Bill Gates Says iPad Users Are Frustrated Because They Can’t Type, Create Documents, Use Office

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Gates on Frustrated iPad users

Bill Gates has shared some thoughts on the iPad again, during a CNBC interview – this time claiming that lots of iPad users are frustrated at their lack of ability to do things like type or create documents.

At about the 7:45 mark of this video clip at 9to5Mac, Gates talks about how with Windows 8 Microsoft is trying to gain share in a market that’s been dominated by the ‘iPad type device’ and says:

… but a lot of those users are frustrated. They can’t type, they can’t create documents, they don’t have Office there. So we’re providing them with something with the benefits they’ve seen that have made that a big category without giving up what they expect in a PC.

Really? People used to talk a lot about Steve Jobs and a  ‘reality distortion field’ – I’d say that the Delusion Bubble that Gates and Microsoft seem to live in is just as powerful. iPad users can’t type, can’t create documents – has he ever been near an iPad?

For me, this is a bit like Tim Tebow talking about how many Denver Broncos fans are frustrated with that Peyton Manning guy. Microsoft might want to show that they can make a tablet that shows any sign of appealing to users before they dish out their thoughts on the supposed frustrations of iPad users.

Gates has talked before about the iPad being an ‘only for consumption’ sort of device that can’t be used for any real work – and that’s the delusional myth that Microsoft just keep on spinning in their efforts to generate interest in their Surface line. It’s working great for them so far – the most recent tablet usage study showed the heavily hyped Surface tablets share was below 1%, below ‘dead’ tablets like the Blackberry Playbook and the Motorola Xoom.

Oh, and Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos use iPads for their playbook – somebody there must’ve figured out how to type on them.

Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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6 thoughts on “Bill Gates Says iPad Users Are Frustrated Because They Can’t Type, Create Documents, Use Office”

  1. Oh Bill Bill Bill!! How wrong arth thee! Documents can be created on iPad and I personally far prefer dictating to typing. As for the unavailability of Office, well Bill, or should I call you Wild Bill, you’re the main reason for that.

  2. I agree with Gates. I’m frustrated that typing on the iPad isn’t as easy as it should be. I use Office products for most of work and get frustrated when it’s difficult to even get documents onto my iPad to view in Keynote. Getting documents to and from the iPad is too complex. At a minimum, I need Dropbox integration so that edits on the iPad show up automatically on my laptop.

    And the contention that NFL teams using the iPad for their playbook means anything to this argument is incorrect. It’s most likely simply a PDF of the playbook.

    I have an iPad, and take it most places, but if I need to do real work with spreadsheets, presentations, or documents I’ll take my laptop.

    Not to say that the iPad doesn’t deserve to be dominant. Plenty of people don’t do enough document creation to miss things like Office (or at least full featured Apple versions of Office).

  3. I don’t know what he (Bill Gates) is referring to or talking about. I use Pages and Keynote to create PowerPoints and Word documents all of the time. The programs are cheap – $10 each – and allows me to email them or share them anyway I like. Now I know why Microsoft is going by way of the dinosaur. They refuse to see the future and the future is bleak for them.

  4. Reality is somewhere in the middle of Gates and the blogger here. There is some level of creation that can be done on the iPad, but it can be limited based on what you need to do. I’m not going to build a website or blog on my iPad. Then again, for productivity, MS is foolish for not rushing compliance of Office out to iOS. Hell, if ya can’t beat ’em (with you own hardware), make money with ’em!

  5. Patrick, you’ve completely missed his point. Yes, one can do these things but not altogether easily so he’s partially correct. For example, there is no iOS-level way to print a document to PDF. Let’s say I’m travelling and use my iPad 2 browser to book a reservation for a car or hotel or air. I can’t print directly to PDF and send it over to a cloud storage service to sync up with other devices. I can only natively print to physical AirPrint printers. I’d have to install a 3rd-party app with a proprietary built-in web browser and screen-scrape the confirmation page. How low-tech is THAT?! I don’t want to use ANOTHER web browser (I use Dolphin) just because Apple has a beef with Adobe and won’t enable the functionality.

    @Mike, I completely agree with your comment about NFL playbooks. Guaranteed the PDFs were not created on an iPad.

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