Microsoft’s chief strategy officer thinks the iPad is just a fad

By Tom Warren, on 31st Mar 11 9:33 pm with 30 Comments

Microsoft’s Craig Mundie, global chief research and strategy officer, isn’t sure whether Apple’s iPad is here to stay or not.

“I don’t know whether the big screen tablet pad category is going to remain with us or not,” said Mundie in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald. Mundie believes the smartphone “as it emerges more will become your most personal computer”, while laptops would become a “portable desk”.

“Mobile is something that you want to use while you’re moving, and portable is something that you move and then use. These are going to bump into one another a little bit and so today you can see tablets and pads and other things that are starting to live in the space in between. Personally I don’t know whether that space will be a persistent one or not.”

Mundie’s comments come at a time when Apple’s iPad device is selling extremely well in the market. Microsoft has started its own advertising blitz featuring the Asus Eee Slate. Steve Ballmer recently showed his own personal Eee Slate device during a speech at Microsoft’s Imagine 2011 conference earlier this week.

Microsoft’s advertizing blitz follows the introduction of Apple’s newest iPad. Apple’s latest iPad 2 features a dual-core CPU, 9x faster graphics and is slimmer and lighter than the previous generation. The company has also included front and rear cameras for use with FaceTime. Microsoft’s hardware partners have slowly been producing iPad rivals. Samsung unveiled its Sliding PC 7 series Windows 7 Slate hybrid at CES earlier this year. The device features Intel’s 1.66GHz Z670 Oak Trail processor, 10.1″ touchscreen, 32GB SSD and 2GB of RAM. The tablet ways just 2.1 pounds and will retail in March for $699. The iPad currently retails at $499 and sold three million units in its first 80 days of release. The iPad is currently selling approximately 4.5 million units per quarter, Bernstein Research estimates.

Microsoft Chairman, Bill Gates, said earlier last year that the company has a lot of different tablet projects it is pursuing. Microsoft canceled their internal Courier project shortly after the release of the iPad. The project was an innovative new tablet concept that had promised to combine a dual screen book design with finger and stylus input. The leaked promotional materials demonstrated various concepts that would have brought an unparalleled productivity tool to the market. Most media outlets and analysts felt the move to cancel the device was a mistake.

Dell also unveiled a hybrid “touch and type” Windows 7 Slate device in late November. The device currently retails at at $549 in U.S. stores. Microsoft rarely acknowledges the iPad or its sales influence. Windows general product manager Gavriella Schuster previously admitted that netbooks running Windows are “definitely getting cannibalised” by the iPad.

Microsoft is waiting for Windows 8 until it unveils its full Slate strategy. However, the company may introduce Windows 8 ARM based tablets ahead of a full desktop release. Microsoft’s competitive tablet strategy is believed to be further along than expected. Dell’s recently leaked Tablet Roadmap revealed that the OEM has marked Q1 2012 as its date for a Windows 8 based slate. WinRumors understands that Microsoft has been working on an ARM based version of Windows for nearly a year and that it is laboring hard to bring this to the market as soon as possible.

  • http://twitter.com/Cody_Langman Cody Langman

    The iPad as a “fad,” What? I may not purchase Apple products and be considered a Microsoft fanboy, but the iPad is more than a “fad.”

    • http://twitter.com/arnehelseth Arne Helseth

      Did you even bother to read the article? Fad was paraphrased incorrectly and most likely used in the headline to grab the attention of readers.

  • http://twitter.com/bc3tech Brandon

    sounds an awful lot like how they said the “iPhone would never catch on” – and this, my friends, is why MS’s leadership should all be fired. The lack of urgency w.r.t. mobile. Pi$$es me off.

    • Anonymous

      The title of the article is quite misleading. Read the quote

  • Bburke33609

    The quote doesn’t say anything about it being a fad. What I read in this article was that he said form factors are in a state of flux which I would say is true.

    • trashoner

      +1
      I agree with you here.

    • trashoner

      +1
      I agree with you here.

    • Anonymous

      I read the headline and read the whole article and went back to his quote trying to find out where does it says the iPad is just a fad to no avail. I Was even looking for the word iPad but all he mentions is Pads… common Tom, we already have enought snarky comments coming from other techblogs to find this type of misleading headline here…

  • Anonymous

    You know whats funny, every person i’ve seen with an ipad now carries around a keyboard and flip top kick stand. May as well carry a notebook or convertable tablet/thin laptop.

    I also think Balmer may be proven right especially if they can pull off a tablet design without fragmenting between a thick and thin os like OSX vs iOS. I think the biggest problem with tablets is simply their “super size phone” ideology and that is why i won’t get one.

    • http://twitter.com/arnehelseth Arne Helseth

      I agree completely. The only reason I still don’t own one is because it’s basically a supersized phone.
      I have great hope that Windows 8 will fix this problem, especially so if they merge Windows “proper” and Windows Phone into a single codebase running on ARM.

    • Shiro

      My neighor is a total apple fan. He had the same complaint about this iPad. He said it was just a bigger version of his iPhone. So he ended up stop using his iPad as much because he would rather use his phone.

