Bill Gates Stupidly Says “A Lot” Of Users Are Frustrated The iPad Isn’t A Microsoft Surface [Video]

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Want to hear one of the smartest minds in tech opening his mouth and saying something eye-rollingly dumb? Check out Bill Gates telling CNBC that the iPad is being “held back” by its lack of physical keyboard and, of course, Microsoft Office.

Explaining Microsoft’s rationale for the Microsoft Surface — a device which literally commands a 0.0% global market share — Gates told CNBC that he believed that in the future, it’s going “to be harder and harder to distinguish products” that are PCs versus tablets. The Surface, he said, was therefore the PC and the tablet of the future.

Then Gates went on to be stupid about the iPad. Saying “A lot of those users are frustrated, they can’t type, they can’t create documents, they don’t have Office there.”

This is just laughably stupid. Six months after its debut, the Microsoft Surface has 0.0% market share. I wanted to repeat that so you didn’t think it’s a typo. 0.0%. Surely, that number would be a little bit higher if “a lot of” people actually wanted what the Surface offered, which is a tablet with a physical keyboard that can run Microsoft Office.

Of course, this is also the man who once said the iPad would fail because it had no stylus. Who’s laughing now?

Bill Gates starts talking about the Surface at the 7:20 market in the video below:

  • nefan65

    Bill, you’re no longer relevant. Please stop saying stupid things…

  • TechBell

    Right. And let’s not forget how blown away consumers were with Surface RT. You want to see some lonely guys? Check out the Microsoft kiosk at the mall.

  • Paullloydjohnson

    iPad users have iWork and it works great. I manage to operate in a business that uses legacy office software, by using iWork. I don’t need your software at all. Frankly Office sucks, I just hope Apple launches iWork for Mac AND PC to hammer a few more nails in the Office coffin.

  • Paullloydjohnson

    iPad users have iWork and it works great. I manage to operate in a business that uses legacy office software, by using iWork. I don’t need your software at all. Frankly Office sucks, I just hope Apple launches iWork for Mac AND PC to hammer a few more nails in the Office coffin.

  • stationstops

    Bill, you’re no longer relevant. Please stop saying stupid things…

    Bill Gates as the world’s leading philanthropist (and much more importantly – philanthropy *advocate*) – is absolutely one of the most relevant people on earth. Not so much on consumer computing anymore, but unlike Steve Jobs, he contributed more than most to *both* endeavors.

  • BrainGameMayhem

    It’s amusing how Apple die-hards are offended by comments such as this. He still speaks on Microsoft’s (and in my ways, on the business customer’s) behalf. What did you expect him to say, that the iPad is killing it and Surface is flopping? Use common sense, people.

  • Seth Chapman

    I was just thinking the other day…

    I’d *love* an iPad, with 128GB internal storage, an sdxc slot, USB3.0 (or Thunderbolt)…running OS X. I’d like to also be able to run iOS style apps. But yeah, I *would* like Office 2011 for Mac. I’d really like to be able to use my iPad as *both* a business and personal device. I’d like to be able to do my IT-related work (using Windows in a virtual machine, to use Active Directory, connecting the iPad to 2 external monitors, a keyboard and trackpad/trackball).

    A consumer iPad is great. Now we have two consumer iPads. I’d *really* like to be able to have a “Professional” iPad.

  • Adrayven
    Bill, you’re no longer relevant. Please stop saying stupid things…

    Bill Gates as the world’s leading philanthropist (and much more importantly – philanthropy *advocate*) – is absolutely one of the most relevant people on earth. Not so much on consumer computing anymore, but unlike Steve Jobs, he contributed more than most to *both* endeavors.

    True, but then, it could be argued that Steve Jobs did more for local schools, and would have done a ton more once he retired. Sadly, his chance in that respect was harshly cut short by his cancer/death. So I think it’s a mute point, saying Bill is doing more, since we will never know as to weather Jobs could have contributed more had he had a chance to live/retire.

  • Jdsonice

    Bill Gates is a smart guy who as contributed much to computing and the world. We all make mistakes and say things we don’t mean. So its OK. His good deeds more than make up for this. The only thing that he has done that is unforgivable is putting that buffoon Steve Balmer in charge of MS.

  • lwdesign1

    It’s amusing how Apple die-hards are offended by comments such as this. He still speaks on Microsoft’s (and in my ways, on the business customer’s) behalf. What did you expect him to say, that the iPad is killing it and Surface is flopping? Use common sense, people.

    You don’t have to be an Apple diehard to see the ridiculousness of Bill’s comments. The Surface is selling like week old, moldy, fly-encrusted, run-over hotcakes. In contrast, the iPad sells tens of millions of units every quarter. Now, just who is it that’s being held back?

    The iPad doesn’t appear to be being held back at all due to the lack of Office. Bill is Microsoft-centered ONLY. Millions of people around the world have been typing on the built-in virtual keyboard of the iPad and using all sorts of different external physical keyboards and keyboard cases that work with the iPad, but Bill chooses to ignore this. Millions of people around the world create documents on the iPad with Apple’s Pages, Numbers, Keynote, iMovie, Garageband, iPhoto and all kinds of non-Apple apps for years — but because these aren’t Microsoft Office, Bill assumes that no documents are being created on the iPad.

