Does Apple's iPad 2 further dent Microsoft's iPad compete plans?

Does Apple's iPad 2 further dent Microsoft's iPad compete plans?

Summary: There's been a simmering debate as to whether Microsoft understands the tablet/slate market, and Apple's announcement of the iPad 2 on March 2 turned up the heat on that subject.

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There's been a simmering debate as to whether Microsoft understands the tablet/slate market, and Apple's announcement of the iPad 2 on March 2 turned up the heat on that subject.

To date, neither Microsoft nor its OEM partners has delivered anything to date that can be considered a head-to-head iPad competitor. And it looks as if Redmond's 2011 tablet strategy revolves primarily around pushing Windows 7 tablets, emphasizing their enterprise-centric focus. (It remains to be seen how much emphasis and marketing muscle Microsoft will put behind "Webpads" running Windows Embedded Compact 7.)

Unlike some pundits and press folk, I don't think Microsoft is clueless about what makes a compelling slate/tablet. But I do think the Softies are taking a risky gamble by putting almost all their eggs in the Windows 8 tablet basket, giving Apple and various Android and WebOS competitors a hefty head-start.

Before Apple's announcement today, I was wondering how much more headroom the second-generation iPad might give Apple. Would Apple unveil any new features or functionality that would cut into Microsoft's 2011 sales strategy for Windows 7 tablets? Given the growing appeal of iPads to not just consumers but also a number of business customers, maybe Apple would introduce new management or security capabilities -- and not just movie-making or music-producing software. (An aside: Microsoft understands the need for compelling music content in the mobile space, too, and is putting up thousands of dollars in prize money to get developers to create HTML5 apps that work well in IE 9.)

But no. Apple didn't unveil any new features aimed at business users -- unless you consider the introduction of a front-facing camera for videochat to be technology that might entice business folks. So I expect Microsoft to continue to try to make a silk purse from a sow's ear, and to emphasize iPads' lack of security/manageability functionality, their lack of USB support, and missing Flash/Silverlight support when trying to dissuade customers from going with Apple's "Post-PC Era" platform.

(If you need a refresher regarding Microsoft's iPad compete strategy, check out the slides I ran in January from it.) For good measure, here are some additional slides from that deck that I didn't publish previously that reinforce Microsoft's enterprise-focused slate-selling strategy:

Go to Page 2

(You can click on any of these slides to enlarge them.)

As some readers of my blog know, I bought an iPad last year, and I'm still not sorry I did. I use it as a consumption device, and take it with me around town to keep up with e-mail, news and Twitter. I prefer the iPad when I need to read a lot of information quickly, and I find it far easier to respond to mail and Tweet on the iPad than a smartphone.

I don't feel compelled to sell my iPad 1 for an iPad 2, just to save a third of a pound, speed up my browsing or get a new screen-cleaning cloth. Apple didn't cut the iPad price with the new version 2 model, either, keeping me from feeling like I got cheated by spending $629 I paid for the 16 GB 3G/Wifi model.

What about you? Anyone of you readers ready to shell out for the iPad 2 in 2011 instead of a Windows 7 slate/tablet? Or are you waiting for the magical Windows 8 slates?

Topics: Software, Apple, Tablets, Operating Systems, Mobility, Microsoft, Laptops, iPad, Hardware, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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163 comments
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  • RE: Does Apple's iPad 2 further dent Microsoft's iPad compete plans?

    Nope.
    Loverock Davidson
    • Why Nope?

      is it because Microsoft will not even attempt to seriously enter the market?
      CowLauncher
      • Two different beasts?

        @CowLauncher

        I don't see people throwing away their iPhones for iPads
        Will Farrell
      • RE: Does Apple's iPad 2 further dent Microsoft's iPad compete plans?

        @CowLauncher LISTEN CAREFULLY!
        PLEASE STEP AWAY FROM THE TROLL AND PUT DOWN THAT FOOD. YOU WILL NOT BE HARMED. BUT THE TROLL HAS TO BE PUT OUT OF ITS MYSERY. THIS WILL BE PERFORMED HUMANELY. NOW, PLEASE STEP AWAY FROM THE TROLL AND BACK AWAY. THANK YOU.
        Graham Ellison
      • RE: Does Apple's iPad 2 further dent Microsoft's iPad compete plans?

        @CowLauncher It's because they'll enter it too seriously.
        The iPad isn't an enterprise device... it's a device home users think is fun to watch YouTube and play Angry Birds on.

        It is successful because it is everything Win 7 isn't - simple. Easy to use. Intuitive to configure and maintain.

        It isn't "serious". It isn't an "enterprise" device.
        Windows on a tablet has been done before, and it's failed every time.
        iPad succeeds because of iOS.

        What MS should do is not take it so serious, forget entirely about enterprise, and just put Windows Phone 7 on it. Use this as an additional driving force - another great reason to make Windows Phone 7 a truly competitive platform.

