The comeback: Please hold for Microsoft’s retort


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Hang on, everyone, because it took Microsoft four years but they finally have a comeback to a remark that Tim Cook made.

Paul Thurrott informs us that the jerk store is holding on line one: “Satya Nadella Toasts Tim Cook.”

How nice! What was the toast? “You, sir, are a gentleman and a scholar! To your health!”

Eh, no, not that kind of toasting.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has finally taken Apple CEO Tim Cook to task for his hypocritical comments about 2-in-1 PCs.

Please explain what, in fact, you are currently discussing, Willis.

And it’s about freaking time.

Indeed! Those sick burns from 2012 will not stand!

What was it that Cook said that it took Microsoft four years to come up with a retort to?

“You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator, but those things are probably not going be pleasing to the user.”

Ah, the toasterfridge! Remember the toasterfridge? We were so young. So full of hope! Microsoft full of the hope that it would be relevant again. But, hey, they are. So, good for them.

Which explains why Mr. Cook’s Apple released its own 2-in-1 computer, the iPad Pro, just three years later.

OK, yes, Apple now sells an iPad with a keyboard. But there’s still a real difference here. Apple makes two different operating systems — one optimized for touch, the other for keyboard and mouse input. While putting a keyboard on an iPad and the Touch Bar on the MacBook Pro converges them slightly, they’re still distinctly separate. Microsoft, meanwhile, makes a screeching two-headed gorgon of an operating system, an awkward cacophony of input methods and user interfaces that attempts to serve two masters, but does not serve either of them well.

See the difference?

So Apple, like Microsoft and the PC industry before it, saw convergence as the solution. And the iPad was converged to be more like a 2-in-1 PC. To be more—a lot more—like Surface.

Yes, the iPad was made more like the device that copied it. Good comeback.

Microsoft is making nice devices. The only problem is that when you power them on they still run Windows 10.

“Take Surface,” [Nadella] said, referring to boldness and risk. “Three years ago, the 2-in-1 as a form factor was questioned. Does anybody need one? And now guess what, even our competition has decided that it’s not a refrigerator and a toaster but it’s actually a 2-in-1.”

But it isn’t. Putting a keyboard on it doesn’t change the fact that the primary user interaction is done by and designed for touch. You can keep calling it a 2-in-1 but that doesn’t mean it’s like the Surface.

As for competition, Microsoft’s is far less Apple than it is Windows OEMs. The Macalope would argue that the Surface’s success to date is not so much from people who are dying to touch their Windows screens than it is people who would rather have well-built devices that aren’t stuffed with bloatware. Which Apple has known for years.

This shows me a couple of things.

One, Mr. Cook’s words had their intended hurtful impact…

Oh, my god. Will the powerful CEO who makes millions of dollars ever recover from this slight?

Two, and this is no surprise, Nadella is a class act. He could have gone a lot further in his calling out of Mr. Cook–for example, by naming names…

Cook didn’t name names, either, but he is apparently a horrible, mud-slinging bully.

While Nadella did, finally, respond to Cook’s comment of four years ago, he didn’t so much toast it as he fridged it.

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