Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 6th Jun 2013 22:05 UTC
Windows "The problem with Microsoft's latest approach is that the company is gambling on consumers seeing past the Office confusion, and betting that PC makers will start creating high-quality devices. Unlike the netbook era, there's a huge choice of tablets these days. If time has taught us anything, it's that confused consumers will go elsewhere."
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Just how many are confused really?
by jockm on Fri 7th Jun 2013 00:48 UTC
jockm
Member since:
2012-12-22

I wish the linked article actually contained some kind of data to support its assertion. I am sure some people are confused about RTs inclusion of Office, whereas the Pro does not (except possibly for the 256G SKU in Japan). But is that actually enough to be relevant?

We can play the anecdote game all day long, but anecdotes are the worst kind of data. For example, I know two people who got Surface RTs, and one who got a Pro, they weren't super informed ahead of time, and none of them were confused about the inclusion or exclusion of Office. None of them went elsewhere.

But I am sure you all can give me counter examples. The only thing that will really be meaningful will be real data...

Reply Score: 2

chithanh Member since:
2006-06-18

I don't see any anecdotes in the article which are cited in support of the idea that different editions of Office on different size tablets cause confusion. Rather, the author uses arguments from common sense.

And confusion does indeed abound on Windows RT. When Samsung executives justified not launching Ativ tablets in North America, citing weak demand and customer confusion, certainly they were not basing this decision on anecdotes.

http://ces.cnet.com/8301-34439_1-57563340/uh-oh-windows-rt-samsungs...

Reply Score: 2

jockm Member since:
2012-12-22

I should have made my point better. I was not saying they gave anecdotes, I was saying I could give my anecdotes to support a point, and other people could pile on and provide theirs, but in the end prove nothing.

And arguments based on "common sense" are just are valuable as anecdotal data (ie not much). You can make a logical argument for anything, up is down, black is white, freedom is slavery; because a logical argument is only as good as its postulates.

The Surface and the Surface Pro have been out for a while now. Lots of people said the market would be confused prior to the launch. What I haven't seen is anyone come back with data to say they were right (or wrong). Now the Verge is making the exact same argument, but applying it to "small" (for a given value of small) tablets, without backing it up with data.

Were they right about RT vs Pro? In which case this article was kind of redundant and didn't need to be written. Were they wrong? In which case this article is equally useless.

Or did they write an article that would cause those with predefined narratives to link to it and say "See, I was right!" or "Look at those idiots, heh"

Because without doing anything to make their case, I am betting on the latter...

Reply Score: 2

Race to the bottom
by WorknMan on Fri 7th Jun 2013 03:20 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

When it comes to a race to the bottom in the 7-8" tablet space, I think Android has that exact problem. When the Nexus 7 came out, it was a good tablet for the price, but it wasn't exactly high-end. Sure, it had a great CPU, but lacked micro SD card support, HDMI, the display was only so-so, and it took nearly a year to get a charging dock that used the pogo pins.

Fast forward to now and we have about 9,000 Android tablets on the market with a similar form factor, and I'm not sure any of them are as good as the Nexus 7. Maybe the Galaxy Note 8.0 is the only one I can think of, but it seems that the rest are only interested in competing with Google on price.

Even in the 10" space, there's only a handful that compete favorably with the Nexus 10, mainly the Asus Transformer tablets.

Edited 2013-06-07 03:20 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Race to the bottom
by tkeith on Fri 7th Jun 2013 14:28 UTC in reply to "Race to the bottom"
tkeith Member since:
2010-09-01

High end does not mean it has every feature. When the Nexus 7 came out it had the highest resolution, fastest processor, and most RAM in the segment. I think the sd card and rear facing camera are just different use-case scenarios. Kind of like how a Luxury car can be high end without having a trailer hitch and third row of seats.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Race to the bottom
by WorknMan on Fri 7th Jun 2013 18:14 UTC in reply to "RE: Race to the bottom"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

High end does not mean it has every feature.


Says every iOS user on the planet ;)

Of course, you can also have a shit tablet with those features, as many have been released ;)

Edited 2013-06-07 18:14 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Usability
by wocowboy on Fri 7th Jun 2013 10:23 UTC
wocowboy
Member since:
2006-06-01

The article barely touched upon what I think will be the biggest downside to using Office on 7 and 8-inch screens, and that is the utter unusability of the Office interface on a screen that size. There are already dozens of reviews of Office on the Surface RT that complain of not being able to hit the teensy little targets and buttons, and not being able to see what you're doing. And that's on a 10-inch device! Unless there is a wholesale change of interface, I can't imagine how horrible it would be to use traditional Office on small screens.

Edited 2013-06-07 10:24 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE: Usability
by Deviate_X on Fri 7th Jun 2013 11:43 UTC in reply to "Usability"
Deviate_X Member since:
2005-07-11

Office works well enough with touch, you can simply zoom, and use the left and right cursors for targeting.

Note: Office app's also make an appearance on windows phone devices which have tiny 4" screens.

