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back to article Microsoft admits it's '18 months behind' with Windows 8 slabs

Microsoft's touchy Surface tablet and the wider family of the Windows 8 and 8.1 OEM "ecosystem" are 18 months behind where it "wants them to be", but they will soon start to put the clamps on the iPad, a Microsoft UK director is claiming. There are now plenty of touch-enabled slabbies in the UK supply chain, something that …

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What is he taking???

Struth, the Microsoft coffee must have something else added to it: blind optimism.

Oh, I know the next upgrade: faith!

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Headmaster

Re: What is he taking??? He is referring to the fact that the OEMs are about.........

..........a year to eighteen months behind when it comes to producing on the mass market scale Win 8 (in other words x86) tablets and laptops. This is of course because they have an eighteen month to two year purchase/production cycle for the "bits" that make up their hardware products and they wanted to foist on the general public as much of their out of date hardware as they could before they actually started producing hardware equipped with touch-screens in genuinely mass market numbers. Whether not he is whistling in the dark as far as any success for these devices when they at last come on the market during the last third of 2013 remains to be seen.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What is he taking???

I don't have a prob;lem with faith... but this looks more like wilful self-delusion.

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Windows

Re: What is he taking???

"the Microsoft coffee must have something else added to it: blind optimism"

Maybe it's just Windex...

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"The iPad will be marginalised..."

"...by Android devices. Meanwhile, Win8 devices are hoping to compete with Blackberry tablets."

Or is making hilarious claims the only way MS can think of to get publicity these days?

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Re: "The iPad will be marginalised..."

Given that the CEO of BB has killed the playbook and stated he thinks tablets are a passing fad we probably won't see a playbook 2 so all RT has to do is not get canceled to beat that.

The problem with RT is thta people get their hands on it and want the full fat windows experience. Why would you ever bother with RT when the pro is out there? I know its cheaper but the restrictions placed on it and the software it is allowed to run aren't worth the price you have to pay.

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Re: "The iPad will be marginalised..."

I can only imagine MS tried to copy the reality distortion field but something went horribly wrong in the process, leaving them not only believing but hopelessly committed to their own hype.

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Re: "The iPad will be marginalised..."

It's clear they have gone and installed the reality distortion field backwards, now they think Windows 8 is great and they are going to squash Apple.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "The iPad will be marginalised..."

Remember how microsoft was going to crush the iPOD with zune? Remember that microsoft had a phone OS long before apple did? Remember when microsoft was pushing tablets before apple made one? So where does this late to market come from?

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There is plenty of HW in the supply chain now

That's an interesting way to twist, "No one is buying anything" still I guess you always have to look for a positive angle.

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Meh

Hmmm

...they will soon start to put the clamps on the iPad v1

There- that's more like it.

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Anonymous Coward

Yeah right

So if they are 18 months behind, then the competition has to sit on their hands for them to catch up.

What Microsoft forget was that in the 1990's they had no real competition, however now they have two companies that are trying to out innovate each other thus they are not going to sit on their hands.

They had a chance to to blow everyone away with the original surface launch but they released RT which has been panned (having used one it was not nice), that has damaged the brand. They don't need to catch up they need to do something mind blowing that makes the surface a must have. The last time they did that was with Bill Gates at the helm with Windows 95 and NT 4 it's been a slow decline ever since.

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First to market - rubbish

Windows tablets came out and failed years before the iPad.

Or do they mean the Newton? But that's a smaller form.

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Anonymous Coward

If they really want to compete, dropping the bullshit merchants and concentrating their energy on making windows 8 properly compelling would be a good start.

But it's far easier to bullshit, isn't it? Pathetic.

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What took them so long?

> people want to be "productive at work, to be able to print and have a keyboard".

Sounds like they've just reinvented the laptop. If you want a keyboard, the absolute worst place to put it is on the screen - the small, expensive and in entirely the wrong place for typing - screen.

The whole tablet format is focussed on media consumption, not creating stuff. How I laugh when I see otherwise credible employees trying to type one-fingered on the screens of their trendy tablets, when the new kid with a PC (who is at the bottom of the pecking order, so doesn't warrant interesting work toys) can run rings round them in speed and accuracy.

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Thumb Up

Re: What took them so long?

Want to read/watch/listen to stuff - get a tablet. Want to do serious work - get a laptop.

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FAIL

Re: What took them so long?

> The whole tablet format is focussed on media consumption, not creating stuff.

Having had an iPad in the family for a couple of months now, I have to agree. The tablet is really nothing but a console game with a good built-in screen. The only professional applications that makes sense are those where you mainly need to look up information, and maybe tick a few boxes. (I hear some realtors have taken to using them for looking up information on location with clients). Writing with the thing is really painful. Personally, I feel most laptop keyboards are also painful, but not nearly as much.

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Re: What took them so long?

Possibly, re the keyboard. But their phones should have some clever mechanism for getting the right driver from the app store (or whatever they call it) for a printer you select on the network. PDF as email attachment to my phone -> print. They've unified the kernels, so I assume this is possible.

And would be amazing.

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Re: What took them so long?