    Common sense would have to include Bill not making outrageously insulated and false comments. I don’t expect him to tell the truth that the Surface is turning people away in record numbers, but to make up falsehoods that iPad users can’t type or create documents simply because there are no Office apps for the iPad is patently and obviously ridiculous.

    Now here’s a good question: Has Microsoft created iPad apps for the Office suite? I’m sure that Apple would be delighted to have these apps for sale in the App Store, but I believe that good old MS hasn’t gotten around to creating them yet. That MIGHT be the reason they’re not used on the iPad. Hmmm. Makes Bill’s statement seem a bit disingenuous, don’t it?

  • daov2a

    The badly written articles from John Brownlee just keep coming! It’s really as if he does not even know what the word “research” means. I assume he does Google searches and calls that research. I mean, 0.0% would mean the Surface Pro has not sold at all…That’s incredibly poor writing. The Surface Pro has become a cash cow for Microsoft by all available sales figures and is leading the company’s sales in the Windows division. That’s a fact. You need only look at the previously badly written, John Brownlee article to read the report that John Brownlee cited but did not read that stated this.

    In any case, Gates is kind of correct. I was an iPad user (and still am…for reading) who found it extremely lacking in many regards for my every day use. I would not consider everyone using an iPad a Power/Pro user missing functionality that the Surface Pro provides. I bought a Surface Pro and it is an excellent machine. It is a first generation product with a lot of pluses but a great deal of minuses. The Surface RT, though much more poorly received and certainly not as powerful as the Surface Pro, is still very much on par with the iPad and better in many regards, such as the ability to customize to a great amount more than the iPad and the ability to have multiple user accounts and attach to a domain. But that does not make it better and it still lacks many things a normal user gets with an iPad, such as 4G.

    The only thing I can say is that every time I hear an Apple fan state obviously incorrect things about the Surface Pro and Microsoft is that it very much so reminds me of the same bone-headed comments that emanated from all corners about the various Apple first generation products, such as the iPod, iPhone and iPad. If you fail to see that the Surface Pro (and Windows 8. Ahh!! Stop throwing things at me!) is a product with great potential, you are fooling yourself.

    The iPad is awesome. That’s a fact. But as another poster in the comments stated, it is not a Pro product and it cannot do any real number crunching for statistics, programming, great web design or graphic design as well as run any decent artist applications. You can use RDP or VMWare or other virtualization software and use the iPad to connect to those resources but in almost every instance, I am connecting to a Windows machine and the iPad is painful to use on those machines as the keyboard layout is weak, the screen does not accommodate it well or various other things. The Surface Pro accommodates those situations quite well.

    I would bet by the time OS Xi comes around, the iPad will get a complete makeover with a lot of Pro features but for now, Big Brother Bill Gates has a point. He’s just not very good at articulating it and is a bit full of himself. But if you think someone who was integral in building the foundation of numerous technologies available today is not someone you should occasionally listen to, you are being foolish.

  • Boo Radley

    I thought Market Share was a different metric than sales. 0.0% marketshare is not the same as 0.0% sales. However, it’s been a while since Marketing 101.

  • BrainGameMayhem

    The iPad doesn’t appear to be being held back at all due to the lack of Office. Bill is Microsoft-centered ONLY. Millions of people around the world have been typing on the built-in virtual keyboard of the iPad and using all sorts of different external physical keyboards and keyboard cases that work with the iPad, but Bill chooses to ignore this. Millions of people around the world create documents on the iPad with Apple’s Pages, Numbers, Keynote, iMovie, Garageband, iPhoto and all kinds of non-Apple apps for years — but because these aren’t Microsoft Office, Bill assumes that no documents are being created on the iPad.

    My point wasn’t that Bill is speaking the Truth; he is speaking on behalf of Microsoft to potential customers, and by extension, he is pointing out the upsides to Surface: keyboard, Office, full PC and tablet functionality, and the downsides to the iPad: no physical keyboard included or connected, content-consumption only. (Sure, it has the ability to create content, but is that really what it’s being used for the vast majority of the time?).

    Bill Gates said exactly what he was supposed to say as representative of Microsoft. I just find it humorous that Cult of Mac and some of the Apple faithful here act personally offended that he didn’t come out and say, “Truth is, the iPad is destroying the Surface in sales because the iPad is a great device and Surface is not.”

  • heyitsadam

    Are you saying the Surface has pulled a Blutarski?

    “Zero….point………….ZERO.”

  • khodson98

    What Bill just said is completely stupid. Everything is completely invalidated. What is with the people putting their feet in their mouths. (Ex. Blackberry guy.)

  • BrainGameMayhem

    What Bill just said is completely stupid. Everything is completely invalidated. What is with the people putting their feet in their mouths. (Ex. Blackberry guy.)

    How was Bill Gates supposed to answer the question?

  • Junaidkureshi

    Bill was smoking something before this interview.

  • HarryWessling

    So sad, Bill becomes so blind. So blind. So blind. :-(

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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