Letters to Redmond

September Reader Letters: High Hopes for Surface Tablet Devices

Will Microsoft's Windows 8 Surface tablet sink or float? Here's what readers think.

Unimpressed with his new iPad, Redmond Editor in Chief Doug Barney hoped the newly announced Microsoft Surface tablets would offer a better tablet experience. In his August 2012 Barney's Rubble column, "Smashing the iPad," he wrote: "These Surface machines are full PCs... If its endgame is the enterprise, this is a masterstroke on Microsoft's part, wouldn't you say?" Redmond readers respond to Barney's Surface enthusiasm.

I've been a Microsoft guy for years. My brother and I used to argue PCs versus Macs like the Hatfields and McCoys. But I've got to say, after five Windows phones, I switched to an iPhone. I would really have a hard time going back. That led me to the logical progression of an iPad, which works well for me.

The promise of being able to connect a Windows tablet to a network sounds fantastic. The only fly in the ointment is Microsoft has pledged for years that it's finally gotten the portable device right, only to disappoint me again and again. I sure took my lumps staying with the company. I really hope the Surface device does perform as Microsoft has said it will, but at this point I'm going to have to play Doubting Thomas on this one. I'll give it a fair shake but it's going to have to be great for me to switch at this point.

David Brown
Received via e-mail

I believe, given Microsoft's history, that Barney is right on the money. Microsoft has, in the past, not run after the latest fad that has all consumers buzzing. Remember, the company didn't at first think the Internet would be adopted the way it has been. But Microsoft knows how to recover lost ground -- and do it in a confidence-inspiring way. For example, Microsoft didn't rush to create an Internet browser; Netscape initially had the greatest market share. But Microsoft came in behind and created an Internet browser that just works. I know many people who avoid even trying other browsers because they only really trust Internet Explorer.

As for the tablet market, my boss has asked me many times whether I think the iPad is going to do away with computers at the office. I've told him over and over again that the iPad is a cool toy, but nothing more than a glorified browser. When Microsoft comes out with a tablet the company will have businesses in mind, and it will build in the ability to secure the tablets. People will be able to use the Microsoft Office suite the way it's intended, and it will be more stable and more powerful than the iPad was ever intended to be. The iPad is great for the consumer market, but has no real business value that we've been able to ascertain. I expect the Microsoft tablet will be able to provide business-level capability when it arrives, and I'll be able to secure it through Active Directory.

Mary S. Martin
Received via e-mail

If Microsoft comes out with a tablet that can join a domain, be controlled by Active Directory, have a keyboard, be small and portable (in other words, a tablet) and run programs like a PC does, the company will have a business winner, in my opinion.

I can use my iPad to get e-mail via the Exchange Sync and I have a remote desktop app and another free telnet app that allow me console access to my Unix system. I still would opt for a Microsoft device that's all-native for work, and regulate the iPad for personal use only. I use Windows, an Ubuntu VM and I have a Mac. I find that, on the couple of trips a year I take for work, the iPad has been nice to take because I don't usually need to access the work "system." I look forward to the release of the tablet from Microsoft and seeing what I can do on it.

Edward L. Bailey
Received via e-mail

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This page is compiled by the editors of Redmond magazine from your letters. Write to us at [email protected] and if your letter is printed in the magazine, you'll be entered into a drawing for a free Redmond T-shirt.


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