"I feel most laptop keyboards are also painful"

When I try to do real work on mine I always use the wireless keyboard from my desktop PC. Laptop keyboards are just crap. Test still preferable to the onscreen keyboard on tablets.

... though I am enjoying the new Google keyboard on my phone. Can't imagine using the slide mode would be as useful on a much larger pad screen though.

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WTF?

Re: What took them so long?

>> people want to be "productive at work, to be able to print and have a keyboard".

>Sounds like they've just reinvented the laptop. If you want a keyboard, the absolute worst place to put it is

>on the screen - the small, expensive and in entirely the wrong place for typing - screen.

That's what bluetooth is for...

I sit down with a tablet on a stand, pull out the BT keyboard and type away quite happily.

I can even plug in a mouse for the odd occasion I need one (think remote desktop etc).

So my "laptop" has an excellent screen, a 90% sized keyboard (that folds up nice and small) and the two aren't tied together to the point that my screen is too low and too close for comfort.

It also has an 8-12 hour battery life without the excessive cost associated with "ultra book" labels... With modern network printers there is no problem there either...

My wife, an author, has used her iPad exclusively for 6-9 months. They really are usable as productivity devices - assuming you add the correct peripherals.

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Re: What took them so long?

You can also almost image the shocked look on his face when someone tells him that it's actually possible to buy keyboard cases/covers for iPads, in a fairly similar style to that on the Surface...

So there goes another reason to buy a Surface over anything else (given Android has similar cases too, and the damn things are mainly Bluetooth anyway so almost any wireless keyboard will do in practice), and given some of the reports about the quality of the MS covers and their wearing out very quickly they might even be a longer-lasting option for the Surface than the MS wrapper.

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Re: What took them so long?

And want to do SERIOUS serious work - get a desktop. (25 inch screen, or maybe two, proper full-depth keyboard).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What took them so long?

And if you want to do anything compute intensive... get a desktop. Yes, a medium range crufty old desktop computer still beats single handed the most powerful and thus heavier and more inconvenient laptops.

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"assuming you add the correct peripherals"

At which point it doesn't really resemable a tablet any more but a (expensive) laptop that wasn't put together properly.

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I really hate to say this...

But he might be right. For the wrong reasons.

Right now consumers are looking at £400 laptops or £400 tablets, deciding to keep their old £400 laptop and buy a tablet because it's more portable and practical when what you want to do is take something with you when you travel that will allow you to do a bit of light web surfing, watch something or read a book/magazine.

The way the PC hardware environment develops, in 12-18 months your £400 device will be a laptop with a touch screen that will either fold flat or be completely removable to give you both options in one package. At that point, I expect most consumers will opt for one of those instead of the two separate devices, or (more likely), they'll buy one because it's the £400 option and everything in that price bracket is the same thing. At that point, the "standalone tablet" will start to decline again - not many people will buy a tablet device if their laptop converts into one.

What MS should be doing is setting up their OS to default to "tablet mode" when the device is just a screen and "desktop mode" when the device is docked as well as encouraging developers to make their applications behave appropriately depending on the OS mode. That's a lot of work, but it will give the users the best experience.

Who am I kidding? MS don't want to give the users the best experience, they want the users to give them all of their money. Maybe it won't happen after all.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I really hate to say this...

'Who am I kidding? MS don't want to give the users the best experience, they want the users to give them all of their money. '

Thing Apple figured out they they haven't is if you do the former, the latter happens organically.

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Re: I really hate to say this...

I thought the Apple way was to give one single experience on one hardware platform and sneer at all others.

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WTF?

Re: I really hate to say this...

'Who am I kidding? MS don't want to give the users the best experience, they want the users to give them all of their money. '

Thing Apple figured out they they haven't is if you do the former, the latter happens organically.

Oh yes, the maps fiasco, recent updates killing hardware, price fixing court cases etc etc. Definitely giving users the BEST experience!

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18 Months behind?

Where do they think the competition will be in a year from now? Either they have a fantastic new idea to leapfrog the competition or they will be playing catch-up for ever.

Only way they can make any significant sales short term is drop the price dramatically. However predatory pricing and dumping will get them in other trouble.

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Re: 18 Months behind?

And these are presumably Microsoft months, from the same timepiece as the Microsoft seconds and minutes you see when transferring files or downloading stuff. You know, the ones that are 3-10x as long as those on anyone elses watch.

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FAIL

Re: 18 Months behind? @Roger

> 18 Months behind? Where do they think the competition will be in a year from now?

So you are saying that FirefoxOS and all other non-IOS/Android systems have no future because the game is already over? Oh, Please.

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Linux

Re: 18 Months behind?

"And these are presumably Microsoft months, from the same timepiece as the Microsoft seconds and minutes you see when transferring files or downloading stuff. You know, the ones that are 3-10x as long as those on anyone elses watch." --

I have given up trying to copy anything using Windows 7, I just get "preparing ..." for about an hour and then it will copy the 2MB I asked it to. It is usually quicker for me to reboot into Linux and copy stuff that way, not sure how $MS managed to completely break the copy dialogue/mechanism, but it is broken.

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And a midstream reorg will help

them zune to the top.

