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Sinofsky: We Heart Tablet

Steven Sinofsky, Microsoft’s head of Windows, broached the subject that has caused many tablet pc enthusiasts ( like yours truly, Loren Heiny, and Warner Crocker) to begin scratching their heads this past weekend.

At the Windows Hardware Engineering conference today, TechFlash’s Todd Bishop reported the following quote from Sinofksy:

"Touch, of course, goes way back to our work on the Tablet PC, which continues to be an extremely important opportunity for developers, and a great way to express new and unique scenarios, and a great way to have new types of applications in software. And so we’re very excited to continue to bring forward the Tablet PC, to continue to improve it. And we actually have a whole bunch of new work in recognizers and expanding that around the world, but then building on top of that, we’ll expand it with the role of touch. And so, as you’ll see, this becomes a big opportunity for everybody, across a whole different set of dimensions."

TechFlash’s Bishop then asks if this statement from Sinofsky would be enough to placate the Tablet PC enthusiasts? Not really — I’ve known that the Windows team has been solidly behind tablet, although I was hoping for a bit more than what I’ve experienced in Windows 7 so far. Tablet bits in Windows 7 are greatly improved, but they were vastly improved in Vista over Windows XP. Did those improvements help move Tablet out of Ozzie’s so-called ““niche” space? What needs to happen to change Ozzie’s mind, so much so, that we would begin to see him integrate tablet features in Live products? I have not had an opportunity to play with the Windows 7 multi-touch bits, but I’m hopeful that it will bring about many opportunities for touch and ink — if lessons have been learned from the past 6 years.

My concerns over Ozzie’s statement still stand because I’ve seen his statement about ““niche” play itself out over the past six years in applications like Office, Mail, Calendar, etc. I’m wondering just how many other teams at Microsoft feel the same way, and therefore won’t sink much time and effort in to a ““niche” market rather than look for creative ways to correct that problem.

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3 Comments

  1. wickedpheonix

    11/05/2008 at 6:08 pm

    I’m convinced that the tablet market is stuck in a Catch-22 right now – the tablet market will not take off until Apple makes a tablet, and Apple will not make a tablet until tablets start selling en masse on the PC side.

    In the first couple of days carrying around a tablet I’ve heard a lot of people say that they thought that a Tablet was a very cool computer and would help them out A LOT (this is the academic community here), but that they aren’t willing to move on one until there’s an Apple Tablet with PROPER SOFTWARE SUPPORT – that means something better than Inkwell, and OneNote and PDFAnnotator or at least proper equivalents find Mac versions – the Modbook is not enough, especially since these people also want to type papers so they need a keyboard.

    It’s sad too, even with a capacitive screen you simply cannot take notes as well as with a pen, nor can you use Photoshop as efficiently – moving to a 100% touch solution is bad for the tablet market.

    So really, the best way for Microsoft to improve the tablet market is to sink money not into tablet R&D, but to basically fund Apple’s R&D of a tablet, spurring tablet sales overall and thus spurring PC Tablet sales. Basically tell Apple, we have a couple suitcases full of cash over here and they’re all yours if you use them to make a tablet PC.

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  2. frblckstr

    11/06/2008 at 5:06 am

    Yup, for some reason the market thinks Apple is the innovator (like some think they are the once that invented the MP3 player!) while actually they are just the once who know how to market thinks the best.

    They do good things with the UI (or UX) but I can’t say they make technical good tings and maybe they do not need to: every 2 years they make new things ‘you have to buy’ so you will not notice that is would have broken down the next year.
    Anyway, Jobs had the Newton and the NeXT but those are not the things people really remember.

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  3. Michael Milne

    11/07/2008 at 9:52 am

    The problems are bigger – We are a Microsoft Certified ISV Partner – that gives me some support calls – I spent two days telling morons in India who knew nothing about Tablets they couldn’t help because they actually knew nothing about Tablets. Then I spent a lot more time in emails and calls to get someone in “mobility” who happened to use a Tablet!! We are veteran Tablet developers – there will be no real apps for the Tablet unless Microsoft improves its infrastructure to support it – otherwise any statement of support is just ignorance. Thank God for the hardware manufacturer who keep making new models and innovations!

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