Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum
You are right on!
MS hasa way of coming late to the dance and leaving with the Prom Queen -- underestimate them at your own risk.
Excuse me guys, but MS jumped into the so called tablet space in 2001. They've also been heavily been promoting real tablets with Vista and Win 7. So let's not state things incorrectly. They aren't late to the ball, they just been tripping and falling all over the floor, and have gone back to rub their ankles and feet.
MS has major problems when it comes to tablets. Their insistence that they run real Windows programs is the biggie. All other tablet OS companies either don't come from a desktop heritage, or understand that it won't work in the small screen touch space. Not MS, they insist that it's the only way to go.
The question is how does it go? So far it hasn't gone anywhere (ooh, a pun). The problem for MS is that they know quite well that they have a major problem if a new form factor comes out and becomes a major factor in computing, without running legacy programs. One problem MS had while developing Longhorn, we all remember the fiasco with that, right?; was that they tried to insert major new technologies (well, Cairo wasn't new, but it hadn't been used either) while maintaining full backwards compatibility. It failed. Apple had tried that with Copeland in the '90's, and it failed as well, though there were other reasons, in addition.
So if MS were to develop a tablet that didn't run Windows programs, there would be little incentive for their customers to stay with the platform. A survey was done a couple of years ago that basically asked that question when Windows was seen to be having problems. The question to CIO's in major companies was whether they would stay with Windows if MS modernized the platform at the expense of backwards compatibility. The result was that about 50% said they would leave the platform. About half said they would move to the Mac, and the rest to a Linux distro such as Red Hat.
We can see the problem MS has. As far as they're concerned, the name Windows is exceedingly important to them, which is why they call everything by that name, even though most of their products aren't actually Windows products at all.
But in the tablet space, they need actual Windows if they're not going to become a footnote in the future. But there's a disconnect between need and doability (my word). It just isn't easy to do. There is a major conflict between a touch interface and a keyboard/mouse interface. Apple got this, Google had no OS to hold them back, and so they got it. MS hasn't got it yet, and there's a very big question as to whether they can get it.
So while a recent poll has shown that there is a demand for a real Windows tablet, the question is whether MS can deliver on that. I'm not even questioning MS's competence in the area. No doubt they have that competence. But it may not matter. Let's say that they produce a wonderful touch UI for Windows running in the background. How are developers going to react to that? Their programs won't work, either at all, or for the most part. What then?
This is MS's biggest nightmare. If the programs won't work without major reworking, then why bother? Can they come out with an interface that will somehow make the complex Windows UI work on a small, low Rez screen? They haven't been able to do so yet. What can they do to make it so? They seem to be changing the UI entirely, if what they've shown as a possible UI for Windows 8 is real. But it's more like their phone than anything else. How will that work, assuming it's real?
I'm not so optimistic for MS right now, and neither is anyone else. They've certainly got their work cut out for themselves, and their developers who may not play along.