Bill Gates on the iPad: Meh

| News

Apple’s new iPad may be popular, but that doesn’t mean everyone is excited about the multimedia tablet device, including Microsoft founder Bill Gates. In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Mr. Gates was asked what he thought of the iPad, and he replied “It’s okay.”

He added “The scenarios aren’t that clear. But it’s good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that.”

Apple’s iPad hit store shelves on April 3, and overall has received good reviews. The device runs iPhone OS 3.2, includes a 9.7-inch multi-touch display, includes built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and on April 30, models with Wi-Fi plus 3G wireless data access support will ship, too.

Mr. Gates has complimented the design work that comes from Apple before, so it’s no surprise that he had kind things to say about the iPad’s design, too. Until he decides what it’s good for, however, it looks like Mr. Gates will see the device as little more than meh-tastic.

Popular TMO Stories



The guy probably never even used an iPad. He did ban iPhones from his home.


For a bright guy, his comments are pointedly mediocre

How about student not carrying 70-80 lbs of textbooks every day?
How about sending someone’s medical records to a first responder at the scene of an accident or emergency in which your child is hurt?
How about an enabled ProScope camera plugged into an iPad as a forensic field device?

And this is just version 1 of the iPad. Given the rate of Apple’s technology progression, imagine what year three will look like.

And all he can say is “It’s okay”? What’s he going to say when Apple passes Microsoft of market cap within a year?

Meh? Thanks Bill for leaving Ballmer in charge.


didn’t he say the same thing about the iPhone when that came out?  or was that just his buddy ballmer?  we all know how that turned out.


What do you expect him to say? “Oh my god it’s so much better than anything we’ve put out there!”

Criticizing it will make him look out of touch. All he can do is try to make his compliments as backhanded as possible without sounding weak and frightened. Same as with the iPhone.

Steven H

He can’t say anything BUT that ... the more time I spend with the iPad (when I can pry it from my wife’s hands) the more I realize how screwed other companies are.

The problem for them is that it’s increasingly NOT about specs and hardware. The specs for iPad (v1) are fine, but the experience of using it is 100% awesome. The software is fast, smart, and has TONS of growth potential as they iron out the kinks and add features.

Even as Android (and whatever MS does with Win 7 mobile) develops, the statement that Jobs made with the iPhone holds true for iPad ... “We’re 5 years ahead of the competition.” I honestly hope Android keeps the pressure on, but you can see it splintering into fragmented dead-ends already.

Unless you have used one, don’t rip on it. And forget the “real work” argument. There are tons of us who’s idea of “real work” is not reliant on outdated enterprise software.


I noticed the number in the URL and found this article

Lee Dronick

The guy probably never even used an iPad. He did ban iPhones from his home.

I would bet that Steve Jobs sent him via “courier” the day it went on sale, if not a few days before. The two of them seem to on friendly terms.

As to Bill actually using it, of course he tried it out because you need to know what the competition can do. However, as Mikuro points out you have to believe in your own team or you shouldn’t even take to the field.


@Steven H:
“The problem for them is that it?s increasingly NOT about specs and hardware.”

I’m glad someone gets it. For the last 5-10 years, Apple has been focused solely on user experience and NOT on features and specs. Back in the days when you had a 20 MHz 386 and the 33 MHz 386 came out, performance really mattered. Today, for the vast majority of us, our computers are much faster than they need to be and adding more features adds complexity at an exponential rate. In that situation, it no longer makes sense to play the “I have 10,001 features and you only have 10,000, so my system is better than yours” game.

Apple has refocused all their efforts into “we’d like to build a phone, so let’s redefine the phone. We’ll determine which features are needed and design the phone to handle those features as simply, elegantly, and securely as possible and then drop everything else”. This paradigm change may be Apple’s greatest contribution to the industry - but no one else is picking it up yet.


Andy said it best. This a stickies note named ‘force of habit’ on my Mac:

That?s the problem facing all of these other tablets.
They?ve never stopped and looked at this device as a brand-new thing, and thrown out all of the design elements that they?ve only included out of force of habit.

March 31, 2010
Chicago Sun-Times


And all he can say is ?It?s okay?? What?s he going to say when Apple passes Microsoft of market cap within a year?

My guess is that he will probably say nothing but we won’t need to wait for long to find out.  Ballmer is probably fuming and ranting to himself because of this today from AI.

Apple’s $242 billion market cap surpasses Microsoft

By Neil Hughes
Published: 04:20 PM EST


John Davis

Bill Gates “a bright guy”?

This must be some new or unusual definition of the word “bright.”

The guy sends me to sleep when he talks.

Lee Dronick

Bill Gates ?a bright guy??

This must be some new or unusual definition of the word ?bright.?

You don’t get in his position by being stupid or even average, and you don’t have to be charismatic.


Bill Gates is a very smart guy.  Problem is he has no vision, has no taste.  He is smart, can appreciate something that’s very good when he sees it, and has no qualms about copying and remarketing someone else’s idea!  He made millions from that and continues to make millions.

He is very analytical, and I have no doubt he will spend his billions well in his philanthropy effort.  But, he know’s steve jobs is smarter, and will ultimately have much more influence on the world than Gates ever did.


I knew this thread would devolve. Who is SMARTER, chaz???  R U serious?
What a dumbass statement you make. Someone hip chazz to what the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has done with his money, please.

I hate Windoze, I long for the ol’ OS wars but as Jobs said the OS war was lost a LONG time ago… so let’s have fun baggin’ on all the 3rd party crap that runs Windows…
but show some respect for one of the richest guys in the world that gives away more money than most people make in their lives.
Gate’s actually saves lives - millions of lives. Jobs must give money too - probably to Bill’s foundation - but the only life Steve is known for saving is his own. So cut Bill, again - richest, changed office computing forever, generous to tune of hundreds of millions - some slack.
If anything, feel sorry for Bill. Holding that iPad in his hands for the first time must’ve been Groundhog Day, the same nightmare that he had when he saw the first Mac,iPad,iPhone, etc.  but also understand that Bill didn’t want to be Sony, Apple did - especially after the OS wars was lost, so Jobs understood and pivoted while Bill was happy as a clam….it was Apple and Oranges. Sorry. Who is “smarter”?  The answers is Yes.


He’s unimpressed because M$ didn’t invent the device.
If it was a M$ product, it would be hailed as the greatest thing since sliced bread.


You don?t get in his position by being stupid or even average, and you don?t have to be charismatic.

No, you get there by being a completely utterly ruthless amoral bastard, who’ll rip off any competing ideas. And if that fails ? Buy, destroy and bury!

Neil Anderson

Bill probably uses it to slice his bread.

Lee Dronick

Bill probably uses it to slice his bread.

Well he certainly has enough bread.


So, Melinda says to Bill “Hey check this out!! This is the beast thing since sliced bread!” And Bill immediately says Wow! check it, as he carves up a baguette with it…..  nice

Log in to comment (TMO, Twitter or Facebook) or Register for a TMO account