understand "full stop". In fact, it's been a part of our use of the language for longer than my lifetime. We just tend to use it only in the exact way you used it yourself -- to add emphasis to a declaration!

  10. BoraHorzaGobuchul

    Courier anyone?

    Right about this time Microsoft were playing with the Courier idea (dual screen pen and touch tablet). Was the iPad the device that killed this off? It looked like an interesting concept at the time, and it's almost come back as the Surface Duo.

  11. cornetman Silver badge

    Windows 8 was a complete fail because it only really made sense if you had a touch interface....and most people running Windows didn't.

    Windows 10 is hardly any better in that regard, which is why Classic Shell is so popular.

    1. Sloppy Crapmonster
      Meh

      Classic Shell is so popular that it stopped being developed over two years ago.

      1. ashdav

        Classic Shell is so popular

        It works.

        Why tinker with it.

      2. kmedcalf

        And so it still continues to work today as it did on that day two years ago when development stopped, and so it will continue to work each and every day going forward until the heat-death of the multiverse.

        What is your major mental defect that you think things that work just fine need continual fiddling?

      3. JohnFen Silver badge

        Whether or not something is in active development is independent of whether or not it is popular. Particularly with a utility like Classic Shell, which continues to work great and so requires no further development.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >Classic Shell is so popular that it stopped being developed over two years ago.

        That's because the developer no longer had the time, released the source code and is now Openshell

        https://github.com/Open-Shell/Open-Shell-Menu

        1. vaporland

          Thank you!

          I did not know Classic Shell had migrated to open source.

          Just downloaded!

          1. Dave K Silver badge

            Re: Thank you!

            Yep, the dev did the decent thing: Realised he didn't have time to maintain it any longer, so opened it so others could pick up the mantle. Lots of respect for all his work on Classic/Open Shell!

            1. Terry 6 Silver badge

              Re: Thank you!

              I've started using it.

              The previous version I tried used to take over the other log-in to the PC as well.

              This open source version doesn't so my wife can stay with what she's used to.

  12. juice Silver badge

    I'm not entirely convinced by his claims...

    To quote that 100% reliable font of all knowledge, Wikipedia...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPad#History

    ===============

    Apple re-entered the mobile-computing markets in 2007 with the iPhone. Smaller than the iPad, but featuring a camera and mobile phone, it pioneered the multi-touch finger-sensitive touchscreen interface of Apple's iOS mobile operating system. By late 2009, the iPad's release had been rumored for several years. Such speculation mostly talked about "Apple's tablet"; specific names included iTablet and iSlate.

    ===============

    If Microsoft were really completely blindsided by what Apple produced, then there should have been a full housecleaning of their strategists and espiona^H research agents.

    Also....

    > It was priced starting at $499, low for Apple hardware

    It was still relatively expensive. For instance:

    * Netbook: ASUS Eee PC 1005HA (1GB ram, Win XP, 160GB HDD) - launched in 2009 with MSRP of $389.99

    * Laptop: Lenovo Thinkpad L412 (2GB, Win 7, 160GB HDD) - launched in 2010 with a MSRP of $599

    * iPhone 4: released in 2010 with a MSRP of $199 (16GB) or $299 (32GB) - the same pricing as per the iPhone 3GS, released in 2009

    Obviously, I've just pulled a couple of easy-to-find numbers off the interwebs, but the iPad was at the lower end of laptop price ranges at the time, and pretty much double the cost of an iPhone.

    > Jobs dismissed Netbooks as "slow... low quality... just cheap laptops." History has proved him correct

    I won't argue this one (much) - but at the same time, I'd note that they showed there was a demand for smaller, low-powered devices with limited capabilities. I'd be highly surprised if Apple didn't study this phenomena and factor it into their decision to launch the iPad

    > Sinofsky said, "what it did, it did so much better. Not only did people prefer it but they changed what they did in order to use it

    Did they? Really? Any citations for that?

    iPad sales peaked in 2013, just three years after release, which is around the time iOS and Android devices started to hit the sweet spot in terms of processing power, capabilities and form factor, not least when it came to screen size. It's perhaps telling that Apple finally launched a 4.7" display in 2014 on the iPhone 6, to try and compete with Android manufacturers, some of who had already moved towards 6" screens a year or more earlier (e.g. HTC One Max).

    If there were any shifts in how people did stuff, it was driven by the evolution of phone technology, not tablets.

    Which isn't to say that tablets aren't good at some stuff - I've owned a mix of Android and Apple tablets since 2010, and for my needs (basic social media, reading, iPlayer, etc), they work more than well enough. But their use-cases are limited, and after the initial surge of interest, they've never set the world on fire...

    1. Steve Todd

      Re: I'm not entirely convinced by his claims...

      Erm, the iPhone price was as subsidised on a contract, not the RRP of an un encumbered device. The iPad price was, for an Apple device, quite low. Yes, you could find cheaper laptops, but that wasn’t what was stated.

  13. rucb_alum

    Really, why would it take so long. I think the iPod Touch made it pretty clear...

    A touch interface on an iPad that had WiFi and Internet access...It's everything an iPhone is but without the phone service. All that was needed was the parts to build a 'bigger' one.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Jobs dismissed Netbooks as "slow... low quality... just cheap laptops." History has proved him correct.

    Cheap and yet far more useful than an iPad. Do I want to pay silly money for a slab that's a pain to hold, has minimal connectivity and whose functions are replicated by a mobile phone?

    Or how about a cheap 11" laptop (netbook equivalent) with the full function of a PC and an open hardware platform on which I can choose to run Linux?

  15. cb7

    "Windows 10 is now well enough liked by business users"

    Windows 10 is not liked. People are putting up with it only because Windows 7 is no longer supported and they need a "supported" OS in order not to get shafted when the next vulnerability exploit comes along.

    1. vaporland

      I like ten better than seven.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        >I like ten better than seven.

        Once you get under hood a bit, I would agree with you, but the UI/UX is p*ss poor; although in saying that, given the changes over the releases, I would not be surprised if within a couple of releases the last vestiges of TIFKAM disappear leaving something that is more akin to its Win7 heritage.

  16. This post has been deleted by its author

  17. FF22

    Ultimate failure

    And, yet, 10 years later, after the tablet fad is mostly gone, iPad is nothing more than the ultimate technological failure. A solution still looking for a problem, even more so than it did when it was first introduced. There's nothing a tablet is good at that other kinds of devices would be better at. Then again, isn't this the very definition of virtually every Apple device ever?

  18. Schultz Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Taking responsibility for the ribbon and Windows 8!

    I guess that makes him the true nemesis of Steve Jobs. One Steve spent his life and career to make the computer interface more usable and useful, the other ... well, you got the idea.

  19. SAdams

    Windows 8

    “ Despite these missteps, Windows 8 was not all bad.”

    Really? It was a big mess. So much so that I ended up replacing my Windows laptop with a Macbook. I’ve now come to appreciate some aspects of the Macbook and may even replace it with another, even though I’m more comfortable with Windows 10. VMware fusion is finally good enough to give you a full Windows experience, so you get the best of both.

    All because Windows 8 was so bad.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Windows 8

      For Desktops it makes 10 almost pleasant.

      If you have any 7 users who have to go 10, put 8 on and they will detest it.

      1. quxinot Silver badge

        Re: Windows 8

        8 is significantly less of a wreck than 10 is. It takes an absolute truckload of time to hammer it into some semblance of shape, but 10 takes dramatically more--and then everything breaks next month and you get to do it again. At least 8 can have the updates turned off.

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Re: Windows 8

          The centreing of the titles was bad enough.

          So used to top left.

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