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Touting Windows 8, Microsoft pokes Apple's iPad again over multitasking


Still looking to carve out a space for itself in the new wave of mobile computing, Microsoft is once again taking shots at Apple's iPad, this time pointing out Windows 8 devices' ability to handle multiple tasks at the same time.

The new ad is pushing no single device in particular, but instead focuses on the multitasking capabilities of the Windows 8 platform, which Microsoft designed to address both the needs of traditional computer users and the growing number of consumers who prefer the touch interfaces seen on tablets and smartphones. In the spot, a Windows 8 users is seen videoconferencing with his superior and at the same time checking another app for vital information, while his somewhat addled, iPad owning competitor can't do both things at the same time.

The multitasking feature Windows 8 brings to the table is relatively novel among mobile platforms, though not entirely unheard of. Apple's iPad doesn't allow users to have more than one app on screen at a time, but a number of Android device manufacturers — including Samsung with its Galaxy Note and Galaxy S devices — have enabled similar but more limited interfaces.

The ad is just the latest attack piece from Microsoft, which has taken to making fun of the limitations of Apple devices as the Redmond company finds itself in the unfamiliar position of trying to catch up. The PC market, a market Microsoft still dominates, isin a steep decline as smartphones and tablets grow in popularity, and Windows 8 has so far failed to reassure manufacturers that it can reverse this trend.

Microsoft launched Windows 8 with a $1 billion marketing campaign, showing off the devices of its manufacturing partners, as well as its own Surface devices alongside Windows Phone 8, also meant to make space for Windows in the smartphone and tablet computing world.

The campaign's results have been middling at best. Windows 8 tablets have grown from zero to seven percent of shipped devices, but they still lag far behind Apple, which held roughly half the tablet market in April.

As of late, Microsoft has been targeting Apple specifically, pointing out the limitations of iOS devices versus their Windows counterparts. Prior to this most recent commercial, Microsoft used Apple's digital assistant Siri to highlight iOS' multitasking limitations, painting the bestselling Apple tablet as a mere consumption and game device instead of a true platform for productivity.