Microsoft Unveils Tablet; Apple Snobs Flood Twitter

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Apple ( AAPL) longs play for the type of team you love to hate.

They're akin to Scott Hartnell of the Philadelphia Flyers. Or, for you real diehards, the trademark gnat, Alex Burroughs of the Vancouver Canucks. These are the types of players you love to hate. They take cheap shots and then throw their hands up proclaiming innocence. Even though you "hate" them with a passion, you have respect for them. You would take them on your team any day of the week.

In the NBA, they're LeBron James or Kobe Bryant. In baseball, they're the Yankees if you're a Red Sox fan. Or the Red Sox (when they were good), if you're a Yankees fan.

The arrogance of permabulls who have seen their beloved stock return 83%, 114% and 376% over the last one, two and five years, respectively, was out in full force and on proud display before, during and after Microsoft's Surface tablet announcement.

It started early in the day with a mid-afternoon Tweet from Dave Pell in San Francisco deploying Twitter for Mac: The Microsoft special announcement is still several hours away. They're waiting for a laptop to reboot. Admittedly, that's pretty funny. It's one of the better pieces of high humor at Microsoft's ( MSFT) expense from Twitter on Monday.

Business Insider's Henry Blodget could barely contain himself, repeatedly referring to the Surface tablet as the "Microsoft iPad." Very original. Even TheStreet's own Robert Weinstein got in on the act with this gem: $MSFT New Microsoft Surface Tablet To Come Pre-Loaded With Solitaire. So very witty.

How about a couple more? Here's a Tweet from a guy who claims he has been nominated for an Oscar, Tim Feeny: The new Microsoft Surface is going to revolutionize the way tablets freeze and crash. And, last but not least, from Will Shipley, another San Franciscan using Twitter for Mac: "Guys, we need to build on the incredible success of our 'Surface' brand name to leverage into a new market!" -nobody.

Classic. But what does it all mean?

I lived in San Francisco between 1999 and 2006. I go back many times a year. That place helped shape who I am. I love it. Now, I live in an equally elitist enclave packed with affluent whites and Asians -- Santa Monica.

Unlike the many folks who Tweet on their MacBooks from hipster hangouts such as Ritual Coffee Roasters in the Mac-infested Mission District of San Francisco, I can distinguish who I am at heart and what I love about places like San Francisco and Santa Monica from the reality that exists in most of the rest of the world. We are not a nation (or a world, for that matter) of coffeehouse dwelling, fixed gear-riding, Volvo-driving, well-educated snobs with way too much disposable income.

While it's fun to validate one another's identity on Twitter by chiding Microsoft and putting Apple on a pedestal of condescending arrogance, it's quite a bit more useful to put things in perspective.

The Surface tablet looks pretty nice. It will prompt a few people to forgo the next iPad in favor of it. But not enough to matter. That's not Microsoft's market for this thing. It cannot be. And it knows it.

Instead, Microsoft finally introduced a device -- which is really a hybrid -- that can be effectively marketed to that middle ground consumer as well as enterprise. That large swath of the world that, for one reason or another, simply will not make the switch to Mac. They'll buy iPods, iPhones and iPads, but they'll never buy a Mac.

The Surface tablet can replace the PC in a way that, thus far, iPad cannot. It will allow you to not only use the ubiquitous Microsoft Office, but use it efficiently and effectively. That's one reason Microsoft slapped that spiffy looking keyboard on the thing.

And it leads me to believe that, if Microsoft is really serious about this venture, there is no way it lets that iPad-compatible version of Office get anywhere near Cupertino.

This is not a game changer. But, it's only the beginning. SmartGlass. Surface. They'll have more. And it will be enough to make a big difference and gobble up some formidable mobile market share.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
At the time of publication, the author was long MSFT.