Great Debate: Windows 8 slate beats iPad, but Microsoft has lots of work to do

Great Debate: Windows 8 slate beats iPad, but Microsoft has lots of work to do

Summary: While I won the Great Debate arguing for the Windows 8 slate, I think Microsoft has more work to do than Apple.


While the majority of readers and Larry gave me the win in the latest ZDNet Great Debate I have to say I think the road to success may be harder for Microsoft than for Apple. The new iPad is simply gorgeous and the excitement generated by Apple's quality products will be tough for Microsoft to overcome. Apple is working to get apps and services that support the enterprise and since they already have the majority of the tablet market that seems easier to accomplish than Microsoft introducing a new operating system.

As pointed out in detail by Adrian Windows 8 has a lot of work to do before release. Microsoft needs to have a consistent user interface and also show us why the Metro UI is better than Windows XP and Windows 7 that already both work well in the office.

I won the debate, primarily based on the fact that you still have to compromise with an iPad at the office, but I bought a new iPad and am going to have to see a lot more reasons from Microsoft and their hardware partners before I buy a Windows 8 computer.

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Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software

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  • Can't Wait to See a Nokia Tablet

    If Nokia can bring hardware to the table that is as nice as the Lumia 800/900, then I could see myself getting quite excited about a Windows 8 tablet.
  • Which Windows 8 Slate..

    is the best right now?
    • Best Win8 Slate Now - HP Slate 2

      Right now, if you want portability, I'd say the HP Slate 2 - Win7, 8.9" screen, 1.5 lb. dual mode digitizer (touch & stylus). Note that the released version of Win8 does not run perfectly but there are people who have gotten it running successfully. I have the earlier HP Slate 500 (which is the HP Slate 1) and I find that it is great for browsing files or the Internet although it's a bit slow (but not unusable) for editing files in Office. The stylus handles Win7 menus well (and allows inking - I'm amazed at how well MS recognized my chicken scratching). Your biggest downside is battery life. I get 3-4 hours and the new Slate is supposed to better that but it doesn't approach iPad levels (and the battery is not replaceable).
      • So the best does not work very well?

        What is the point then?
    • Poor MCSEs

      So desperate are they to remain relevant they'll vote for an product that doesn't yet exist over a product that's in the market defining it.

      I was in an Apple store last week and again last night (swapping out a cracked iPhone) and both times it was packed. The PC stores in the same shopping centre were like a deserted old western town but for the tumbleweeds.

      Win8 CP is rightly getting smacked for it's desktop changes, the promise being its designed for hardware that doesn't even exist.

      The same people that fought the iPhone and iPad in the Office now pin their hopes for relevance on a dream, press releases and their votes in talkbacks and ZDNet debates. Good luck;-)
      Richard Flude
      • How does a product that hasn't be released yet, "win"?

        Only on zdnet where Redmond shills abound aplenty.

        I see a repeat of 2010.
      • I own both a Windows tablet and an iPad

        Windows XP. I bought it the year before the iPad came out. It now sits on a shelf. It runs any app that Windows can handle. On the surface that seems like a huge advantage over the iPad, but guess what... for most of us it doesn't make any difference. The iPad is just one fantastic device. The only way the new slate will be able to compete is if it totally disguises itself as some kind of an iPad and not come across as a Windows computer.
  • Keep Dreaming....

    Contrary to what most people believe, Microsoft has NEVER developed a modern OS from scratch. Every OS (from DOS to NT), has been comprised of "piggy-back" spaghetti code, on top of someone else's existing OS.

    The very fact, from an architectural perspective, that WOA won't support any existing business apps = complete failure in the enterprise. The fact that the only app they will have at launch will be "Office Light", if you will, is equal to a devastating failure with MOST consumers.

    As far as tablets running full versions of Windows, please allow me to give you a brief history lesson. I'm sure you can recall that Microsoft began development on that project in the late-1990s, finally releasing an XP Tablet Edition of their OS in 2001.

    Jump to 2010: during the first year of sales, the iPad outsold every tablet that Microsoft had produced for the previous 9-years. My point exactly, full blown Windows on a tablet has not been a stellar success for Microsoft in the past!

    Fast forward to 2012 and we're right back in the same position. Microsoft plans to release a tablet version of their full blown OS (Windows 8); in addition to a new version of that same OS (in name only), written and compiled for ARM with WinRT. Of course, in usual Microsoft confusion, both operating systems will be released in the same year.

    History Lesson number 2: Wintel in the 80s, 90s and present was/is comprised of a partnership with Microsoft and Intel, where the former developed the software and the latter manufactured the microprocessors for business and consumer computing.

    At the time Windows 8 is released, sometime in late 2012, Intel will only have a supposed "low-power" version of the ATOM processor ready, in order to run these ARM tablets.

    The ATOM processor is a POS and everyone knows that. It barely ran XP on a netbook, forget about any serious applications (like Photoshop). Now they are introducing the same processor with LESS POWER to run the new Windows 8 tablets on ARM?

    As far as the Windows X86 tablets go, the processing power will be available, but so will the heat from those "desktop processors", as well as the weight. Don't forget that, in 2012 mind you, these tablets will undoubtedly require a cooling fan, antivirus software and will crash (hence Microsoft's redesigned Blue Screen of Death for Windows 8).

    I can't tell you guys how this story ends, but please chime in by using that vivid imagination of yours : )
    • Distorted history

      NT was build from scratch.

      Regarding your remarks about processors, we already see using the X86 version of Windows 8, that this OS uses considerable less resources then Windows 7 and is therefore considerably quicker. I am sure these tablets will be performant and will provide a compelling experience. Even now it is not hard to see how Metro as a concept is vastly superior to IOS. The static icon grid is so 20th century, it isn't even funny. I would love to slap win8 on my ipad2, but of course that is never going to happen, so I will replace it with a x86 tablet, one that doesn't suffer from big fans, bad battery life and lack of touch interface, as it is 2012 now, hardware has advanced in comparison to when Microsoft slapped XP on tablets, that is a fact you seem to completely ignore.
      • NT was not built from scratch

        Most ideas were from the DEC VAX series. Don't forget that Dave Cutler was called in to head NT Development. Dave Cutler, who headed VAX VMS, copied most of the ideas into NT as well. NT - up to Windows 2000, was a fantastic piece of software. However by merging their Windows 98 code into NT, they started down the slippery slope. Windows 2000 was their best code base, that is when they peaked.
      • Read the history of Win NT here
        From DOS onward, Microsoft never created original software.
    • And..

      since when is the Atom an ARM processor ? The Atom is a X86 processor and will therefore not run WOA. WOA will run on Qualcomm, Nvidea en TI.
    • You need to work on your FUD. It's terribly weak so far.

      W8 is completely modular. It is also far more secure than either ios or android. Intel mobile chips have passed arm in battery life with lower heat and about 10x arm performance. Care to try again?
      Johnny Vegas
      • It is also far more secure than either ios or android

        How can you say that? Have you run this new W8 metro crap in Internet wild for at least a year? I think a lot of people remember when Windows 7 came out and it was most secure don't even need AV software on you wish.

    From the DEC VMS operating system:
    • And

      No one gives a shat...
      • Amen.

      • Only when the truth hurts

    • And Mac OS was stolen from free BSD.

      And the Mac was (almost literally) stolen from Xerox's PARC.

      So what?
      • Somebody out there still believes this?

        Wow are you behind the times on your urban legends.