Why Microsoft Should Never Make a Windows 7 Tablet

27.05.2010
Microsoft had planned to enter the tablet market, but recently pulled the plug on its Courier prototype. Now, critics are claiming that Microsoft must develop something to and stake a claim in the tablet arena, or else. On the contrary, Microsoft should avoid the tablet frenzy and focus on its core strengths.

According to a Sarah Rotman Epps, "Forrester estimates that tablets will outsell netbooks in the US starting in 2013, and tablets will constitute in the US in 2015. Microsoft needs its operating system on those tablets."

Epps focuses on arguments for why Microsoft needs to develop a Windows 7 tablet to capitalize both on the current tablet hype, as well as on its dominant position as the de facto operating system for 90 plus percent of the population. The arguments make sense on some levels, but miss the critical distinction that a tablet is different than a computer.

Culture vs. Form

The tablet--as defined by the Apple iPad--is a new type of device, not just a new shape for a computer. It is a culture shift, not just a new form factor. Netbooks, and notebooks may just be , but the tablet fills a unique niche.

There is some crossover, so the confusion is understandable. An iPad can surf the Web, check e-mail, or create documents and spreadsheets like a PC, but at its heart it is more media consumption device than mobile computing platform, and it delivers a completely different experience.