Bill Gates admits that Apple’s first tablet was better than his.
Gates was a guest on Charlie Rose last night where he talked about the tablet wars and Windows 8.
Rose asked Gates, “You thought about a tablet and a touch system way before Steve Jobs?”
“Way too early,” Gates responded.
“That was the problem? You were way too early?” Rose asked.
“Well, I think there was a few things done differently to get to critical mass. What you see is this phenomena where when you get a device to critical mass, you get applications written to take advantage of that, then you get advantage in the hardware so you can bring the cost down.”
Gates first demonstrated a tablet PC way back in 2000 and released a tablet OS version of Windows in 2005. Lenovo even built a tablet based on it.
Today, Gates remembers those efforts as “almost good enough.”
He told Rose about Microsoft’s first tablets versus the iPad: “What you see is something that is almost good enough that is forgotten for all time. Then the thing that just crossed that threshold — even though it came later — goes up and is gigantic.”
Rose pressed Gates to say why Jobs was able to make the iPad so successful when Microsoft’s first tablets flopped.
“He did some things better than I did. His timing in terms of when it came out, the engineering work, just the package that was put together. The tablets we had done before, weren’t as thin, they weren’t as attractive as what came along,” Gates was forced to admit.
But he thinks that’s about to change with Windows 8 and Microsoft’s Surface tablets.
“Now Microsoft has something that may change the rules again,” he declares.