back to article Microsoft: You've got it all WRONG. It's Apple's iPad playing catch-up with our Surface

Microsoft's corporate mouthpiece and score-settler Frank Shaw has launched a war of words against the iPad, saying that compared to the Surface's pricing and productivity potential, Apple's slablet is "playing catch-up". Blogging from Nokia World in Abu Dhabi, Shaw - who is perhaps best known for griping about what he saw as …


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  1. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Reality distortion fields

    At least Apple's reality distortion field consumes a lot less battery capacity than Microsoft's.

    1. Nigel 11

      Re: Reality distortion fields

      Well, Microsoft started the trend of taking the superb (XP UI) and crappifying it (Vista/Win7, Win 8 ). Recent Apple OSX releases haven't been quite up to the standard of previous ones, so maybe they *are* following?

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Reality distortion fields

        Agree Apple are definitely following MS: iOS 7 is definitely from the same school of thought that brought us Windows 8, particularly with respect to its use of off screen menu's that have no visual cue to their presence and the use of distracting and irritating full screen transitions that serve no useful purpose other than to consume processing power and battery...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Reality distortion fields

      And gobbles a lot less of your SSD for the OS.

  2. Kris Whitmore


    I've looked on Amazon but can't find getting the job done by Frank Shaw, maybe he meant figuratively.

    1. Professor Clifton Shallot

      Re: literally

      It literally doesn't matter any more.

      See this and many, many other articles on the OED.

      1. Frumious Bandersnatch

        Re: literally

        Yup. On reading "We literally wrote the book on getting things done" I (literally) just had to come here to see if anyone could provide an ISBN for that.

        1. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

          Re: literally

          Maybe this: 978-0142000281:

          I don't know if this guy ever worked at MS, but I will not be surprised to hear he gave a talk or two at some management offsite. Enough for Frank Shaw to say "we ... wrote the book"?

          I'm outta here - still need to get some things done today...

        2. WatAWorld

          Re: literally

          Try to keep up with the class FB.

          The definition of 'literally' has officially been changed.

      2. Frumious Bandersnatch

        Re: literally

        It literally doesn't matter any more.

        Well you might argue that current usage trumps well-established meaning, but it strikes me as being more than a bit stupid to say that "literally" doesn't really mean that in the context of writing a book. (and yes, I know that he was only using "wrote the book" in the figurative sense, but it doesn't make it any less stupid to add "literally" when "we wrote the book" conveys everything that's needed).

      3. hplasm

        Re: literally


    2. fandom

      Re: literally

      You can find it here

  3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge


    I think you will find they are both playing catch up to the robust, low power, versatile and cheap original tablet - invented by André Cassagnes

    Admittedly its interface is a little tricky to use, but no worse than either Palm or Windows XP tablet edition

    1. Jason Hindle

      Re: Original - I had to look him up

      But it made me smile. Good luck doing circles on the original tablet.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Original - I had to look him up

        I think the difficulty with rounded corners was a patent issue

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Original

      no copy/paste and the apps were a bit weak (no angry birds, but it did have a variant of snake).

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Original

        You could say the same of the first version of a certain fruity product - and that didn't do too badly.

  4. Avatar of They

    I like him,

    ... He cheered me up. Though how anyone as deluded as he is in their view of reality has not been locked away in a wrap around jacket and fluffy walled room is beyond me.

    What an utter tool!

    1. James O'Shea

      Re: I like him,

      He's the Second Coming of Baghdad Bob. Only he's even more out of touch with reality.

      Onwards, Microsoft soldiers!

      1. BorkedAgain

        The Redmond Reality Distortion Field sputters...

        ...and dies.

        No prizes for guessing the colour of the screen...

      2. Adam Nealis

        Re: I like him,

        Just what I was thining, and there was your comment already there...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    As a reseller I have never been asked for a Microsoft Tablet ever.............

  6. localzuk Silver badge

    Is he related to a certain Iraqi?

    Any relation to Comic Ali? There's no tanks here...

    1. Roger Greenwood

      Re: Is he related to a certain Iraqi?

      "The situation is excellent" is my favourite.

      1. Mike Flugennock

        Re: Is he related to a certain Iraqi?

        The delicious irony is that the situation did indeed turn out to be excellent... just not for the Bush Mob.

  7. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    RRDF == Redmond Reality Distortion Field

    Entry level approx 100x that of Apple's RDF.

  8. fishman


    Microsoft makes tablets?

    Who Knew?

    1. c:\boot.ini

      Re: Really?

      and here I was, convinced that they had been in the "tablet" market for 10+ years ... silly me.

  9. John Armstrong-Millar

    Frank inadvertently channelling the "I'm a Mac I'm a PC " Apple ads ..funny

  10. hammarbtyp

    "We literally wrote the book on getting things done."

    Yep that's true. In order to get anything useful done in MS land you needed to read a whole library of books.

    That's why people bought Apple.