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Linux

"Microsoft admits it's '18 months behind' with Windows 8 slabs" -- and continues to ignore the Elephant in the room.

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looking at £400 laptops or £400 tablets, deciding to keep their old £400 laptop

Surely they are comparing £400 laptops with £200 tablets and keeping their old laptop?

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Saw my first surface in the wild yesterday

One of my clients showed me his surface pro yesterday - the chap was really happy with it, he had an Ipad but it just did not do what he wanted.

It seems fashionable to moan at MS here , but I quite like what they've done, a very portable device, that has is pen enabled and you can run full office, acad etc. It was a bit bigger than I expected - but is running full ultrabook spec.

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Re: Saw my first surface in the wild yesterday

Right. AutoCAD on a 10" screen. Are you 'avin a laugh? Office is hard enough to use on such a small screen.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Saw my first surface in the wild yesterday

He didn't say anything about AutoCAD, where did you get that from? AutoCAD wouldn't be usable on a generic ultrabook either.

I quite like the idea of an ultrabook spec tablet, I have my workstation with large monitors for the tasks it's suited for and I'd quite like a surface pro, or some such device, to be used out of the house or for casual surfing.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Saw my first surface in the wild yesterday

What do you think acad stand for, All Computer Apps Dead?

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FAIL

On this subject, have a look at Outlook.com...

... every advert served there at the moment is for a Surface RT (maybe even a Surface too).

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Meh

Re: On this subject, have a look at Outlook.com...

1. Didn't notice the ads (sorry, couldn't resist).

2. Maybe nobody else will pay for ads on outlook.com

3. I am enjoying marking all emails pushing MS products (skype etc) as junk.

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Re: On this subject, have a look at Outlook.com...

sounds like MS is abusing their monopoly position - better get them up in the EU doc with google!

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they need a proper tablet OS

windows 8 may be crap if you're not using a tablet, but MS also don't seem to have realised it's crap if you've got a tablet too. why on earth would tablet users want to have to go into "windows mode" with cmd.exe and regedit whenever they need to do anything complex. RT truly is the worst of both worlds - doesn't run windows applications but half of it still has UI legacy from windows 95. If you're going to make an OS that's not compatible with existing windows apps, at least start form a clean slate

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Anonymous Coward

Re: they need a proper tablet OS

Simple, they see that a tablet machine like an iPad is too crippled for business use.

If you want to quickly create or port applications without going through an app store then Windows tablets are more suitable than an iPad?

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Print

Agree with that.

Although the iPad is a consumption device first, you can use it for some productivity - it's great for email for example, and you can get by on Pages and Keynote in a real pinch for some reason.

But printing is a big miss. I know AirPrint is an option, but they should have figured something better out. No reason the iPad couldn't connect to a network printer which has OSX drivers; iOS is built on OSX after all.

File system access (network shares) would be good too. I know they don't want that, but between that and printing, I think they would be assured of at least medium term victory over MS at least. Android's the danger.

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Holmes

Re: Print

Check out Lantronix Xprintserver.

Or run airprint services on windows or linux (or mac) computers

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Pricing is key...

you have to be twice as good as your competitor, or half the price...

Im a big windows fan... tried the rest, and for everything I need to do, this is where I am most comfortable, 12" i7 laptop for most of my uses - 16GB ram and 8hours on the battery allows me most freedoms, I have a cheap Chinese Android tab I picked up for £150 a few years back (dual core cpu, ipad2 IPS screen, aluminium case, 16gb storage) that's now gathering dust, If I was to buy another tablet, what would I get?

lets look at the choices...

Android £150 good app support

iPad £400 good app support & excellent 3rd party hardware support

Win RT £300 poor app support...

If RT had the power and ability to run legacy windows software it would be more compelling, yes its built pretty well but after trying metro titles on the desktop (touch and non) I just couldnt live with the current software crop.

or another way - if I was being given a tablet for free, it would be the iPad...

Make a less exoticly manufactured Surface RT, bang it out for about £170 and Id buy one... the manufacturing is there to make quality tablets at that pricepoint

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Re: Pricing is key...

Yes, the Chipads are quite poor in general, although things have changed a lot in the last couple of years, heck in the last couple of months....

I have a Chinese GoogleTV stick that has turned my TV into a smart TV for £50...

At work I use a laptop in the office and a tablet in the field (I can fit all the manuals, firmware and drivers for our devices and software on a 32Gb MicroSD card). At a pinch, I can even read manuals on my phone (XperiaZ)

I take the laptop, but it has mostly stayed in the car boot for the last 3months or so.

At home I use a tablet, as does my wife.

I have actually written a couple of articles on a Samsung 10" tablet with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse.

The consumer market is going to tablets, phones and smart TVs etc.

The business market is following for some users, the rest are clinging to the remaining windows7 desktop PCs and their trusty notebooks (paper type).

Chromebooks are doing surprisingly well, win8 tries to push the cloud at every opportunity.

MS isn't dead yet, but the writing is on the wall.

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Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

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frogs

"El Chan is not sure possibilities can be leapfrogged"

The possibilities were doing the leapfrogging, not being leapfrogged. Its the best vapourware feature set ever seen :-)

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