Picking up on Harry Marks's questions regarding Microsoft's tablet announcement

Harry Marks has posted a nice list of questions on his site Curious Rat, that he was left with after yesterday's presentation by Microsoft.

Not answering the most basic questions regarding a new device of this kind, like say " What is it going to cost?" and "How long does it typically run on one charge?" fills me with a sense of foreboding.

The thing that really angered me, though, was this:

Two separate processor architectures (Intel i5 and ARM) will give developers two separate platforms on which to build apps. Do they build for legacy Windows first, then if there’s time/resources, Windows RT? Or do they build for Windows RT and leave old-timey Windows in the past?

It shows that (1) Microsoft still hasn't developed the balls to say goodbye to the legacy crap that's been holding them back for almost a decade now, and (2) these things have little chance of becoming actual competitors to the iPad.

I predict that the only software good enough to compete with iPad apps will run on the ARM tablet; which requires developers with a willingness to do the legwork on this new platform and the slightest hint of what good UI design looks like. I hope for the sake of customers and Microsoft, that Redmond will provide developers with a good SDK for Windows RT applications and even better support.

If that doesn't happen — and I'm quite sure it won't — we'll end up with a Windows 8 tablet that isn't better than a 10-year-old Compaq TC1100 running Windows XP. Why? Because most companies and lazy independent developers will stick to their guns and continue to build powerhungry, unoptimised, legacy crap that barely even runs on the Windows 8 tablet under the guise of offering "the full Windows experience".

The only way Microsoft can achieve any relevance in the tablet/post-PC market, is if they're willing to drag their customers and developers — especially the corporate ones — kicking and screaming into the current decade.

Alex Hoffmann @mangochutney