Apple’s Tim Cook Calls Surface a “Compromised, Confusing Product”

For the first time in a long time, Apple may be feeling threatened by the competition. Windows 8 launched to the public today, and with it, so did Microsoft's 'Surface with Windows RT' tablet, Redmond's consumer oriented device and answer to the iPad. But is it a good enough answer?

Predictably, Apple CEO Tim Cook doesn't think so. What's a little unusual is that he's begun talking smack about Surface, a tactic Apple typically reserves for humorous advertising campaigns, like the infamous Mac vs PC commercials.

"It's a fairly compromised, confusing product," Cook said during an earnings call, according to Business Insider.


His critical remarks were in response to a question about Microsoft's attempt to compete in the tablet market. Cook admitted he hasn't actually played with a Surface device, but was basing his opinion on things that he's read. He also emphasized that it's extremely challenging deciding which tradeoffs to make when building a product, something he doesn't believe Microsoft did very well since Surface attempts to be many things (tablet, notebook, content consumption device, productivity tool, and so forth).

"I suppose you could design a car that flies and floats, but it wouldn't do those things very well," Cook added.

Surface RT starts at $499 for the 32GB model, and unlike the iPad it's going up against, it boasts a full size USB port and a microSD card slot. Other specs include a 10.6-inch display, 2GB of RAM, NVIDIA T30 processor, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, and front- and rear-facing 720p HD cameras.
omegadraco 2 years ago

Sounds like he is just scared that Microsoft is using Apple tactics, controlling the hardware for their OS.

rapid1 2 years ago

For where the market is right now I actually think the Surface is a great do everything type device and see how someone would like it especially among general consumers. I deal with consumers almost specifically in residential setting as that is where I decided to aim my little start up. So where someone very technically versed in product as Mr Cook obviously would be considered I can also see where he would not see the reason someone would want one, but Apple is the one who brought much of this to market as a popular device which fit that customer platform almost specifically. There are some great innovations as well and I think Microsoft is late to this area where it has generally been Apples stomping grounds in many ways up until now. I know I know Android has been there and Windows Phone to a minimal degree as well but the were not and until Yesterday with Windows phone focused projects. Google focuses on there areas and of course all the manufacturers focus on there little slice of the pie. Much like the PC market back in the day until a major centering event happened (the release of Windows by Bill Gates and his buddies prior to or causing the introduction of Microsoft) computers were all over the place and singular in a way. After that intro then Apple had competition which until then it did not. I can also see why he would not want it to succeed as well because of those things.

RTietjens 2 years ago

For once, I have to agree with Mr. Cook. If you want Windows on a portable device, get a Windows Phone (ick!) or a laptop PC. The Surface tablet is neither fish nor fowl.

ricofrost 2 years ago

Clearly apple are scared of it, Ipad sales are down so quick start dissing other brands.

People are finally going to get a tablet that can do it all, of cause apple are scared of it. Out of the box it has more then the IPad does and the ipad is what up to number 3... usb... microSD... video out... I rest my case.

I wanted to get a tablet but both apple and androids tablets didnt not excite me enough to get one, I'm hoping to get my surface next week :)

sevags 2 years ago

Rtietjens.... What kind of flawed logic is that??? I can then argue that if you want OSX on a portable device get an iPhone! Right? Because who needs an iPad.... But apparently the vast majority of people don't think like you and have bought iPads so it's reasonable to assume that there is a market for the Surface a lot side WP8 and windows8 desktops. Even more so than the iPad because even windows8RT on a tablet is more powerful and a lot closer to the desktop experience than iOS on either the iPhone or iPad compared to OSX on the desktop.

MayhemMatthew 2 years ago

"tablet, notebook, content consumption device, productivity tool, and so forth"

Erm, what? Tablet and notebook are objects while content consumption device and productivity tool are uses... That doesnt even fit. Yeah, MS wants it to do it all and maybe it will be able to. Dont judge unless you have played with it. Like vaginas.

Manduh 2 years ago

Has HH done a comparison article with benchmarks yet? I'd like to see an honest, unbiased one done if you haven't yet :)

digitaldd 2 years ago

I actually agree with Tim Cook here Windows 8 is confusing for most consumers who won't know that for maybe $150-200 more they could get a tablet running Windows 8 Pro instead of Windows RT and have the option to fallback to standard Windows apps if they can't find any suitable WinRT apps for the device. The hardware for Surface is quite nice but until the apps are there for everything you need its just a toy.

realneil 2 years ago

I think tablets are a cash cow for all of the companies making them. They ask too much for all of them, and they are all not so fantastic as I see it.

They're just re-inventing the wheel over and over again.

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