    • http://twitter.com/Polychromenz Tony Gorham

      I agree somewhat but we have an iPad and its great to surf while watching TV. Sits on coffee table and is goto device for resolving rows etc. No really practical use and I wish I hadn’t sold my netbook. At least on that I could write blogs in the lounge – not somethijng to try on an iPad trust me ;)

  • Anonymous

    You know whats funny, every person i’ve seen with an ipad now carries around a keyboard and flip top kick stand. May as well carry a notebook or convertable tablet/thin laptop.

    I also think Balmer may be proven right especially if they can pull off a tablet design without fragmenting between a thick and thin os like OSX vs iOS. I think the biggest problem with tablets is simply their “super size phone” ideology and that is why i won’t get one.

  • http://twitter.com/thesecondsfade David Lee

    Well it’s definately not just a fad, but it’s an appealing device if you want to be connected, but don’t want to carry around a bulky laptop. iPad is basically just a large iPhone… so differentiating by using a full OS like Windows 8 would probably do well in the tablet market. Microsoft would just need to make sure it’s catered to a touch-screen environment and easy to use.

  • http://twitter.com/LuckyLuxy Spencer Luxford

    If he is Microsoft’s chief strategy officer, Microsoft are in REAL trouble! Jeez, the amount of people I know, family, friends, my PARENTS friends, who normally would NEVER dream of buying a tablet, have bought an iPad and it has become their MAIN computing device!

    • Anonymous

      I guess you always go about what you read in the headline, he did make a good argument and didn’t even cross the line of dismising pads completely.

  • bernard

    I think the correct statement should be “slates are a fad”. They are a gimmick that will wear off pretty quickly. Convertible tablets (either twist or slide) are the future: the best of both worlds. Just gotta get their weight down to slate levels.

  • Veritas06

    II would definitely have to agree with him on that one. The iPad is something I would never have a use for that my phone or laptop couldn’t do as well. Maybe a laptop that has a screen that snaps off to become a tablet would be ok. The iPad just isn’t functional enough for me at this time.

  • http://twitter.com/oolong2 oolong2

    I think the idea of an iPad as your “central device” is definately a fad… It’s not going to replace your laptop and it’s not going to replace you mobile phone. XBox and Wii sell really well too. It doesn’t mean they are the next evolution of the “PC”.

    Your mobile phone is going to get powerful enough to replace your laptop, all it needs is the right OS and interface.

    If Apple used Max OSX instead of iOS we would be having a different conversation, but as of now an iPad is more of an a toy or an accessory, not an essential tool.

    That said MS REALLY needs to move those research items like Surface, Courier, and Gustav into the mainstream. They spend like 2 or 3 times as much on R&D as Apple does but hardly any of their innovations go mainstream.

  • Clarky

    People will look back at us and remember the overly large tablets we had.

  • Datdamonfoo

    Sounds like the headline was ripped straight from macrumors, and has nothing to do with the article.
    I would expect this from an apple-fanboy site, but not from here.

  • Theo

    Oh! Give me a break Microsoft! It is coming from the company which is so behind on EVERYTHING mobile! Even RIM has a tablet. These dumb holes leadership killed of all the good ideas. If they were so smart, why didn’t they come up something like iPad!? Let’s face it, if Microsoft cames out the exact product like iPad, people would camp out the stores to get it, this overpaid MS dude would sing another tune. He should be fired at the spot. Maybe MS stock will finally go up like 2% in a month.

    • http://twitter.com/moonmantweets moonman

      1. Read the article.
      2. Realise how stupid your comment was.

  • http://www.timacheson.com/ Tim Acheson

    Microsoft have a valid point. Despite all the hype, it is possible to get some perspective if you choose to be rational about it. Microsoft’s Kinect device sold twice as fast as iPad, and they dominate in almost every other area too for instance owning about 90% of the PC market.

    If tablets ever do become very important, it’s clear that Microsoft will dominate the tablet market:
    http://www.timacheson.com/Blog/2011/jan/windows_will_dominate_tablets

  • Khinzaw

    This, FAD, is just the author’s opinion, there is nothing in what Craig Mundie had said. I respect for the author has gone down a notch.

    • Mcooke

      He actually said it in a radio interview with the ABC

  • Khinzaw

    This, FAD, is just the author’s opinion, there is nothing in what Craig Mundie had said. I respect for the author has gone down a notch.

  • Anonymous

    I love my iPad. Believe me, it’s not a fad and I think the form factor is here for a long time.

  • John Black 247

    Poor reporting using a lousy headline… don’t make up stuff!

  • Anonymous

    LOL, be envious?
    I don’t think so, just read some news that Apple iPad 2 tops tablet ratings by Consumer Reports, and 2.6M iPad 2s shipped in March!
    Have to say, Apple win again! And I believe it’s iPad year, this 2011~ See how many folks are on iPading everytime!

    BTW: Now Im on my iPad movies watching…
    Watch and get Free movies on iPad, Tips here http://www.ifunia.com/ipad-column/index.html