Because we don't have nearly enough megalomaniacal corporations in the technology industry lately, Microsoft has decided to go into the Tablet business. Their product will no doubt elevate treating the customer like the product to entirely new level, and bring shame and embarrassment to Apple, Google and Facebook, who have based their business models around a similar idea, but must have left just a few drops of blood un-sucked from their user's veins.
Apple, as you are no doubt aware, has centered their "consumer as product" business around the seamless integration of the user's entire life under their I-tunes cloud. The client software is automatically updated every 30 seconds, and so far includes the integration of you online purchases, offline purchases, restaurant choices, clothing selection, hairstyle changes, bill payments, medical records, dating history, sexual preferences, golf scores, tax returns, and travel arrangements. The updates are specifically designed to help guide the user to a more enhanced Apple experience, and the Apple stores are designed to put you in touch with just the kind of people to help you handle your entire life, in the Apple way.
Apple wants faithful unthinking zombies who have embraced the Apple way. But Google is content to simply have obedient slaves. They've focused their 'customer as product' business on tracking of your physical location through your cell phone, and any other electronic signatures you may accidentally leave behind. You have the option of turning off your notification of the tracking, but not the tracking itself which is integrated into the core of all Google products. In addition, Google has also dispatched tens of thousands of 360 degree cameras which will map your entire world. They map your home, your office, your bedroom, your medicine cabinet, your refrigerator, and are working on an even smaller more portable camera to help you map your colon. All of this information will allow google to custom target advertising - which explains why so many people are now reporting seeing google ads for nothing but sexual enhancement drugs, and herpes medications.
Facebook has taken a subtly different track and has focused exclusively on the difference between how your 'friends' see you as compared to how you see yourself. They not only track your entire relationship history, but also track all the things you say you like, and all the things your online habits indicate that you actually like. Which has made it ground zero for online porn advertising, and a thinly veiled proxy for online dating sites. They put special effort into the online stalker market, by connecting you (like it or not) to people from your past that you thought you'd managed to evade. Their goal has always been to take all aspects of the social experience online, so they are devoting most of their effort into enabling users to lie online effectively, particularly about their weight, income, and general success level.
Microsoft has a long history of reorganizing the Windows OS experience every few years to confound those users who have learned how to solve the problems the last update created for them. While these updates represent nothing but a nuisance to its users, it represents a great boon to Microsoft who has spent the last 20 years trying to exploit is pseudo-monopoly status to turn itself from a company which sells products to a company which sells software as a service. This is a terrible thing for Microsoft users, but like most slaves they have grown accustomed to their chains. These days Microsoft's businesses clients are happy to "upgrade" to a new version so long as Microsoft denies them support for the old one.
But Microsoft has recently become aware that if you keep beating a dog, sooner or later it won't play with you anymore. While their business users now wear their chains proudly, they've begun to lose ground to Apple and Google in the individual computing space and in cell phones. This Pad effort must be an attempt to get some of those dogs back on the leash.
Microsoft systems have always been second rate designs in terms of security, efficiency and speed. But they have been relatively easy to use. The "We know better than you idiots do" design philosophy of Microsoft has never worked well in environments where users want an individual experience, or where they have a higher than average intelligence. And since they've shown nothing but open contempt for their users for more than 20 years, I don't expect it will be a success on their part. They aren't clever enough at design to do better, and their "loyal customers" are really only loyal because they have no choice. So I doubt their dreams of global Pad domination will be well received. At least not until they stop supporting PC's.