by Jonathan Rothwell

[LINK] Microsoft: iPads are PCs

I came across this blog post via the Guardian, from Frank X. Shaw, the cumbersomely-titled Corporate Vice President of Corporate Communications at Microsoft.1

On one hand, looking around the conference, there were iPads and other tablets as far as the eye could see. On the other hand, (as I noted in a tweet), most of the people around me were using their iPads exactly as they would a laptop – physical keyboard attached, typing away, connected to a network of some kind, creating a document or tweet or blog or article. In that context, it’s hard to distinguish between a tablet and a notebook or laptop. The form factors are different, but let’s be clear, each is a PC.

No. No no no no NO.

This is nonsense. There is a reason Apple call the iPad a “post-PC” device, not “PC-plus” or “super-portable PC” or “slate PC.”

A PC is a computer, usually with an x86-compatible architecture, which can run unsigned code out-of-the-box. The Surface Pro is a PC. The Macintosh is a PC (no matter what the old Mac vs. PC marketing tells you: any modern Mac will run Windows or any other PC operating system just fine.)

The Surface RT is not a PC because it can’t run unsigned code without being hacked. The iPad is not a PC, because it can’t run unsigned code without being jailbroken. Form factor has nothing to do with it. Not everyone needs a PC, but some people do.2

Microsoft’s messaging is coming across as exceptionally confused. Maybe I’m an old curmudgeon, but if Microsoft’s vision of the future is a world where anything that lights up and goes ‘beep’ is considered a true PC, then it’s a vision I want no part in.

  1. No, that is really his job title.

  2. Steve Jobs, surprisingly, summed it up quite well when he said that PCs are “like trucks.” This effectively means that Microsoft are lumping everything from a bicycle up to a massive freight train under the same banner as “trucks.” There are no shades of grey as far as they are concerned: everything is a PC, and Windows must go everywhere.