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back to article Microsoft stands on shore as tablet-laden boat sails away

The good citizens of Britain are still giving Windows 8 and 8.1 fondleslabs a wide berth, official figures from disties has confirmed. More than 596k slate tabs were shipped out to UK resellers and retailers in Q2, up 27.8 per cent year-on-year with the vast majority of them (nearly 406k) were running on Google’s Android …

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Tell it like it is...

"it prefers not to comment on analyst figures, especially ones that don’t fit with its view of the world"

Could not have put it better.

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Unhappy

MS Surface Pro would be my No.1 choice

...if only they were cheaper...

Not really a comparable product to an iPad or Tab more like a MacBook Air.

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Happy

Re: MS Surface Pro would be my No.1 choice

Cheer up @GrumpyWorld, I happen to agree with you on the Surface Pro - a good little device which could (just) replace my laptop ... if only it was cheaper ... [stares wistfully into the distance].

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Re: MS Surface Pro would be my No.1 choice

On the other hand, a similarly specced laptop isn't much cheaper - retina display, SSD, processor, RAM, Docking port etc. but in a laptop shell; you can argue whether touchscreen needs to be in a laptop.

You are in ThinkPad, Lifebook, MacBook Pro, HP Elite or Dell Latitude / XPS territory, none of those come in significantly cheaper.

If you drop retina display, build quality and docking port, then you have a lot of cheaper options...

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Offer and demand

1 : What do MS actually have to offer on a slab that is not already being provide by the others, Apple(IOS) or Google(Android) ?

2 : What demand exists that MS can fullfill.... where is the potential for MS ?

The only valuable product that MS has that the other don't is "MS Office" and since that is now available from the cloud, a la Office 365, they have no leverage.

MS want to compete on all fronts, understandable form a business point of view, and yet they don't seem to want to understand that their offer does not reply to the demand. ( The demand is more fiction that fact as tablets are a marketing success rather than a consumer request).

I believe that MS are still excellent in the workplace but they are simply not capable of / ready for / have not understood the consumer market, Hence poor tablet, phone sales. YMMV

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Offer and demand

1. Its a fully featured OS - not a cut down like Android / IOS. And it runs the millions of Windows applications / drivers - and has full USB support - and can directly drive printers, etc.

2. Certainly there is a growing market for Windows tablets - the main issue is that the tablet specific apps are not there yet. But that's rapidly improving. I would choose a Surface Pro 3 over an iPad (or a MacBook) any day.

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Re: Offer and demand

I have to side with AC.

I have everything in one device. I have a portable tablet, with good inking capabilities, with its proper stylus, not the rubber nipple rubbish iPads and most Androids have to make do with (devices like the Samsung Notes are an Android exception) that runs my apps on the move. Once I am back at my desk, plug it into a dock and with keyboard and external display I have a desktop replacement and still have access to all my data, without having to sync to the cloud first - useful if you are somewhere without networking.

Office might be available on the web, but it is cut down and the iPad and Android versions are pared back and not as easy or flexible to use as the Windows versions.

I don't have a Surface, I have an older Samsung ATIV hybrid from January 2013. With its WACOM digitizer and a proper stylus, it is great for making notes in meetings, then I plug it into the dock in my Office and have OneNot open in one window and prepare reports or presentation in another window all in the form of one device. I never have to worry if my data has been synced or whether I have network access. No matter what I want to do (except compiling (quickly), video editing etc.), I can do it on one device, no swearing that I brought the wrong device with me, or moaning that carrying 2 devices is cumbersome. This is especially useful when working abroad.

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Meh

Re: Offer and demand

To rebut AC's point 1: Does the consumer really care about a"fully featured OS" on a tablet? As long as it can email, watch youtube, post to facebook and play Angry Birds, most non-tech's won't give a fig.

Windows Phone may be slowly gaining traction (I'd like to know the percentages of WinPhones out there bought for business use vs consumer use), but unless some new killer featuer can be found, Microsoft are pretty stuffed on the tablet front.

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Coat

Re: Offer and demand

@RyokuMas a Modern App that emulates XP?

