“That tablet thing? Yeah, we’ll get back to you on that.” That’s a
crude but fairly accurate encapsulation of the attitude Microsoft,
Intel, and Advanced Micro Devices have toward the iPad and the
tablet market in general.
Why the cavalier attitude? Before I defer to the opinion of an IDC
analyst I interviewed (below), here’s one pretty obvious reason
I’ll put forward. All three companies look at their revenue
streams — traditional PC hardware and software on laptops,
desktops, and servers — and come to the conclusion that the
tablet is a marginal market. A deceptively accurate conclusion,
because at this point in time — and even 12 months out — the
tablet is marginal compared with the gargantuan laptop, desktop,
and server markets.
An interesting take, but I disagree. I think Microsoft and Intel are both taking the iPad’s success extremely seriously. It may be a small market, as of today, but the trend line is heading north at a very steep angle. I think it’s a case where you can’t take what Microsoft and Intel say about it at face value. Intel has no processor to power an iPad-class device. Microsoft has no OS to run an iPad-class device. Most worrying for these companies may not be the iPad itself, but the fact that iPad competitors — scant though they are, as of today — aren’t running Intel processors or Microsoft software.