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Bill Gates: iPad users frustrated, need the Surface

In an appearance on CNBC, the Microsoft chairman says that iPad users are suffering and need the things that the Surface can bring.

Prescient or envious?
Weineon/YouTube Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

The legion of unhappy iPad users is vast and growing.

They picket Cupertino daily, protesting that Apple make urgent changes to a device that really is substandard. They are very mad and they just can't take it anymore.

No, no, this is not my observation. It's my imagination of Bill Gates' imagination.

For in an appearance on CNBC on Monday, Microsoft's chairman explained very patiently that the iPad is a hive of pain.

I am grateful to the Loop for espying this footage and not using the word "loopy."

Gates told CNBC that Microsoft is ahead of the game with Windows 8. This "takes the benefits of a tablet and the benefits of a PC and it's able to support both of those." (Gates' comments begin around the 7:30 mark in the video.)

This leads him to the argument that his company is ahead in merging the benefits of the two forms and ahead of Apple in its thinking.

Until now, the tablet market, he said, has been dominated by the iPad.

"But a lot of those users are frustrated because they can't type, they can't create documents, they don't have Office there," he said.

Ergo, the implication is, they should buy a Surface or a Surface Pro. Indeed, the strong suggestion is that the iPad should be like the Surface. Why didn't Apple think of that?

Some might find a small difficulty with these thoughts. These frustrated people seem to not, as yet, be entirely enamored with either Windows 8 or the Surface.

There are those who describe Windows 8 as a "flop."

Sales of the Surface seem to not have been speedy, though the introduction of the Surface Pro has added some momentum.

It is, of course, possible that Microsoft will soon enjoy an explosion of success in these areas.

But Gates' heart has never been taken by the iPad.

When it launched in 2010, he offered these words: "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."

This prognostication was supplemented by: "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 wish Microsoft had done it.'"

As the months and years roll on, I wonder how many people at Apple will look at the Surface and suddenly mutter: "I wish we'd done that."