In risky new tack, Microsoft stacks Surface against iPad

Microsoft is taking a chance by comparing Surface RT with the iPad. The comparisons -- even those listed by Microsoft -- aren't that favorable.

Microsoft has launched a Web page that compares the iPad 4 to Surface RT and other tablets. But not all comparisons are in Microsoft's favor.
Microsoft has launched a Web page that compares the iPad 4 to Surface RT and other tablets. But not all comparisons are in Microsoft's favor. Microsoft

Microsoft's "iPad vs. Windows" campaign now includes iPad vs. Surface RT. Is Microsoft picking the right fight?

On the back of new ads that zero on the iPad's (purported) weaknesses, Microsoft has thrown up a comparison page that stacks the iPad against four Windows 8 tablets.

Microsoft isn't using the Surface RT in the anti-iPad ads. Rather, the Asus VivoTab is its weapon of choice.

But Surface RT is front and center on the comparison page. One small problem: the (highly-selective) Microsoft feature chart doesn't necessarily portray Surface RT as the clear winner (see image above).

On the first three -- thinness, battery life, and weight -- the iPad wins. Scrolling down the page, Microsoft not surprisingly focuses on microSD/USB slots, Microsoft Office RT (standard on Surface RT), and multitasking.

And because it's comparing the 32GB Surface RT (there's no 16GB Surface RT) with the 32GB iPad 4, it claims a $100 price advantage.

Of course, Microsoft doesn't mention all of the apps available on the iPad and relative dearth of key apps on RT (remember RT is not backward compatible with Windows 7). And doesn't list other key features like the iPad 4's 2,048x1,536 resolution display vs. the Surface RT's 1,366 x768 screen.

The HP Envy x2 -- also featured on the page -- is probably a better device to compare with the iPad. Its combined tablet and base battery life is rated at 14 hours and the tablet is thinner than the iPad. With 64GB, the Envy x2 is also priced at $599 versus $699 for the 64GB iPad.

The Envy x2 also runs all of those old Windows applications.

The Asus VivoTab Smart and Dell XPS 10 and are also stacked up against the iPad on Microsoft's new page.

The XPS 10 beats all the other 10-inch class tablets on price: it's now only $299.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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