New Microsoft video slams the iPad on multitasking, PowerPoint and price

New Microsoft video slams the iPad on multitasking, PowerPoint and price

Summary: A new Windows video (presumably a TV commercial) knocks the iPad over multitasking, its lack of a PowerPoint app and the price of the 64GB configuration.

New Microsoft video rips the iPad - Jason O'Grady

"Sorry. I don't update like that."

"I'm sorry, I can only do one thing at a time."

"I guess PowerPoint isn't one of those things."

"Should we just play chopsticks?"

Imagine the above, spoken in Siri's voice, while comparing the iPad side-by-side with the latest Windows 8 tablet from ASUS. (The fact that Microsft chose Siri to mock the iPad is ironic considering that Windows can't currently compete with Siri.)

Then it flashes a price comparison:

iPad $699, Windows 8 tablet $449 - Jason O'Grady

Then it closes with the new Windows slogan "Less talking, more doing." That's the dialog of a new 30 second video "Windows 8: Less talking, more doing" that was just posted to Microsoft's Windows YouTube account

Where to start?

I think that Microsoft's first point about Windows 8's live tiles is the most salient point of the bunch. As I've said here many times before, iOS' grid of icons UI hasn't changed since the original iPhone came out in 2007 and it's stale as hell. Apple needs to overhaul the iOS springboard with multiple-sized, live-updating widgets. What was revolutionary five years ago has turned into a useless and kludgy interface. Case closed. 

The spot's second jab, about being able to see two apps at once on Windows 8, is legitimate, but disingenuous. While it can't display two apps simultaneously, iOS has had multitasking since iOS 4 in 2010. Ok, so it's not real desktop class multitasking, but the feature is available on iOS, you just can't view two apps simultaneously on the iPad. Deal breaker? Hardly. 

Microsoft's third point about iOS not having PowerPoint is total crap. While true, it's only because Microsoft hasn't released Office for iOS so that it give Surface a perceived advantage. It's no different than Apple not releasing Keynote for Windows. But Keynote is substantially better than PowerPoint (on the desktop and on the tablet) and it opens .PPT files so the argument is bogus. I wouldn't use PowerPoint for iOS if Microsoft offered it for free tomorrow. Microsoft would get more credibility if it mentioned Word and Excel, which are better than Pages and Numbers.

And let's not forget that the ASUS VivoTab Smart doesn't include PowerPoint, it's an additional purchase. Office 2010 costs $100-$400 more (depending on your license), Office 2013 will set you back $140-$400 and Office 365 costs $100 per year. 

The video's main argument is on price. It quotes the 64GB iPad at $699 and the ASUS VivoTab Smart 64GB at $449, both accurate points. However, the video neglects to mention that you can purchase a 16GB iPad for $499 (and a 16GB iPad mini for $329), so you only showing the $700 iPad is misleading.

Microsoft's iPad comparison website has a few legitimate points (microHDMI and microSD ports, better printing options, multiple user accounts), but a lot can inferred from the features that it omits (like unit sales, installed base, market share, etc.)

Here's the video embed, so you can judge for yourself:

What's your take on the MS spot and on Surface in general?

Update: Some of the initial reviews of the VivoTab hardware on Amazon are pretty scathing.

Update 2: At the end of its comparison, Microsoft falsely states that the ASUS VivoTab Smart has a "bigger touchscreen" than the iPad:

The ASUS VivoTab Smart is lighter than the iPad, has a bigger touchscreen and more ports, works with more printers, lets you see two apps at once, and runs Microsoft Office and other desktop programs.

Update 3: It appears that Microsoft has updated the VivoTab comparison page to remove the erroneous "bigger touchscreen" claim.

Topics: Apple, iOS, iPad, Microsoft, Tablets

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  • Yes...

    Because 9.5 hours of battery isn't enough AND having millions of apps to choose from- tablet is full Windows 8.

    Try doing research before writing your articles.
  • Do I smell something burning?

    Jason, show some appreciation at least if not any objectivity in your writing. We know you are Apple fan with a huge bias.

    What ever you say, the fact is you are talking of a Phone OS on tablet versus a Desktop OS on a tablet. It is a huge difference, period ! And don't say it doesn't run x86 applications, none of the ARM tablets run x86 applications either !, its a old fact
    • and, by the way

      Let's check how an phone compares with either tablet or desktop -- and which is closer to functionality and usage scenarios. That is, which OS is more appropriate where.

      Tablet similarity to a phone:
      - runs apps;
      - you hold it in your hands;
      - you expect to operate it by touch;
      - you expect mobility and long battery life;
      - you can connect external human interface devices like keyboards, pointing devices and audio/video equipment;

      Tablet similarity to a desktop:
      - runs apps;
      - you can connect external human interface devices like keyboards, pointing devices and audio/video equipment;
      - you need sturdy flat surface to use the tablet as desktop;

      Don't you think "a phone OS" is a better match for tablet than "a desktop OS"?
      • Why do you have to choose?

        When you can have both.
        • what to chose?

          I just answered the question why an"phone OS" might be more appropriate for a tablet, than an "desktop OS".

          You fanboys turned this into Apple vs Microsoft. Pathetic....
          • I agree with you on the OS part, since, the iPad is basically the same as

            the iPhone, but just with a bigger screen. So, no need to get a different OS.
  • HP Envy X2 beats both of them

    Unless you just want to be cool hanging out at your kid's dance center being one of the "iPad moms" the best experience is one where you can get some things done and turn your computer off. Seriously, go outside. Its better for you. If you just want to get things done and don't care about Jetpack Jumper or Angry Birds, the HP Envy X2 is a pretty good buy. Its a Atom processor, but you'd never know it. I haven't seen one bump or slow down running any desktop or metro app. And for about $50 you can double the 64 gig SSD to 128 gig using a micro USB. And on top of that there's a regular USB to add more storage.