        MS needs development on THAT platform now - not "another layer" added on to make Windows 7 even MORE complex. That will just give users yet another reason to look elsewhere (like iPad). People don't want a "serious", needlessly [outside the Enterprise] complex device for their homes.
        geolemon
    • RE: Does Apple's iPad 2 further dent Microsoft's iPad compete plans?

      @Loverock Davidson I think this time around Apple got it right. When they introduced the Mac in the eighties, they made two mistakes. One was that the hardware was too expensive. The other was that they lacked the apps and an ecosystem.<br><br>This time around, I think they got it right. Pre-ordering all these touch screens will cause a major problem for the competition, as Apple owns 60% of the capacity. This means low price for Apple and higher price for the competition. No competition can touch them on price, with a 9.7" screen.<br><br>By introducing the iPhone 3 years ago, they created an ecosystem which Microsoft can only dream about. MS spent billions to support their partners who built the MS ecosystem. Apple built an App Store, an SDK and the developers came and even paid Apple $100 for the privilege. Apple takes 30% off the top.<br><br>Unlike the PC era, Apple will rule the tablet market with a lion share of the market. This is necessary if they want to be the kings of the media. As of now, music labels, book publishers, news publishers and movie studios are gravitating to Apple. Apple has a billion dollar data center in idle mode. The next chapter will be cloud services...
      prof123
      • RE: Does Apple's iPad 2 further dent Microsoft's iPad compete plans?

        @prof123

        IMO Apple's walled garden is going to hurt them in tablets just as it does in phones. Not that they'll be unsuccessful, just that Android is going to take a large share of market they could otherwise have, if they didn't want to control every app and piece of content, and get a cut of every transaction. Excellent hardware and software are enough to ensure them a good market share, but their lockdown of customer devices is going to hurt them with a large segment of the market.
        1DaveN
      • RE: Does Apple's iPad 2 further dent Microsoft's iPad compete plans?

        @DaveN_MVP
        There is a pro and con for lockdown. The best "pro" I can think of is malware. By controlling the apps that run on the device, Apple also keeps the malware in check. Most iPhone / iPad users are not techies, they just want a simple device that is easy to use and it works. I think this a reason people like their products.
        Most people buy a car and if they never have to open the hood, they are happy...
        prof123
      • RE: Does Apple's iPad 2 further dent Microsoft's iPad compete plans?

        @DaveN_MVP<br>"IMO Apple's walled garden is going to hurt them in tablets just as it does in phones."<br><br>IO read somewhere this morning (I'll try to find the article and post the link) that Jobs announced sales figures. iPhones were something like 100 million and iPads something like 15 million. That's really not very much "hurt" at all.

        Edit:
        http://www.macworld.com.au/news/jobs-updates-apple-sales-figures-25665/
        Wakemewhentrollsgone
      • Yeah that &quot;walled garden&quot; has proven

        @DaveN_MVP
        to be such a drag on Apple's success and profits. Wait a minute this just in IT HAS NOT PROVEN TO BE A DRAG AT ALL. Not in the least. In fact if anything it's proven to be a key to Apple's success and profits!!! Nor has a lack of Flash proven to be an issue or a none replaceable battery. Go figure:)

        Pagan jim
        James Quinn
      • Thats a nice dream but theres absolutely no reason to believe it will come

        true. MS has no problem attracting devs/apps. even with much fiercer competition than there was when iphone came out their phones sales and appstore is growing much faster than iphones did. With apple giving up share hand over fist to a crap pile like android there's no way they can hope to complete against WP. The WP tools are too superior and the resulting apps are stunningly higher quality than their iphone counterparts. And sorftware services, please, this is where apples biggest weakness vs google and ms is.
        Johnny Vegas
      • RE: Does Apple's iPad 2 further dent Microsoft's iPad compete plans?

        @DaveN_MVP
        As a user of both platforms I have to tell you that I trust Apple's ecosystem much more than Google's. If you look that the big name publishers in each store, I think you will see more quality apps in Apple's App Store. You can spin it any way you wish, most people worry about security far more than the concept of open. Developers also will follow the dollars, and we all know where the money is.
        kcwookie@...
      • RE: Does Apple's iPad 2 further dent Microsoft's iPad compete plans?

        @DaveN_MVP<br><br>Not only does the "walled garden" help to prevent malware (as stated by prof123), but it also helps to promote stable apps.<br><br>Now, I said helps. I'm not saying the review process is perfect and things can get past the reviewers, but I think its been proven that the ios devices are way more stable then the android ones. In testing the iPad as a replacement for paper charts/maps, the software never even crashed.<br><br><br><a href="http://www.engadget.com/2011/03/01/ipad-gets-approval-from-faa-to-replace-paper-flight-charts-and-m/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><a href="http://www.engadget.com/2011/03/01/ipad-gets-approval-from-faa-to-replace-paper-flight-charts-and-m/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.engadget.com/2011/03/01/ipad-gets-approval-from-faa-to-replace-paper-flight-charts-and-m/</a></a><br><br>How many reports have there been about crashes on the Xoom since its release?<br><br>The biggest thing, though. The normal user DOES NOT CARE about an open system vs walled garden. They care that their device works and does what they want it to do with minimal effort. The iOS interface may be primitive compared to Honeycomb's, but its also a lot more simple to use. Who cares how flashy your "desktop" or "home screen" is, its simply a means to access the applications which do the real work.
        tk_77
      • RE: Does Apple's iPad 2 further dent Microsoft's iPad compete plans?

