Even though Microsoft’s public stance, when asked about the impact of Apple’s slate is “iPad? What iPad?”, the Redmondians are preparing the company’s partners for battle in 2011.
That’s the opening line from Mary-Jo Foley’s article on how Microsoft plans to ‘market against the iPad’ at her All About Microsoft blog. Here’s the thing though – they’re not planning on ‘battling’ them by actually being on the field of battle in any meaningful way; instead they’ll be ‘doing battle’ by arming their partners with Powerpoint slide shows.
Microsoft is making available to its reseller partners marketing collateral to help them defend against the iPad’s encroachment into the enterprise market. I had a chance to check out a PowerPoint dated December 2010 on “Microsoft Commercial Slate PCs” that the company is offering to its partners to help them explain Microsoft’s slate strategy to business users.
Even Foley, who’s about as staunch a Microsoft supporter as anyone, says MS now has a real challenger on its hands (in terms of tablets and the enterprise space):
Microsoft and its OEMs are not expected to field the first credible iPad competitors until 2012, however, when Windows 8 machines hit the market. Until then, Microsoft and its partners will need to find a way to beat the "commercial slate PC" drum and look for ways to slip through cracks not being addressed by Apple.
From the looks of that, and from what we’ve heard so far from Microsoft, that means that the only Windows tablets in 2011 will be running Windows 7, a desktop OS that is nowhere close to being designed for use on tablet devices. And it’s going to be 2012 before they have a tablet OS ready. Talk about no hope and Bob Hope.
In the meantime, they’re going to ‘battle’ away with a sad set of marketing slides that are meant to pinpoint chinks in the iPad armor and highlight strengths of the (virtually non-existent) alternatives from Microsoft.
The slide at the top of this post shows how they clearly still underestimate and fail to understand the iPad. The ‘consumption not creation’ argument has been well and truly down many times over during the iPad’s first nine months on the market, just as one for instance.
Here’s another slide from their battle-deck:
This one is hilarious to me. ‘Rich PC Client’ as an item on the Plus side??? How delusional is that thinking? Who wants a Windows desktop PC operating system on their mobile device? Good luck with that battle strategy.
I think the only thing the battle plan here is missing is a good codename. How about ‘Clueless’?