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Microsoft: You've got it all WRONG. It's Apple's iPad playing catch-up with our Surface

Corporate chap bemoans Cupertino's 'reality distortion field'

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Microsoft's corporate mouthpiece and score-settler Frank Shaw has launched a war of words against the iPad, saying that compared to the Surface's pricing and productivity potential, Apple's slablet is "playing catch-up".

Blogging from Nokia World in Abu Dhabi, Shaw - who is perhaps best known for griping about what he saw as unfair press coverage on Windows 8 - was commenting on new slabs from Microsoft and Apple this week.

The post was titled "Apples and oranges", but he should probably have squeezed a bit of lemon in there too.

World + dog have been unimpressed by Microsoft's first shot at the tablet market, but with the new additions Shaw is out to right some literary wrongs, as he sees them, which appeared in publications after product launches.

"[It] seems like the reality distortion field typically generated by an Apple event has extended beyond Cupertino," he said, clearly envious Surface launches don't attract the same hysteria as Apple.

"Let me cut to the chase," he added, "Surface and Surface 2 both include Office… for free and are priced below the iPad 2 and the iPad Air respectively."

Of course that doesn't do much to negate the fact that, in the first generation machines, not many business people or consumers wanted a Surface RT (now the 2) or the Pro, which is why Microsoft wrote down stock by $900m.

'We literally wrote the book on getting things done'

Shaw said "too many people" are forced to carry two devices "dealing with extra cost, weight and complexity" because the iPad is a content-consumption and not a creation device.

"Helping people be productive on a tablet is a little trickier," said Shaw, but he reckons that with Office, a keyboard and the ability to use apps and documents simultaneously, Microsoft has cracked it with Surface.

He added: "We literally wrote the book on getting things done."

Now someone has got to tell the rest of the world, as a relatively small bunch of big channel hitters maybe just isn't enough - though a lack of channel partners has not hurt Apple, in the consumer space anyway.

Shaw said rivals are now quivering in the shadow of the new Surface machines, which is why, he claims, Apple dropped the fee on the iWork suite of desktop apps.

"Now, since iWork has never got much traction, and was always priced as an after thought, its hardly that surprising or significant a move. And it doesn't change the fact that its harder to get work done on a device that lacks precision input and a desktop for true side-by-side multitasking," he wrote.

"So, when I see Apple drop the price of their struggling, lightweight productivity apps, I don't see a shot across our bow, I see an attempt to play catch-up," he said.

It is incredible that Microsoft has gained lost ground in such a short space of time, at least according to Shaw, because just months ago the UK organ told us the firm was 18 months behind Apple et al.

Microsoft should perhaps be directing their ammunition more at Google, which is already has the biggest tab installed base and is on the cusp of becoming a more serious player in the enterprise.

We've asked our pals at Apple for a comment, and when if they respond we'll update. ®

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