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Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates thinks Apple’s iPad is “frustrating” to use because it lacks a physical keyboard and doesn’t run Office. The Surface, he says, brings the “portability of the tablet but the richness of the PC” to mobile productivity.

Being a Google Apps fan, I’m obviously biased and not exactly the right guy to comment on the Office part of Bill’s comment.

Now, I’m underestimating the real world outside the Apple bubble and obviously there are heavy Office users out there who agree with Gates on Office for iPad. Regardless, you’d think Microsoft’s co-founder should know that any Bluetooth keyboard works with iPads.

On top of that, a bunch of iPad cases incorporate physical keys like NIBIQÜ’s and Logitech’s Surface-like iPad cases, the latter featuring physical keys seamlessly fused into its interior fabric. Go past the fold for the full quote and video evidence…

Gates made the comment earlier this morning on CNBC, while explaining Microsoft’s rationale for the Surface.

Here’s the full video, the iPad comment starts at 7:05 (via The Loop).

Your money quote:

But a lot of those users are frustrated because they can’t type, they can’t create documents, they don’t have Office there.

This is just wacky.

We should all go out and buy a Surface or a Surface Pro because these incorporate the Type Cover, right?

And what on Earth is up with the ‘iPad users can’ create documents” and ‘can’t type’ comment?

Logitech FabricSkin Keyboard Folio (image 002)
Logitech’s Surface-like $149 FabricSkin Keyboard Folio for the iPad.

I guess the iPad’s lack of Office and physical keyboard make it the best-selling tablet brand out there bar none. And please don’t get me started on Office.

To suggest that the iPad’s lack of Office is anyone’s fault but Microsoft’s is just misleading and nothing short of preposterous, especially when Redmond has been consistently failing to deliver Office for iOS for years now.

Last we heard, ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley learned from a reliable source that Office for iOS could make landfall next Fall. And when – or if, for that matter – Office finally hits iOS, full editing will be pretty much ruled out because Microsoft is afraid to shoot its golden goose, the desktop Office suite.

Office online on iPad
Office Online running on an iPad.

That must be the same “forward” thinking which has relegated Microsoft to an also-ran in mobile. Meanwhile, the App Store is home to some high-quality Office alternatives, like CloudOn, Google-owned Quickoffice and Documents by Readdle, to name a few.

As for the keyboard comment, it echoes what Bill’s sidekick Steve Ballmer said shortly after Steve Jobs pulled an iPhone out of his pocket at the January 2007 introduction.

“It doesn’t appeal to business customers because it doesn’t have a keyboard, which makes it a not very good email machine,” Ballmer said at the time.

So, who’s frustrated over being unable to run Office on their iPad?