Reply Score: 3

Unique Selling Point
by hhas on Fri 7th Jun 2013 13:00 UTC
hhas
Member since:
2006-11-28

If MS wants to sell small, low-cost Win x86/RT tablets by bundling Office on them, it needs to demonstrate one unique use-case which any potential buyer will instantly 'get':

1. Remove tablet from pocket/satchel/purse and place on desk next to a bluetooth keyboard and 20" HDMI monitor.

2. Plug in the monitor and hit any key on the keyboard.

3. Tablet automatically turns itself into a multi-touch trackpad and a familiar Office UI pops up on the monitor. Presto: instant 'Office workstation'; no need for klunky beige box.

4. Profit.

Not only would this be a eye-catching trick that no iOS or Android device can do, it'd also turn Office's biggest failing - that its current UI utterly sucks on touch into an actual selling point, since 'existing Office UI' means 'no retraining required'.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Unique Selling Point
by hhas on Fri 7th Jun 2013 13:07 UTC in reply to "Unique Selling Point"
hhas Member since:
2006-11-28

Heck, if you take this idea and run with it to its logical conclusion, MS should totally forget about inventing some marginally better mouse with a 'Start screen' button on, and take a leaf from Apple's excellent 'Marketing for Winners' playbook:


5. Trash-talk the consumer mouse as "obsolete technology" and "no longer cool".

6. Boldly pronounce the "Next Big Must-Have" is an ultra low-cost 7" tablet that magically turns itself into a superpowered trackpad whenever you set it flat (as opposed to vertical) by a desktop keyboard.

7. Profit even more.


Not only could such a device offer Windows PC users an excellent multi-touch trackpad and pen input device that blows their poor old mouse away, its ability to show custom visuals means it could also display a row of user-customizable buttons for switching between apps, displaying a number keypad for math input, and so on.

Sure it'd be more expensive that a standard mouse, but once those users are done slaving for the day they can pop the thing in their pocket for tons of tablety goodness on the way home. As Apple have shown, there's plenty folks out there happy to throw money at aspirational products as soon as a canny vendor tells them what those aspirations are.

(Plus the obvious attraction of being able to look down at all those poor Mac users with their puny Magic Trackpads for a change.;)

Reply Score: 4

Office obsession.
by tkeith on Fri 7th Jun 2013 15:34 UTC
tkeith
Member since:
2010-09-01

I really don't understand why so many people "need" office. Free alternatives have been out there for years, and for what most people use it for it's good enough. Heck, Google Docs even has some significant advantages over Office. I've asked people why they bought it, and most really don't even have a good reason. Familiarity isn't even a legitimate excuse for most people with the introduction of the ribbon and other changes as of late.

I have no problem with people buying it, but to me it's probably the lamest reason to be tied to Windows. There is a lot of software that doesn't have an legitimate alternative available for other platforms, and that really ties you to Windows like CAD software.

A word processor is not a big selling point in 2013.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Office obsession.
by darknexus on Fri 7th Jun 2013 16:49 UTC in reply to "Office obsession."
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

I really don't understand why so many people "need" office. Free alternatives have been out there for years, and for what most people use it for it's good enough.

Obviously you've never tried to share documents between Office alternatives and genuine Office. If you did, you'd not say these things. Even different versions of Office don't share that well between one another. It's actually quite pathetic.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Office obsession.
by tkeith on Fri 7th Jun 2013 18:36 UTC in reply to "RE: Office obsession."
tkeith Member since:
2010-09-01

Fair, but I'm talking about home use. These are usually simple documents where they don't need to share between different programs. Funny, at work we always have to save documents back to the oldest forms possible to avoid venders or old computers in house that still have old software. We save Office documents back to 97 and CAD files back to 2000.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Office obsession.
by darknexus on Sat 8th Jun 2013 00:05 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Office obsession."
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Fair, but I'm talking about home use. These are usually simple documents where they don't need to share between different programs. Funny, at work we always have to save documents back to the oldest forms possible to avoid venders or old computers in house that still have old software. We save Office documents back to 97 and CAD files back to 2000.

Trouble is, you never know when a home user will want to share a document with someone and you can't predict what that someone will be running. There's as much incompatibility between the various Office alternatives as there are between Office and them. It could be something as simple as sending something they've written to a friend, or it could be something as important as uploading their resume while seeking employment. In the latter case, you can bet the business will be using Office and, if the home user isn't and runs up against an incompatibility without realizing it, their resume may not present well and may leave a bad impression when viewed. We may hate the situation (I know I do), and we may not believe that presentation should be as important as it is, but that's how the deck is stacked at the moment.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Office obsession.
by Neolander on Sat 8th Jun 2013 06:22 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Office obsession."
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Thankfully, there is such a thing as PDF when it comes to sharing read-only documents and presentations.

Considering that even Office struggles staying compatible with its own file formats, I think sticking with PDF unless explicitly asked for a DOC or editable version is always your best bet, no matter which office suite you use.

Edited 2013-06-08 06:22 UTC

Reply Score: 3