Microsoft is always behind, never behind

Pundits are complaining that Microsoft’s tablet OS isn’t coming until fall 2012.  There has been a lot of backlash about MS being late to many games (tablets, smartphones, etc). 

Microsoft is never late to the game.  Microsoft’s Tablet PC was first released ten years ago.  Their first smartphone was in 2002.  Microsoft is never late.

…they just need someone else to show them the right way.  Both Tablet PC and Smartphone 2002 were hampered by the hardware: resistive touch screens with a stylus for the tablet and cramped screens with a d-pad and softkeys for the phone.  Fantastically, the solution for both was the large, capacitive touchscreen.  Unfortunately, Apple pioneered both, making Microsoft look like both the laggard and the copycat.

Microsoft had a decent chunk of the smartphone market with Windows Mobile and most of the tablet market with Tablet PC.  Both were niche markets, in comparison to today, and eroded mostly because the solutions didn’t meet consumer needs.  Apple (and others) have a huge head start in these markets and Microsoft is having trouble catching up.  WP7 is a great OS but it would have been fantastic if iOS didn’t exist.  Unfortunately, without the ideas put forth by iOS, WP7 wouldn’t exist.  I’m worried the next MS tablet solution will suffer the same fate.

Based on the rumors, the new tablet UI is tile-based, just like WP7.  Now MS is copying from two sources, Apple and themselves.