Microsoft’s Tablet Marketing Woes Continue to Show How Little They Get It

Mary Jo Foley is linking to some slide assets from Microsoft that are intended to show Microsoft partners how to stem the tide of the iPad and other Tablets coming down the pike. Yeah, I know this might all be too little too late, but even more troubling, as well as more predictable, Microsoft proves that its own folks don’t get what they could have had as a key difference maker. Yeah, that would be digital inking.You could argue that this is intended for the lucrative enterprise market and so there’s no reason for that. If that’s the case, I’d tell you you are missing the boat as much as Microsoft is.

Go ahead, take a look at the ten slides. Then come back.

OK, now you’re back, and I’m guessing your forehead is as red as mine from smacking it as much as I did. There is one mention of digital inking, but it focuses on handwriting recognition. Does it make you wonder if anyone at Microsoft uses or has ever used OneNote on a Tablet PC? Ever? (Besides the OneNote team.) Set aside the overhead that Windows brings to the table. Set aside that Microsoft still can’t come up with a Touch UI that works on small devices (beyond phones and Zunes). Set aside the fact the world gave up on handwriting recognition when Microsoft folded its tent. Bottom line here, Microsoft never had a clue as to what it could have offered and still doesn’t.

13 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    01/25/2011 at 3:51 pm

    I don’t get the rant this time.

    Sure digital inking is an underhyped feature, but here MS is trying to explain vendors how to divert enterprises from the ipad. And as much as inking is nice and touch UIs cool, there are more basic and important things for a business environment, which the ipad lacks and PCs, in any form factor, get.
    Customers should be aware of those, and it has nothing to do with future plans.

    This “MS never had a clue” – “they don’t get it” etc. thing is getting out of proportion.

    Reply

    • Tom

      01/30/2011 at 4:20 am

      Money talks. Apple makes zillions of dollars on iPad, so nobody cares that we’re taking a giant leap backward in terms of functionality.

      Go to the gadget blogs and you’ll find the teenagers ridiculing anyone who dares to suggest that tablets can be used to take notes and draw things and do other precise work.

      They think we’re driving Model T’s. They’re so taken in by the hype that they don’t understand how some people actually *prefer* to have a pen. Not because we like being tied to a pen, but because we want the *option* of being able to ink.

      Reply

  2. Jnjroach

    01/25/2011 at 3:57 pm

    Warner – Has an IT trainer/consultant working exculively with Enterprise Customers who is also a Tablet Junkie (M200, M400, X61T, X200T, W105 and HP Slate 500) this deck speaks to the concerns of the CIO/IT Manager crowd and Slide 5 show the Pen has one of the features over the IPad…

    http://www.zdnet.com/photos/microsofts-ipad-battle-plan-for-partners/6188774?seq=5&tag=mantle_skin;content

    Reply

  3. ian.aldrighetti

    01/25/2011 at 4:22 pm

    I don’t think Microsoft “doesn’t get it” just because of these slides necessarily. That’s like saying Apple doesn’t get it when they don’t use the latest technology in their products even though they act as though they are on the cutting edge. Apple acts as though their new product is the greatest thing ever.

    Guess what they say when the next version of the same product comes out? The older one wasn’t very good, but this one is so much better “and I think you’re just gonna love it.”

    What I am getting at is Microsoft *probably* gets it, it is just that right now Windows 7 is all they have to work with right now, until Windows 8.

    Reply

  4. Quentin Dewolf

    01/25/2011 at 5:52 pm

    Right now I think is that Ipad and Android Tablet sales are based on gadget crazieness. It will take the next year to trully realize wether or not consumers and corporations really want/like tablets. Tablets will have to replace laptops to be successful in the long term (they will because tablet + BT keyboard makes super flexible laptop). this means that nobody wants to ask “does your tablet do X?”. I have a windows tablet and it does all of the Xs there are like my laptop did. we do not need to accept reduced functionality or tightly controled ecosystems (telcos/apple) in order to get mobility anymore. Someone installed Android on the tablet I use and found it no faster nor longer battery life than windows.
    Microsoft does not need to “get it” it only needs to wait and see people migrate back for functionality. (there is a windows app for that and there always has been)

    Reply

  5. GoodThings2Life

    01/25/2011 at 6:54 pm

    Microsoft DOES get it … if you’re an Enterprise-based IT professional looking to keep your enterprise under control. This happens to describe my life perfectly. That said, Microsoft doesn’t get the personal consumer aspect of tablets, and clearly they can’t market anything effectively to consumers.

