Sometimes it's hard to let go of the past. And sometimes it's impossible.
While Microsoft toyed with the idea of tablets for a very long time, somehow, it never managed to find the right creative construction to make an impact on our brittle society.
So how, then, did Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates feel when he saw his longtime adversary, Steve Jobs, hype the hope for the iPad? It was as if he was wallowing in a bath of indifference, it seems.
In an interview with BNET blogger Brent Schlender, Gates seemed to believe that his original concept of a tabletlike device remains solid.
"You know, I'm a big believer in touch and digital reading, but I still think that some mixture of voice, the pen, and a real keyboard--in other words, a Netbook--will be the mainstream on that," Gates said, according to Schlender's Wednesday account.
A pen? Really? A pen? Like the ones engineers carry in the top pockets of their sleeveless shirts?
The conclusion Gates reached should reassure everyone at Microsoft: "It's not like I sit there and feel the same way I did with iPhone, where I say, 'Oh my God, Microsoft didn't aim high enough.' It's a nice reader, but there's nothing on the iPad I look at and say, 'Oh, I.'"
I wonder, though, in the months to come, how many people at Microsoft will wish Microsoft had, indeed, done something like it--perhaps a few years ago too.
While Microsoft can rightly be admired for many of its achievements, wasn't it in 2000 that Bill Gatesmight be the coming thing? Well, this with a pen, that is.