        @prof123 <br>This time Apple has also got it right in that the iPad leverages all those iPhones out there and all the satisfied users. Add to that the fact that iPad is an "appliance" competing on features that meet the man on the street, IT folks who want to foist other tablets into a workforce of "experienced iPad users" there may be some pushback unless they can prove a value. With the price points of the other tablets coming in higher than iPad, the cost-benefit will be even harder for the Geek Squad to prove.
        jpratch
      • Your later reply &quot;People want a simple product ...&quot;

        @prof123 is on the mark, as is your car analogy. Some of the "marketing" assessments made in these talk back threads are just plain inane, made by folks who don't look further than their fellow techies, friends, and families. It's a big world out there, and millions of ipads and iphones are being sold because they solve a problem for their customers.
        wcraycroft
      • RE: Does Apple's iPad 2 further dent Microsoft's iPad compete plans?

        @prof123

        What you're claiming were mistakes turned out to be very very good for both Apple and its customers. It cost money to introduce USB and CD drives as standard - a move that forced the entire industry to modernize. So the cost of the original iMacs was symptomatic of the costs involved in delivering new technology.

        You also have to remember that Apple did this from a position of being close to bankruptcy, having made a massive loss the years before launch. They simply couldn't afford to do what Microsoft did with the X box for instance - make a loss for year after year - just to gain a foothold in the games market. It's the basic economics of survival.

        Your second point is spot on. But you've missed out the two most important links in the chain that lead to Apple's dominance of the tablet market today, or rather what made that possible. It was the setting up of the iTunes Store on April 28, 2003 that made iPad and before it, iPhone possible. But iTunes Store was set up to sell music - for the iPod. Apple, or rather Steve Jobs understood that the thing all people have in common is music. Connect with people through their love of music and you have a customer base who will come back to you for other solutions, and do so with trust.

        It's the iPod Business Model that they teach at Harvard Business School, because it is the disruptive force that created this phenomenon - all based on our love of music, with the popularity of a brightly coloured, reasonably expensive, internet ready desktop computer with USB and CD drive that didn't look like any other computer anyone had ever seen before, as its foundation.

        Otherwise, we agree. But any business that really wants to compete in this game will have to take a trip in a TARDIS - back EIGHT YEARS in time to April 28, 2003!
        Graham Ellison
      • RE: Does Apple's iPad 2 further dent Microsoft's iPad compete plans?

        @prof123 They made yet another mistake...because Apple does not hold the market on tablets. Pricing is what is keeping the masses away from the i-pad. I think this is intentional though. Create a product that is viewed as brillient but limit it's capabilities and market demand as driving its pricing. Microsoft did this...so it's a borrowed philosophy. Hold back your best hand while others build innovative features that you secretly suggest to them via pigions you place strategically in the new technology development areana (knowing that you have already developed and are holding in your trump hand) then release the next iteration of your flagship product with those innovative features that have driven the pricing of your competitors (your great hand).
        eleaders
        • RE: Does Apple's iPad 2 further dent Microsoft's iPad compete plans?

          @eleaders We all realize that some great innovative technology is being held by Apple that will merge many technologies that have been developed but are being held so that pricing does not dive once everybody has merged the technologies. This is why we had notebooks before netbooks and simultaneously GPS readers and a slew of other technologies released seperately. Its called strategic marketing. Stay tuned...Best Buy has asopted this strategy but can it charge a premium for it? Or.... will the Craigslists and E-Bays allow for resales at a reasonable enough price to make the Jones' want what the Smith's and Hatfields and McCoy's have?
          eleaders
    • RE: Does Apple's iPad 2 further dent Microsoft's iPad compete plans?

      @Loverock Davidson

      I think the iPad's main competitor is Toys'R'Us.

      But keep carrying those overpriced media playing bricks around until you realise it's just not worth it.
      tonymcs@...
      • Um yeah that rant of yours might make

        @tonymcs@...
        some sense if not for the many satisfied customers out there who own iPads and have PC's at home but still love their iPads. Or an iPhone maybe an iPod they are aware of MS products heck they use them at work and yes even own a Windows PC but still they love their Apple stuff and this includes their iPads. Source after source do the surveys and the results are always the same Apple wins top honors as far as their customers are concerned.

        Pagan jim
        James Quinn