    Reply

  6. Kyith

    01/25/2011 at 7:34 pm

    apple is just gobbling up on msft’s deficiency. but now Microsoft have little maneuver room. they still want to protect this OS + Office Axis so they are touting Windows 7 for no reason. They are not coming up with something with a better front end.

    they just got oneNote on the iPhone surely they should be going at this in a big way. whatever it is they still want to see Windows 7 and office. they dun want other way around.

    that means no good UX OS and Software. very screwed imo.

    Reply

  7. leMel

    01/25/2011 at 8:46 pm

    This is enterprise stuff, not consumer device stuff . Clearly they do “get it” – all good points on those slides. However, on the consumer side of things…another story unfolding.

    As a commenter at zdnet put it, this is probably the same deck used back when executives started demanding the iPhone be allowed in their corporate ecosystems, just spruced up for the current defense. Same points, really. But then the iPad is not a productivity tool like the iPhone can be (just by nature of being a phone).

    Not sure why these slides are such a big deal. The real big deal continues to be Microsoft’s inability to follow through on its breakthroughs on the personal and cultural fronts with the same agility as Google and Apple (with the exception of Kinnect of course).

    Reply

  8. leMel

    01/25/2011 at 8:46 pm

    This is enterprise stuff, not consumer device stuff . Clearly they do “get it” – all good points on those slides. However, on the consumer side of things…another story unfolding.

    As a commenter at zdnet put it, this is probably the same deck used back when executives started demanding the iPhone be allowed in their corporate ecosystems, just spruced up for the current defense. Same points, really. But then the iPad is not a productivity tool like the iPhone can be (just by nature of being a phone).

    Not sure why these slides are such a big deal. The real big deal continues to be Microsoft’s inability to follow through on its breakthroughs on the personal and cultural fronts with the same agility as Google and Apple (with the exception of Kinnect of course).

    Reply

    • Bigmouth

      01/26/2011 at 5:10 pm

      Dude, there are millions of students out there who take handwritten notes. They aren’t enterprise clients.

      Reply

  9. Willem Evenhuis

    01/25/2011 at 9:27 pm

    I wouldn’t know about the making sense part of business. But business or consumer, I think the inking and handwriting recognition tool is still an important aspect and investment to which microsoft can pay more attention to.

    I still miss the fact of an improved UI for inking (handwriting) and improved handwriting recognition UI and refinement. I even notice on my smartphone that a good inking app, UI and handwriting recognition UI and refinement could improve the functionality of the phone and make it more productive. No endless notes on sticky’s and pieces of paper, a doctor’s handwritten recipe that can be jotted quickly and read unmistacalby by the pharmacologist, or notes taken of a patient and can swiftly and accurately be recognized to text and transferred to the patients desktop file.

    Most of us know that microsoft has offered inking support for quite a while now, and inking support on windows 7 was no surprise. Inking input has improved over vista, and inking in the TIP seems better than ink-to-text in journal of onenote. It is a pity that this improvement could not be transfered to the previous two programs. Or that the TIP (and Math Tip for that matter) could have got a refreshment of the UI to a more functional full screen program with a more journal, onenote or Word like interface for direct clear, quick and accurate recognition to text. Now that would have been a seller!

    Reply

  10. bluespapa

    01/26/2011 at 11:22 pm

    My community college students are always surprised to see me actually inserts text after watching me mark things up all semester. My brother, who has worked in IT I was surprised to see a demo of my computer during an Evo video call. I’ve seen two students with Tablet PCs since the advent of them. One did not know what OneNote is. One of my colleagues has a Tablet PC, but brings a legal pad to meetings and only uses it for sketching.

    You have to teach people how to use the Tabtip. It should be completely invisible at this point. The Tabtip is much improved, and the concept hasn’t changed, handwriting is no more integrated in the operating system than in Tablet XP.

    Microsoft will get smoked by anyone who has already figured out there should be no learning curve.

    Reply

  11. bluespapa

    01/26/2011 at 11:22 pm

    My community college students are always surprised to see me actually inserts text after watching me mark things up all semester. My brother, who has worked in IT I was surprised to see a demo of my computer during an Evo video call. I’ve seen two students with Tablet PCs since the advent of them. One did not know what OneNote is. One of my colleagues has a Tablet PC, but brings a legal pad to meetings and only uses it for sketching.

    You have to teach people how to use the Tabtip. It should be completely invisible at this point. The Tabtip is much improved, and the concept hasn’t changed, handwriting is no more integrated in the operating system than in Tablet XP.

    Microsoft will get smoked by anyone who has already figured out there should be no learning curve.

    Reply

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