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Re: Offer and demand

Agree with all points but one, WindowsPhone isn't gaining traction.

Latest quarterly figures shows 2.8% worldwide marketshare versus 3.6% a year ago.

The OS marketshare is down pretty much everywhere in Europe, UK, France, Italy and Spain. (German figures aren't available yet).

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Anonymous Coward

Microsofts problem is the OS

Unfortunately for Microsoft their biggest drawback lies in their tablet operating system. A lot of people are upgrading their dusty old PCs and laptops from Windows XP and they want something that replicates the feeling and usability of Windows XP, which Android gives them. Once they start getting malware and they can't explain why that adobe update they downloaded wasn't actually an adobe product despite being signed by them they feel right at home just like they did on Windows XP. Windows 8 is just too secure for your average punter

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Happy

Re: Microsofts problem is the OS

That was actually funny, in a funny way. You put some effort into it, well done.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Microsofts problem is the OS

"Once they start getting malware"

Far more of an issue for Android than Windows these days.

"Windows 8 is just too secure for your average punter"

I think you will find that's one of the main benefits for the average punter...

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"Far more of an issue for Android than Windows these days"

Isn't that an issue only when you accept downloads from unauthorized sources ?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Far more of an issue for Android than Windows these days"

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/07/29/android_fake_id_certificate_chain_bug

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Re: "Far more of an issue for Android than Windows these days"

Of which no instances were found in the APP^H^H^HPlay Store.

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WTF?

Re: "Far more of an issue for Android than Windows these days"

"isn't that an issue only when you accept downloads from unauthorized sources ?"

So to sum up, Android is great because you are not locked into a walled garden, but if you decide to go through the big open gate, it's your own fault if you get mauled to death by lions?

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Re: Microsofts problem is the OS

"Once they start getting malware"

Far more of an issue for Android than Windows these days.

I'll believe the day that I stop getting requests from friends and family to fix their infested Windows machines and start getting such requests for their Android, et al devices instead (of which there are many). Oh and for any of my colleagues to experience this change as well.

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FAIL

I May Not Be Typical

I am trying to understand what unmet needs I have that could be fulfilled by a tablet. So far I have come up with nothing much. Could I drive my photographic scanner, no. Would it be compatible with my printers? Probably not. Could I do photo correction? If I can work on a small screen perhaps but at my age that is an unattractive idea. Would it be more practical at my work station? No.

OK what would it do that I could use?

So far I have found nothing that would answer that question. Perhaps that gives an answer as to why sales of high price tablets are something of a niche activity. Apple appears to own the high end, I guess there are good reasons for that. The other end is possibly made of of don't care devices, as in

'I don't care if this is useful as it is low cost and it might just be a toy',

or

'I don't care if this breaks after a little while as it is cheaper to buy another with probably twice the capability than worry about the few pounds it cost.'

Where is the huge MS size market in this situation?

Their marketing told me Windows 8 was not for me and so far they have doing zero to convince me that a tablet is the slightest use. As for their cousins 'smart phones', when they catch up with the 8 year old phone I use please wake me up. I need proven function not 'dubious features'.

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Re: I May Not Be Typical

Good points. My tablet uses are mostly web browsing, Skype and the Kindle app.

I find 'typing' them on a total pain so I am reduced to point and swipe and therefore I am mostly using the tablet in a more passive manner. Great to read stuff and to watch some videos on YouTube and, er, that's it for me.

I couldn't bear to write serious, or even half serious code on one. As for other day to day computing uses that I use a desktop (or many desktops) for I am not going to replace these machines to hammer databases to look at the racing form for, for example, the third day of Goodwood tomorrow.

Tablets are good but they won't replace the PC here. They'll just become another tool.

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I was very pleasantly surprised...

...when I bought a Dell Venue Pro 11 from the Dell Outlet at a rather fantastic price. Its a great piece of kit and I've discovered that I rather like the Windows 8 interface on a fondle slab. I hate it on a mouse driven PC or laptop though, The price I got it for was in the 'take a punt' area. Not sure I would have at the full retail price.