    The iPad is fine, really, but almost everyone I see uses it for web browsing and apps that emulate a web page (CNN, Flipboard, etc.).
    A Gray
    • WACOM

      the only thing missing on the Envy is the WACOM digitizer and pen, I find that a huge bonus, especially when I look at my colleagues in meetings with their iPads with plastic tubes with a rubber nipple on the end, trying to take notes.

      I like my ATIV.
  • Boom Goes the Dynamite!

    Great Ad, Microsoft has been on a roll lately. Hope they continue the assault on their competitors. There will be swings and misses along the way but as of late there have been more home runs...
  • Price Was Not the Main Point

    The main point is the iPad is useless.

    My iPad gets great battery life. The battery lasts for months. I have no use for the thing.

    Too much Budweiser one night and two days later I have $500 screen shot generator. The best use I could find for it.

    A Surface Pro is the only tablet I would consider. I bought one for my daughter.
    • And...

      saying comparing the 64GB VivoTab with the 64GB iPad is unfair is specious.

      So, a 16GB iPad is only $50 more than the VivoTab, so what? A smaller engined car is generally cheaper than a big engined car.

      It is like comparing a Camaro V6 Coupe with a Shelby Mustang and saying that is a better comparison than comparing the ZL1 to the Shelby, because the V6 is a cheaper... :-S
      • You just

        referred to the Surface Pro as a Shelby. The iPad would be more of a Ford Focus, though.
    • Here we go again

      The defender of MS shills and other miscreants (including LD of all posters here), who swears he is not a MS shill himself, tries to ban the word "shill", but is dumping on Apple and promoting MS.

      No credibility

      No integrity

      No intellectual honesty

      Little perception

      And he really should visit He might just learn something.
    • Flags? Disbelievers??

      Purchased 3/8/12 at 4:02 am
      Order Acknowledgment Image:
  • ViVotab is awesome.

    I've got one and I'm very satisfied. It can run all MMORPG game, got swype, boot less than 5 sec. Run full photoshop, SAP, salesforce, share with bluetooth. So why iPad for half it price with more value.
  • You what now?

    "Microsoft's iPad comparison website has a few legitimate points (microHDMI and microSD ports, better printing options, multiple user accounts), but a lot can inferred from the features that it omits (like unit sales, installed base, market share, etc.)"

    Sorry, but how are unit sales, installed base and market share going to help me accurately display a PowerPoint presentation on a device? That has to be one of the daftest comments made on ZDNet for a long time, and I have suffered through a few SJVN rants, so that is saying something!

    Comparing physical attributes and software capabilities is one thing, but claiming the iPad is better solution for my needs, because a few million other sheeple have bought one is just facetious.

    I have used iPads, Android tablets and Windows XP, 7 and 8 tablets. The iPad has some nice features, but my every day tablet is a Windows 8 device, because it suits my needs better, not because it has sold more or because it has a larger market share, but because it does what I need better than the iPad.
    • Re: help me accurately display a PowerPoint presentation on a device

      The more widespread use of the iPad will "help" you by making everyone around you produce Keynote presentations and not PowerPoint presentations.

      At the end, the key is to understand that the iPad doesn't have to fulfill your needs, as long as it fulfills the needs of enough people so that it's still being sold. Just as "whatever Microsoft" doesn't fulfill the needs of many people.

      Imagine, the iPad is so popular with your colleagues that they produce their presentations in Keynote and not in PowerPoint. Then, you will be "forced" to fix these presentations to properly display in PowerPoint, because this is the presentation software of your choosing. Eventually, you might decide to save yourself the effort and switch to Keynote. See, it works both ways...

      At the end, one important thing to remember is that neither PowerPoint nor Keynote are multi-platform.
      You could settle for a common denominator and this is probably what slide designers should do --- use common styles etc -- but this is exactly what the software vendors don't want you to do, so that you can be locked in to their platform. By the way, presentations render differently in different PowerPoint versions as well.
      • Sorry, no...

        At the end of the day, the ONLY thing that matters is if it fulfills my needs.

        The only thing important to you should be, does it fulfill your needs?

        The PowerPoint theme aside, an iPad does about 40% of what I need from a tablet - if I am going to have a tablet, then it must negate the need to also carry around a laptop. On the other hand, a Windows 8 talet does about 98% of what I need (the processor and memory restrictions mean that it isn't suited to RAW photo editing, for example).

        And they produce their presentations (and generally present them) in Windows... ;-)
        • Re: the ONLY thing that matters is if it fulfills my needs

          So you admit that in order to do presentations, you don't "need" either PowerPoint or Keynote? :)

          Because of this how Keynote renders an PowerPoint presentation is irrelevant.

          What your and my needs are, and what percentage of these needs specific device fulfills is also irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. We only make it our preference seem important, because we desire so. The general population pretty much ignores our desires.
        • That's right

          Thousands of programmers must slave away producing software to conform to wright_is' needs, because his needs are the ONLY ones that count. Don't worry about the needs of millions of other people, because wright_is is the most important person in the universe.

          Well, an iPad does about 35% of the things I need a tablet to do in order for it to replace my notebook, so that's why I keep taking my MacBook with me to work. It's slowly creeping up as I remake my school network to be more mobile friendly. However, a Windows 8 monstrosity would only do about 20% of what I needed to do, and would add a heck of a lot of head scratching time to figure out how to get it to do simple things I was able to do in Windows 7 easily. So I would think that Win8 would be a net negative for me.