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Microsoft tries to get Tim Cook to switch to Surface Pro 4

Commentary: Microsoft's sponsorship of the China Development Forum allows the company to leave an expensive gift for every attendee. Guess who's among them.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Apple CEO Tim Cook

After the conference, Cook gets a look at Twitter.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

He's likely inspected it in private.

After all, he did once criticize it as being "diluted." As well as calling it a cross between a fridge and a toaster.

But there was Apple CEO Tim Cook at the China Development Forum, which concluded Monday. And there was the sponsor placing a free laptop at the seat of each of the 300 attendees.

Well, when I say "laptop," I mean Microsoft's Surface Pro 4. This is the machine that Microsoft uses in ads to mock the iPad Pro.

Still, on Twitter there has emerged a picture of Tim Cook's nameplate with the Surface perched enticingly by it.

Hyken Wong, who posted the image, added this helpful thought: "Haha, All the SP4 there in Development Forums, even Tim Cook has to use it."

I contacted Apple to ask whether Cook actually did use his competitor's product. I'll update, should I hear. I can't imagine for a moment that he would have trusted it. For security reasons, you understand.

I also contacted Microsoft to see whether, by any odd chance, the company has any images of Cook using, stroking or even snorting at his free gift. Again, I will rush to include these, should they exist.

It seems, from other images of the conference, that few if any of the attendees actually used the machines.

CEOs are rarely complimentary about each other's products. In public, that is. That's not to say companies don't examine them carefully back at the office and cheerily steal any ideas they find uplifting.

More than one human being surely chuckled when Apple came out with a stylus -- I do, of course, mean a Pencil (after all, Samsung had gotten there a bit earlier). And more than two humans, I suspect, giggle because Apple now encourages you to use the iPad Pro with a keyboard to make it look, oh, just a little like the Surface Pro 4.

Of course it could be that Cook took one look at his Surface and decided it would make a perfect kickstand for his iPad.

After all, CNN's election experts took that approach in 2014.

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