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Bill Gates: “Frustrated” iPad and Android tablet users will switch to Surface

Sam Loveridge by

Microsoft Surface Pro
Microsoft Surface Pro

Bill Gates has taken a swipe at the functionality of Android tablets and the Apple iPad and predicts that the majority will switch to Microsoft Surface products as they are “frustrated”.

Speaking in an interview with CNBC, the Microsoft co-founder said many iPad and Android tablet users are “frustrated” by the limitations of their devices, especially the lack of Microsoft Office.

Three years ago, Gates said “there’s nothing on the iPad I look at and say “Oh I wish Microsoft had done it”, but with iPad sales already surpassing 141 million since the original Apple slate launched in April 2010 it does seem like Gates is a little bitter.

“With Windows 8, Microsoft is trying to gain market share in what has been dominated by the iPad-type device. But a lot of those users are frustrated. They can’t type. They can’t create documents. They don’t have Office there,” said Gates in the interview.

However, Gates implied that these frustrations will be great enough to cause users to switch to the Microsoft Surface or Microsoft Surface Pro tablets.

With the Microsoft tablets, Gates said “we’re providing them something with the benefits they’ve seen that has made that a big category but without giving up what they expect in a PC.”

Running Windows 8, the Microsoft Surface Pro is still not yet available in the UK, but it and other Windows 8 products have made it “harder and harder to distinguish products whether they’re tablets or PCs.”

“Windows 8 is revolutionary in that it takes the benefits of a tablet and the benefits of a PC, and it’s able to support both of those – so if you have Surface or Surface Pro, you’ve got that portability of the tablet but the richness in terms of the keyboard, Microsoft Office of a PC.”

According to an IDC report earlier this month, despite Android overtaking iOS in the tablet OS market for the first time, Q1 2013 saw Microsoft take fifth place.

Shipping over 900,000 Microsoft Surface RT and Microsoft Surface Pro units for the first three months of this year meant that Microsoft earned itself a top five position for the first time.

Want to see how the Microsoft and Apple slates line up in a fight? Read our Apple iPad vs Microsoft Surface opinion piece.

Go to comments

Tim Jordan

May 7, 2013, 4:01 pm

Maybe Windows can not fit on a sleek tablet. Maybe Windows requires more space, fans and more hardware which will make them heavy and large with poor battery life. Maybe that is why Microsoft is throwing in the towel on tablets.


May 7, 2013, 5:02 pm

Actually everything you're mentioned there is the fault of Intel/AMD and x86/x64 processors. They're the power hungry hot devils causing the need for larger heat dissipation solutions.

Microsoft's own failings come into this by their decision to gimp Windows RT rather than make the whole of Windows 8 work on ARM. To a certain extent I can see why they did it (you can't run x86 programs natively on ARM) but they could have handled it better maybe?

Intel is getting better at reducing thermal output as a reaction to ARM nipping at their heels, but they're starting to really feel the heat (pun intended) now that "thin", "light", "silent/fanless" and "powerful" are being required at the same time and x86 processors just can't do that currently...

The Surface Pro is a chunky hot beast with piss-poor battery life because of the processor, not Windows 8 itself per se.

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