  11. N2

    playing catch-up?

    What in exactly? land fill numbers is the only thing that springs to mind

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. Adam Nealis

    And some sour grapes too.

    "The post was titled "Apples and oranges", but he should probably have squeezed a bit of lemon in there too."

    And some sour grapes too.

    1. John H Woods

      Re: And some sour grapes too.


    2. NeilMc

      Re: And some sour grapes too.

      Perhaps since MS acquired Nokia's mobe business there is an opportunity to integrate the two products streams and rebrand.

      What about the Microsoft Lemon?

      It is sour, pithy, makes your eyes water when you part with money or look at someone else with an Apple.

      It performs like a Lemon; built badly on a Friday afternoon when the Roberts on the production line are already dreaming about the first weekend beer or WD40.

      Nah............. that would be too sensible.

      Cogs whir in MS HQ nah feck it lets just retain two competing products lines and self distruct instead!!!!!!!!!!!!

      The new definition of "literally getting things done"............yeah right on man

  14. Mike Flugennock

    They wrote the book on getting things done, alright...

    ...I believe it was Catch 22... or maybe it was One Hundred Years Of Solitude.

  15. hplasm


    ...rivals are now quivering in the shadow of the new Surface machines.

    Trying not to laugh out loud...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Desperate times call for depserate FUD.

    Someone want to tell them my £99 tablet also comes with a free office suite...

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Office = a selling point?

    I'm sure some people use it, but when I left my last job I was happy to get rid of it.

    I remember thinking it was alright back before the ribbon. Actually the version before the menu items that would hide themselves from you.

    Tablets are for reading books and web pages and email and that sort of thing. If you're going to do real work, get a computer. Selling a tablet by saying you can do real work on it is pointless.

    1. Ron Christian

      Re: Office = a selling point?

      Agreed, but Microsoft never really "got" tablets. They've tried in the past to make Windows work on tablets, mostly by repurposing Accessibility features, and it really didn't catch on. (Those of us who had to use it would say "for good reason".) They don't "get" that the tablet is a different kind of device, having a different usage model, and requiring a completely different interface paradigm, and that plus Microsoft's overriding mission to have one single code base for all devices, tends to produce abominations like Windows 8, which is too much touch paradigm for desktop use but not touch paradigm enough for touch devices, causing desktop users to struggle to find mouse workarounds for touch gestures, and for Surface users to struggle to use it on tablets without a keyboard.

      And you can kinda see their predicament. As far as tablets are concerned, Microsoft has nothing to bring to the table. Zip, nada. The entire tablet market does not fit into Microsoft's business model in a fundamental way. Microsoft sells operating systems. On Apple and Android tablets, the operating system is free. Microsoft sells office suites. The tablet usage model lends itself to *viewing* documents, (for which there are various free apps -- I use quickoffice) but not for *creating* documents. Therefore, having Office on a tablet is not a selling point. Which means the Surface needs to be marketed as a mini-laptop, not a tablet. And around in circles it goes.

      Microsoft is really between a rock and a hard place. Apple and Google have positioned the tablet business model to be the antithesis of the Microsoft business model. (Which I'm sure was deliberate.) And this makes it a real struggle for Microsoft to compete in that space.

  18. 22gwr

    Surface, what's that then

    We're resellers and went to check what supply was available in distribution - you know, just incase someone asks us about them:

    Ingram Micro: Nope, but do have some folios

    Tech Data: No Result Found

  19. WatAWorld

    In general journalists unaware of how sycophantic their Apple articles are

    MS should save their ammunition to take shots at Google? Obviously the point has been totally missed by journalists who lack self-awareness.

    The problem is that far too many journalists cover Apple in the most sycophantic manner. Maybe it is fear of being shut out of future Apple launches.

    This is not Apple's fault. It is every marketing department's job to attempt to get the most favorable coverage possible. Attempting to sucker journalists into providing articles that are little more insightful than display ads is the job of every marketing department.

    This is journalists' fault for not doing their jobs.

    Not all journalists, but most of the journalists who work on Apple product releases seem to be total suckers. In this case general failure to mention CPUs, ports, battery replacement options. Failure to compare important product features and specs, focusing only on the product and features and specs Apple tells them to focus on, and failure to evaluate whether the features and specs are useful in any meaningful way.

    In other cases the thickness of desktop monitors, failure to provide for battery replacement, basic simple stuff that it is obvious is important, but sadly too many tech writers are liberal arts grads.

    1. c:\boot.ini

      Re: In general journalists unaware of how sycophantic their Apple articles are

      I agree

      I do not get Apple, the entry level 13" macbook pro with an i7 and SSD (you get yourself) is faster and cheaper than any of the other 13" macbook pros (except the entry level with retina display, $50 dollars more), ok, it does not have a retina display ... but frankly, who cares about Retina except photographers ?

      You can upgrade mem and hard drive (SSD) ... Who are the cretins that buy the Retina display 13", I want to know? I would like to avoid them being hired at my company.