I find the Venue Pro much more usable for 'real' work than my Android tablet and I'm using it in preference nearly all the time. Battery life is awesome and the speed from the quad core Atom CPU is more than acceptable. I just wish there were a few more and higher quality 'apps' in the store for fondle use. I end up having to resort to the desktop with the optional keyboard dock much of the time due to poor quality apps or the unavailability of them.

Due to it running a full copy of Windows 8.1 Pro it can be fully managed in the domain setting and can run any corporate utility and security software.

I really, really like it much to my surprise. Enough that I'm going to recommend trialling them at work. They could do with a price drop though.

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"I rather like the Windows 8 interface on a fondle slab"

Nobody is criticizing Win8 on finger-driven devices, that is what it was made for.

What people are having trouble with is a finger OS being forced on a proper PC. That does not work.

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Re: I was very pleasantly surprised...

Congratulations, you just bought a netbook.

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Re: I was very pleasantly surprised...

I happen to think that netbooks were a good idea. I really liked mine. A bit too slow unfortunately. This tablet is much, much faster. The Venue 11 has a lot going for it in that its not an iPad, more useful than my Asus Transformer TF101 for actual work use in that it runs Office properly and stuff like Cisco VPN, can join a domain and can be managed by Enterprise software. It is much faster than the old netbooks and has a massive battery life. It also has a fairly good touch interface and a active stylus for note taking.

What's wrong with any of that ?

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Re: "I rather like the Windows 8 interface on a fondle slab"

I believe thats what I said. I like it on a fondle slab but hate it on a mouse driven laptop or desktop.

You need a choice. Why not have full fondle interface on a tablet and a start menu with Metro apps in floating windows for laptops/desktops. How about a check box to switch between the two modes ? Not a big deal for MS to provide that. Maybe they'll come to their senses and do that in Windows 9.

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Microsoft... just stop it!

You won't win this way.

Tablets have little must-have functionality they are a (fun and useful) toy. Nobody wants a toy that reminds them of their day at the office, and the very name "Windows" does that.

If MS wants to take the tablet market they have to do it by inertia: lots of Windows laptops with detachable screens and some serious power reduction on intel (or more a flip-switch to "tablet mode running ARM").

If I were them, I'd be investing in ARM co-processor tech, where tablet-type apps run and sync on both intel and ARM processors on the same hardware. Is that you, AMD? Atom would probably be easier, but I doubt it would ever be cheap enough to be viable. Perhaps if Intel put an atom on an i7 die... [dreams...]

Personally I think PC hardware needs a shake-up. I want low-power server tech combined with a high-power client. Don't attach disk directly to the client, let it run off a virtual 10G/ethernet link to a "server." Any reason not to have an atom motherboard with an i7 on a PCIex16 Gen3 card? There probably is, but that's what I'd like.

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Anonymous Coward

Feature? Or drawback?

The thing I don't get about Windows 8 and Microsoft tablets - They keep pushing the fact its a full fat OS as an advantage over ipad or Android. Surely thats a disadvantage on a tablet? It just means lots more background services running that are of no use to me and eat unnecessary processor cycles and maH's. On a tablet, I need a web browser and media playback, nothing more.

If I need more that that, it means I'm doing some real work. Which needs suitable input devices - a keyboard and a mouse. And a bigger screen. And a meaty processor. And more memory. Which means a laptop.

Just because you can combine things doesn't mean you should, and it doesnt make them better. I really don't care how many millions you spend telling me how good your combined carving knife and toothbrush is, simple common sense says I'm not sticking it anywhere near my mouth.

The Microsoft Surface is like someone has kept the Ferrari Forumla 1 team drunk on meths for a week, and then given them an artic lorry to play with. As clever as it is, I really don't see the need for a lorry that can haul fourteen tons, do 0-60 in 2.8 seconds, and produce enough downforce to drive upside down on the roof of a tunnel. Whilst its an interesting engineering exercise, its completely impractical and completely fucking bonkers. Its the answer to a question that no one is asking.

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Opinion

Microsoft Surface bomb
Killer whale

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No, silly... he was the fall guy for years of Finnish folly
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Frodo and the Ring
Microsoft's strategy is to make Store apps popular. Good luck with that