In April 2012, Apple CEO Tim Cook had benignly derided Microsoft’s convertible tablets, the Surface family, saying it was like mixing “a toaster and a refrigerator,” but after having released its own iPad Pro, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella mocks Apple for the similarity between its latest tablet and the earlier derided Surface.
Four years ago, Cook had been responding to an interview question when he said customers would never like hybrid computers because it was like merging a toaster and a refrigerator. Now, Nadella is pointing out that Apple’s iPad Pro is actually like merging a toaster and a refrigerator – but he came short of saying maybe customers wouldn’t like it too.
In an interview with the Australian Financial Review, Nadella mused on the increasing success of the Surface. “Three years ago, the two-in-one as a form factor was questioned,” he said. “Does anybody need one? And now guess what, even our competition has decided that it’s not a refrigerator and a toaster, but it’s actually a two-in-one.”
Microsoft CEO felt constrained to make this point after observing that Apple claimed its iPad Pro is a computer at its annual September event, even though the company had always maintained the device is a tablet. The point here is that if Apple is not sure if iPad Pro is a computer or a tablet, wouldn’t consumers be confused more – considering the similarities between the iPad Pro and Microsoft’s Surface?
According to Nadella, the iPad Pro is actually a “two-in-one” device much like the Surface – a hybridization of a computer and a tablet, something Cook had earlier derided in 2012 and considered silly or unmarketable.
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And as if Nadella knew this time would come, Microsoft campaigned last summer with ads that showed that the iPad Pro could never replace Surface Pro 4 in any way imaginable.