No compromises with Windows 8
Matthew Miller: Microsoft was a pioneer in the tablet space several years ago with the UMPC and then Tablet PC lines, but these never seemed to appeal to the full enterprise or consumer market. People are excited about Windows 8 in a tablet form factor, primarily for the potential to have a portable computer with no compromises in applications. After testing out the Consumer Preview on a Samsung Slate I can see why there is excitement, but also see areas where Microsoft has to improve Windows 8 before release to the market.
As Apple has shown, there is more to making a successful tablet product than just having bigger buttons and fewer menus. Microsoft needs to make sure the entire experience is consistent, fluid, stable, and easy. Consumers don't often get frustrated with an iPad and Microsoft needs to make the Windows 8 tablet experience just as easy, while also providing differentiation with application support.
Apple redefined the tablet market with the iPad and I use mine every day, including while on business trips. While you can use it for basic work tasks such as email, word processing, spreadsheets, and web browsing, there are still many limitations that hold it back from full enterprise adoption. Apple and 3rd party developers are making serious efforts to address those limitations and with BYOD more and more consumers are going to bring their iPad to work whether or not the IT department acknowledges it.
No more status quo
Josh Gingold: It strikes me as unusual that we should even be having this debate since the Windows 8 slate isn't yet on the market for which iPad’s share is already greater than 50%. Nevertheless, this is the mobile showdown that so many (including me) have been waiting for. And although it feels like much more of the same old argument over which is better, Apple or Microsoft, this may be different because so many PC fans are hopeful that the Windows 8 slate may actually have a fighting chance against the iPad juggernaut.
Unfortunately, many IT professionals still maintain an extreme aversion for anything made by Apple, which may be limiting their ability to see past the traditional Windows platform in which they have so much time and energy invested. The work place is changing and most business users don’t really care what IT wants. They want whatever technology they use in their business lives to be the same as what they use in their personal lives. Those types of devices are not replacing PCs but rather extending them through a more versatile form factor.
Interestingly, much of the same criticisms that were first leveled against the iPhone are now translating over to the iPad. But, of course, none of the criticism is actually justified. The iPad has already proven that it can and will be used for business, even if their IT departments don't always like it, and every user I talk to says they’re happy with it. Perhaps more importantly, Apple has planted yet another flag in the enterprise market. Like it or not, it might be time to brush up on Apple products.