I wasn’t sure what to expect when I asked Jobs’ longtime rival, Bill Gates, what he thought of the iPad. After all, Gates has been a proponent of tablet computers for years, and he was in awe of the iPhone when it first came out. But the iPad? Gates told me he isn’t sold.
“You know, I’m a big believer in touch and digital reading, but I still think that some mixture of voice, the pen and a real keyboard – in other words a netbook – will be the mainstream on that,” he said. “So, it’s not like I sit there and feel the same way I did with iPhone where I say, ‘Oh my God, Microsoft didn’t aim high enough.’ It’s a nice reader, but there’s nothing on the iPad I look at and say, ‘Oh, I wish Microsoft had done it.'”
Microsoft has tried and failed with the Tablet PC since 2001 which of course makes Bill Gates an expert in predicting the success of the iPad. The iPad like the iPhone will succeed because it breaks away from the conventional PC’s in a way that opens up new possibilities in computing. Mimicking old technology, just gets you more of the same.
Microsoft has failed with the Tablet PC because of their inability to break away from its legacy items: Windows, keyboards, and the stylus. Even their new phone is called the “Windows” Phone.
To me, Microsoft is one of the most disappointing companies around. All these years they should have pushing the envelope of computing and making products so great that they make us forget about Windows. Not because Windows is bad, but because Windows shouldn’t be the end all and be all of computing.