Video Offers Side-by-Side Look at Microsoft & Steve Jobs Keynotes

| Analysis

It’s natural to compare Microsoft’s Surface tablet to Apple’s iPad—in fact, we did that just today in a Spec Comparison piece—but the folks at ReadWriteWeb had the clever idea of comparing the keynote presentations between the two companies.

Looking at pieces of Steve Jobs’s January 2010 keynote introducing the original iPad to Monday’s keynote by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and other executives side by side, it’s easy to see that over the last 28 months, Microsoft has been taking some detailed notes.

Apple/Microsoft Keynote Compare

Send in the clones!

Whether or not the company made good use of those notes is one thing, but awkward repetitions of the word “reimagine” are definitely reminiscent of Apple’s masterful use of words like “magical.” There are also similarities in the way features were unveiled and the language used to describe them.

The most egregious cribbing, of course, has to be Steve Ballmer talking about “the intersection between human and machine,” which is a direct (and poorly worded) ripoff of “the intersection of technology and liberal arts,” a phrase the late Steve Jobs used again and again in his product introductions, and something he talked about for decades.

Watching Steve Ballmer blundering all over the concept without even a hint of shame is enough to make my blood boil, unless you’re Gizmodo.

The reality, however, is that it’s about time someone started taking notes. Apple has been showing the rest of the world how to design products, how to make them, and how to introduce them to the world for more than ten years, and yet no one besides Apple does a good job at it.

It might have taken Microsoft 28 months to put on its shadow puppet show on Monday, but I’d rather watch Big Redmond embarrass itself by blatantly trying to be Apple than the kind of keynote the company usually produces. Watching Steve Ballmer’s last CES keynote ever (we can hope) was one of the most miserable two hours of my life.

In any event, what do you think? Here’s the ReadWriteWeb video:

Surface vs. iPad: Microsoft’s Getting Rusty Stealing from Apple

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I think it’s much too late, personally. I think it reeks of the same envy induced Apple-gangering the Zune launch did, when Allard was forced by his MS overlords to go from being a nerdy pudge-boy and hit the gym, shave his head, get new glasses and some stylish duds to make squirting look hip. Listen: Microsoft is a company that has never had the chops or the innovation, not since its inception, let’s face it, they got lucky with Windows. It was the right time and the right place in the industry. And if it weren’t Apple, it would be somebody else, like say IBM, or Sega (whom they partnered with on the Dreamcast and subsequently screwed to make the XBox) the PlaysforSure partners (that they screwed with the Zune), the Project Pink debacle, or, or or. . . . 

Unfortunately, this ‘new’ face of Microsoft is anything but in its underlying motivation - same old copycat act in direct opposition of their existing partnerships, different day. I don’t personally think anyone (not on the Microsoft blogging gravy train) is going to fall for it again.


Yes, very clever of RWW to compare the two intros in this way. Ballmer tries so hard that it’s actually rather painful to watch…

IMHO, its just AMAZING how Microsoft RE-IMAGINED their tablet and created this MAGICAL intro ala Steve Jobs except for one thing: the massive product fail in the middle of the speech!  wink

But you also really gotta appreciate the cluelessness of MS’ marketing - which is why they MUST copy Apple - when someone, heck anyone, didn’t rise up to say, “WAIT A MINUTE!  We simply cannot do this kind of product announcement with no specs and no release date and say that its made by a ‘VapourMG’ process or someone is gonna think we’re selling vaporware!”


Actually both Jobs & Ballmer stole this design from Jean Luc Picard’s PADD.


I wont judge Surface here, just wanted to point out how pathetic MS looked in their keynote.

Did u see the video they had prepared where guys talk in front of coloured curtains?
I am still laughing!!! Unbelievable!

Lee Dronick

I am not seeing the video, just white space. Same if I go to ReadWriteWeb. What format is it?

Lee Dronick
John Molloy

Lee, I am assuming you are trying to watch this on an iOS device. i had similar issues. On the Mac it is fine.

Lee Dronick

Lee, I am assuming you are trying to watch this on an iOS device. i had similar issues. On the Mac it is fine.

I was, well still am, on my MacBook Pro because the iPad is charging. I will give it a try on the iMac as soon as I can.

John Dingler, artist

I noticed that the keyboard did not work. Know how I knew? No member of the MS troika demonstrated its use, nada, zero, zilch. It was and is a mere placeholder. What a major fail.


Absolutely disgraceful! And it’s why I want Micosoft to fail.


I agree with Marzell; there is no “qualification, restriction, or limitation” to how “shockingly unacceptable” this tech news is on the internet. To think that Microsoft would get up on stage and give a speech that says “video” or “music” in a certain way! I think that is definitely deserving of Microsoft failing, and thousands of employees losing their jobs, and perhaps their families or their lives. I’m not sure about their lives though; I will wait to hear if Marzell feels that the employees deaths will satisfy his lust for justice.


Seriously though, although I appreciate the fervor, neither Apple nor Microsoft NOR Google were the first in a majority of their “innovations.” I’m sure that deep down, the critical here know that. 

However, who cares? Every single person arguing for or against, one or another, act like they are patent lawyers, but I’ve never seen a compelling “no seriously, this was actually stolen” from anybody. It all comes down to “this was X person’s idea first.” Fine, but can you PROVE that it was stolen? Like actually say “we know that Y spies stole documentation” or “Z reverse engineered product in order to steal the way ____ works?” No? Then you are saying that a really good idea could only come from one person in the history of the forever? Like someone “stole” the rectangular shape, an app drawer, volume buttons, the ability to plug it into a computer, menus in apps?

Man, just get over it. Competition is healthy, and freaking out about competitors is insecurity as it’s finest. Like this video, cut to embarrass Microsoft. Or any of the videos cut to embarrass Apple, or Google, or RIM/Blackberry, or Rick Perry, or Catholicism, etc etc etc. Just get over it.

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