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March 30, 2011

Craig Mundie Tablet form factor may be a fad.

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Written by: mgardega

Craig Mundie the Global Strategy Chief at Microsoft caused a bit of excitement on the internet by stating that the form factor of a tablet computer may not be a persistent one. His argument about the validity of the tablet PC or tablet form factor, is not entirely off base.  I am far from a Microsoft Fan boy, they’ve managed to burn that sort of respect a long time ago.  Personally my tablet has reduced my use of my Evo 4g phone running Cyanogen Mod 7 RC3, and significantly reduced my time in front of my Ubuntu Linux/Win7 dual boot machine.

The simplistic short sided response, to the video: was that he had to take this stance to avoid looking like Microsoft had dropped the ball on this new vector of computing.  This is undeniably true.  Microsoft you are not only late to the party, you never showed up.  For many people these devices cover their general use scenario.  Interact with the web.  connect and communicate with friends.  With Apples lock in strategy (iTunes) it will be harder to win back a user base. Luckily for Microsoft Apples insistence on tying iTunes to what could easily be a standalone device is keeping a lot of Windows computers in use.   Although the data centers they’ve been building assumes a lot of things will change with iOS 5 and the impending death of OSX.

This isn’t what Craig Mundie was talking about however. He was discussing the Tablets form factor works for right now.  Current display technology limitations make cell phone devices too small for some uses. If these screen size limitations are overcome by projecting light as in his example into the retina, why shouldnt it be visible as an HD big screen?   Certainly if my Evo 4G or whichever phone didn’t have the screen limitations i would tend to bring the smaller device.  For now it definitely doesn’t.

Where he is completely off the mark is that an iPod touch, iPhone 5, Android running ice cream etc device is still a tablet. Microsoft has not been capable to aptly represent in this market sector. They still look at Win& as a one size fits all approach. They’ve managed to become a sideline conversation in the most rapidly evolving segment of computing.  Now they can force themselves into the picture with their desktop empire and windows exclusive tie ins.  Google has zero impact by this, and Apples iTunes may be a weakness in their larger strategy depending on how Microsoft moves on this.

For now the tablet form factor is exploding, without Microsoft, and that is precisely what is so exciting about it. Not being encumbered by legacy Windows tie ins limitations and methodology and interfaces can only be good for consumers.

About the Author

Fan of emerging technologies, and their trans-formative relationship with society both good and bad. Some of my heroes are: Nikola Tesla, Gutenberg, Hunter S Thompson, Lawrence Lessig, Marshall McLuhan and a few others. I think the US patent system needs a mass overhaul.


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