A great article by ArsTechnia about how Steve Ballmer and the folks at Microsoft have absolutely no idea what they’re doing in the tablet market. An excerpt:
The iPad is a neat package. It’s not a device for everyone. There are lots of things the iPad doesn’t do well; there are many things the iPad doesn’t do at all. But it’s not trying to be these things; it’s a conveniently sized, highly portable, long-lasting media-consumption device. It’s ideal for browsing the Internet, reading e-mail (with the occasional short reply), looking at photos, playing music and videos, and casual gaming. It doesn’t need much in the way of configuration. It doesn’t run Mac software. Every single piece of software on it is designed to be used with fingers. In no way is the iPad striving to be a PC, but it is because of this—because it’s not running software designed for keyboards and pixel-perfect pointers, because it’s running software that’s simple and restricted, because it uses a slow, but low-power, ARM processor—because of these things that it is so good at the things it does do.
Tablet PCs, on the other hand, have had all the size and weight of conventional laptops, with all the software of regular laptops, but without the human interface devices to make them useful. They contained the compromises of the iPad—touchscreens are never going to be as good for text entry as physical keyboards, touchscreens, even with styluses, are never going to be as precise as mice—but without any of its benefits, including the light weight, impressive battery life, and purpose-built software. They made sense in some vertical markets, but as mass-market devices, they’ve consistently failed.