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?

  • Gorgonphone

    But my ipad is easier to use than you clunky clunky odd surface that is failing just like the Zuun.. there are over 30 ipad keyboard options for ipad… and i don’t need word on it i can use my mac book pro for that..

    you surface has office and it still sucks…

    • Hey Bill Gates I am frustrated to hear your pathetic finding! Poor chap!

  • jose castro

    Microsoft sucks in general..

    • Gorgonphone

      THE XBOX is the only thing they got right and i still chose the PS3 over it..lolol

      • jose castro

        hey something we agree on haha.

      • Gorgonphone


      • jose castro

        dont get your head to big

      • felixtaf


      • Liam Mulcahy


    • King

      Only sucked when Bill Gates dropped down as CEO

      • Gorgonphone

        just like apple is a bout to suck with out Steve,,,lol

  • Not to mention Pages Keynote and Numbers (numbers < excel but still).

    • I agree with other comments saying how Microsoft sucks, but you took it one step too far. No consumer software is a match to Microsoft Office. That suite is the best that money can buy right now.

      • Sahil

        Completely agree with u.. Microsoft office > iWork..

      • Im saying thisbecause we do not have office on ios…my fault i should have made that clear

    • Honestly, from what I read, when it comes to doing behind the scenes tech work at Apple, the technicians use Microsoft Office rather than their own proprietary software. To add on, I would say that Microsoft would do themselves a huge favor by getting Office Suite to iOS.

  • Oh, OK. The lack of an keyboard is the frustration in my life.

    • jose castro

      then buy one

    • Gorgonphone

      there are soo many keyboards for the ipad its is getting silly

  • jose castro

    hahahahahahaha the video is funny, sore loser written all over him…

    • Gorgonphone

      yeah allll that damn money and they keep making failed products… so damn sad…..

      • jose castro


  • Ehm, no. Not missing this nor that.

  • jose castro

    hahahaha… its also funny that NORTON is in the background too. they also sucks big balls too hahahahha. im not a apple fan boy.. ive always never liked Microsoft even before iPhone became real.

  • Ipad is just an amazing table but surface is more like a laptop plus its table works well for bossines so im a apple fan i use my table for media quick check internet but i use my macbook air for work so surface is good product for windows guys.

    • The first time you said table I assumed you simply just missed the ‘t’; after reading your full comment I’m now convinced you must literally have an internet connected table, with a keyboard that has no punctuation.

  • Well, looks like whoever wrote this article is the one frustrated, not Bill Gates lol

  • I just installed windows on my macbook for to use a sofware only compattible with windows but windows really sucks is slow and ugry.

    • Gorgonphone

      lol yeah you need a super power full mac to run windows well cause windows code is lame.

    • I’m no Microsoft fanboy, but there’s nothing “slow” about Windows.

      • you forgot “the Amazing Windows vista” ?

      • Vista is fine now. The issue years ago was really just buggy hardware drivers, afaik. (Again, I’m no Microsoft fanboy – my main devices are a Mac and iPhone and I write apps/tweaks for both of those platforms).

      • yep, if you have an Alienware PC with 16gb of RAM and i7 Quad-core… you will not have problems with Vista.

  • felixtaf

    Yeah.. Surface – Priced like an iPad, works like a china toy… Keyboard is an optional accessory, not a necessity. Office ? Am happy with the Polaris office and for serious word processing, I will use my computer… Btw, my Targus Versavu case is 10$ (Home Depot clearance sale).

  • Ian

    I want to iSlap him…

    • Altaykai Yamada

      I want to iFuck you.

  • Windows running on an ipad? Is that picture real?

    Silly bill. Theres tons of bluetooth keyboards out there for the paddie

    • It’s real because it’s obviously a remote desktop connection to a PC

    • Yep! you can buy apps like VNC for LAN (WAN over VPN) connections, Teamviewer Pro to name a few.

  • Ernie Marin

    The reason why you buy an iPad is so that you don’t use a keyboard, because if you did then got a laptop.

  • Micaiah Martin

    I types faster on my ipad than my Mac so. Yeah don’t need a physical keyboard to make me happy.

  • dpacemaker

    So a companies first try at the tablet market and one of their first hardware products is a huge flop, but Gates wants to try and act like the best selling tablet is horrible because it lacks a keyboard. If I wanted a keyboard I would have boughten a laptop. The Surface is heavier, and most of the memory is taken up by the OS. Search for the Surface announcement fail, a video from their announcement where the Surface wouldn’t respond so the guy had to get a different one from the table. Office is a decent software and it set the bar, but there are alternatives now that make it almost obsolete. I can start a document on my iMac, save to Dropbox and finish it with QuickOffice on my awesomely light iPad. Gates is jealous that his baby (Microsoft) isn’t able to keep up with technology trends because they just entered the hardware market. Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago the MacBook Pro was designated the best laptop to run Windows? Give it up Bill, it’s over.

  • it appears Ballmer got it damn wrong. even the xbox still no match for ps3 and upcoming ps4

  • Bill Gates is frustrated because his surface has that darn fixed viewing angle kick stand that jabs you in the leg, noisy fans to keep the CPU cool and a horrible battery life.

  • Me: im frustated cos i got a surface.

  • maverickmax

    the only thing i ever liked about MS office was the assistant cuz he did some funny animations…xD

  • Cool, Billy. So tell me, how are the Surface tablets selling?

    Also Xbox > PS

  • Gates just needs to realise that HIS annoyances do not translate to the general publics.

    anyway, apple suck balls.

  • Sahil

    Bill why don’t u just sit there and do charity.. Lets not argue as to why Microsoft sucKs..

  • There is no office on the iPad cause Microsoft don’t want apple do use office .. Wasn’t there a report about this some weeks ago !?

  • Csaba Nagy

    Good thing I catch this, time to call my 3G Cellular provider to cancel the iPad Data package, haven’t used that POJ for 6 month. Terrible creativity device, I will not consider Apple’s device for purchase ever again, burned with 2 iPhone and the expensive iPad. I love MS surface pro, first release might not be perfect will see after 2-3 generation of MS Surface who is winning, Don’t even get me started on those cheap Android tablets strait out of black-market china !!

    POJ=Piece Of Junk


  • Dear Christian Zibreg, Bill is a legend and what ever he says he is right. ipad is not for business i’s more for games, Microsoft have a tablet that can be used for business and games in the same time, its a laptop and a pc in the same time :p wait untill it upgrades it’s hardware :). give microsoft time and you will see. as an IT we think before we talk but you say things as you were angry. be patient

  • dpacemaker

    When I watched it I couldn’t believe it. I’m not a fan of Microsoft anymore, my Mac has converted me, but how could you have an announcement and demonstration when it doesn’t work. Could you imagine if Jobs would have been demonstrating the 1st iPad and it all of a sudden respringed? Huge fail on Microsoft.

  • To be honest, the surface looks really cool to me, because it’s a tablet including a tablet interface, and the normal desktop environment. I have an iPad myself, and it’s cool too. Just wanted to say that I think nobody sucks, Apple and Microsoft are both doing a great job.