      Tell me, what are you gonna do with a 120Gb pcie SSD - do not tell me they are faster than SATA SSD's, in theory yes, in practice, no.

      As for Surface [pro], I do not see the need. iPad may be cool, although I do not have one and do not plan on buying one, thank you very much (walled garden), android and windows are too buggy ...

  20. Ron Christian

    > We've asked our pals at Apple for a comment, and (when) if they respond we'll update.

    Likely, they'll respond when they finish laughing themselves sick.

    But seriously, these days both parties appear to be living in somewhat of a dream world. Microsoft is still apparently in denial that their cunning plan (of putting a phone OS on the desktop and a keyboard on a slab) hasn't resulted in humongous sales, and Apple seems to think they piss perfume. I think they're both wrong, although Microsoft is more wrong than Apple.

  21. Herby

    If I wanted a laptop...

    ...I'd buy a laptop. NOT a silly surface goodie. By the time you add all the necessary things to make it "laptopable", it ends up being more expansive than a laptop.

    Sorry, the device I want is a simple things that allows me to "consume" information, and the iPad is very good at that. If I want to play solitaire, I can do that as well. I have no need for a flappy, clicky, disconectable keyboard that dancers on board room tables want to play with.

    Of course if I could load Linux on the beast, I might have a different attitude, but there are already android tablets for that function.

    p.s. A touch interface is MUCH different from a mouse interface. Please do take note.

    1. Ron Christian

      Re: If I wanted a laptop...

      I think that touch versions of media creation utilities would work fine, if the companies involved would design the interface appropriately for touch. After all, the mouse apes physical manipulation. Microsoft's early attempts to provide a touch interface had touch gestures aping a mouse which apes physical manipulation. No wonder it sucked.

      For instance, I use Adobe Lightroom a lot. There is no frakking reason why Lightroom couldn't be a completely touch-oriented application. It just needs someone to come up with a reasonable interface. (I'm told that there is an (as in one (1) single) engineer working on this at Adobe.)

      When Lightroom works in some reasonable fashion on a tablet, IOS or Android, I'll dump my Windows laptop and never look back.

  22. Rattus Rattus

    So the problem with an iPad is that it is only a content consumption device and not good for productivity? Tell me, does the Surface still run Windows 8?

    1. hplasm

      Re:Tell me, does the Surface still run Windows 8?

      Up until the next upgrade...

  23. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    So Apple is playing catch-up ?

    That from a company that hasn't had an original idea in its entire existence.

    The mind boggles.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Includes Office 2013 - yeah....

    Maybe Frank Shaw could explain why the 'free' version of Office on the Surface tablets is not licensed for commercial use. To be licence compliant any business buying Surface tablets has to buy another Office licence, which makes a Surface very expensive.

    1. Snapper

      Re: Includes Office 2013 - yeah....

      "Maybe Frank Shaw could explain why the 'free' version of Office on the Surface tablets is not licensed for commercial use. To be licence compliant any business buying Surface tablets has to buy another Office licence, which makes a Surface very expensive."

      You don't think that could be the reason business users aren't buying do you?

      The busiest department in Microsoft must be the unit creating feet with back-lit targets on them. The overtime lately should have been great.

  25. danny_0x98

    When Ever to Say What Ever

    Does any one who cares about Office on a slab or tablet not know it's there on the Surface?

    I would dislike to propagate wrong rumors, but I heard that Surface RT Office is not licensed for work use, which seems both unenforceable and a willful removal from the productivity app category. Either I'm wrong or Mr. Shaw doesn't let fine print get in the way of a pitch. Both could be true.

    Apple still licenses Office compatibility and puts that in Pages, right? So maybe the way to view this is Apple gave Microsoft a chance to stop leaving money on the table through withholding Office from iOS and Microsoft kept saying it's coming, but later. Well fine, Pages won't kill Office, no way, no how, but Office becomes the product that no iPad owner needs because Apple will give away Office compatibility for free to its iOS customers.

    We'll see how it works out, but were I Microsoft's executives, I'd reserve my brags until after the positive results are posted. Though, recent times being a guide, if they are posted. (Side note, the company posted good numbers for last quarter: maybe Apple does not have to lose for Microsoft to win.)

  26. Gradivus

    Lightweight productivity apps?

    Are the iWork apps lightweight? Yes they are, compared to MS Office.

    But.. the iWork apps are perfectly ADEQUATE for the vast majority of people. I've used MS Office for many, many years (I was teaching people to use it for a couple of years) and yet there are loads and loads of features that I never or rarely use. Take Excel Pivot Tables, for example; of the hundreds(?) of people I know at work there is only one, yes only one, who uses pivot tables regularly (and that's mostly to show off!).

    Shaw has missed the point. Apple are providing what the majority of people want - simple, easy-to-use, uncomplicated apps that do the basics competently. Saying they are lightweight is actually a compliment.

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