Former Windows Boss On What Microsoft Thought Of The iPad

Steven Sinofsky

Remember Steven Sinofsky? Former Windows chief? Well, he is here with a timely post on what Microsoft was thinking when the iPad officially saw daylight a decade ago.

Yes, the tablet is now 10 years old.

Steve Jobs changed the tablet game on January 27, 2010 when he introduced the iPad. And Sinofsky who was on the Windows team has some interesting memories of how people inside Microsoft saw this new device.

Steve Jobs iPad

For starters, the unveil took many a folk by surprise.

Sinofsky admits that the iPad was as much a challenge as it was magical, and the success of iPhone had actually blinded Microsoft as to where Apple was heading. Redmond itself was fixated on desktop software, pen, and the convergence of the two.

Microsoft had been anticipating a cheap pen-based Mac to compete with the Windows-based netbooks that were selling well back then. Instead, Jobs unveiled what was billed as a third category of device between a smartphone and a laptop.

As Sinofsky explains:

“The iPad and iPhone were soundly existential threats to Microsoft’s core platform business. Without a platform Microsoft controlled that developers sought out the soul of the company was ‘missing.’”

Of course, we all know the story from there.

Microsoft responded to the iPad with its own tablet hardware, the Surface RT. It was as much a direct response to the Apple tablet, as it was frustration of its PC partners failing to build a competitor. In fact, the company actually kept it a secret from its partners until the last minute.

As for Sinofsky, well, he left the company less than a month after the launch of Windows 8, amid an executive shakeup and personality clashes within the ranks.

Still, good times, those were!

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