After all, it's been two years since the iPad was approved for use by American Airlines as a so-called Electronic Flight Bag -- replacing 40 pounds of paper maps and charts.
Microsoft's Surface 2, by contrast, has not yet been approved by the FAA. Moreover, by the company's own admission it wouldn't be fully deployed for two years, by which time Microsoft may have moved on to the Surface 3, if not the Surface 4.
"We fought hard for iPad," a disappointed Delta pilot told AppleInsider's Daniel Eran Dilger, charging that Delta's IT department was "in bed" with Microsoft.
It wouldn't be the first time.
Pressed to explain why his company went with Microsoft over Apple, a Delta spokesman said it boiled down to choosing a device that could be easily integrated into Delta's existing information technology structure, which runs on Microsoft Windows.
That's the story across much of the industry, says Christopher Dean. He's the point person for Jeppesen's FliteDeck Pro, the electronic version of its airline industry-standard "Jepp" charts.
Jeppesen's first digital products were Windows-based, but the company switched to iOS in 2010 when the iPad was released and pilots starting bringing them into the cockpit.
"I see pilots all around the world who are in love with their iPad," says Dean. "You'd have to peel it out out their hand forcibly."
But there are also a lot of pilots who grew up on Windows and, like Delta's IT managers, have been waiting for a Windows-compatible alternative to the iPad.
The Windows 8 version of FliteDeck Pro is expected to be ready next year. The company also makes a stripped-down Android product, but it has no plans to make the full-fledged FliteDeck Pro for Google's (GOOG) platform.
"The demand for iOS," says Dean, "is just too great."
Although Microsoft has been in the tablet business since 2001, starting with the pen-based Windows Tablet PC, its track record so far has not been great. That includes the Surface RT product unveiled just last year.
"Microsoft had tried to unload its unsold Surface inventory on schools," writes AppleInsider's Dilger, "but even fire sale pricing couldn't move the inventory. Last month, it began dumping the devices on education for free, calling it 'Bing for Schools.'"
Its preemptive moves don't change the fact that the company has big questions to answer.
By Kevin Kelleher, contributor
FORTUNE -- Preemption is one of the handiest tools in the art of public relations. If a company can get ahead of news -- especially not-so-good new -- it can control the tone of the conversation and even guide it in a direction that plays up the company's strengths.
The ambitious restructuring that Microsoft (MSFT) MOREJul 22, 2013 9:33 AM ET
Putting Office exclusively on Windows tablets may be a costly mistake, says analyst
FORTUNE -- Two and a half billion dollars.
That's how much Morgan Stanley's Adam Holt estimates Microsoft (MSFT) may be leaving on the table by not offering a full version of its Office suite (Word, Excel, etc.) on Apple's (AAPL) iPads.
Here how he gets that number.
For starters he estimates that Microsoft probably sold fewer than 1 million Windows-based tablets MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 14, 2013 10:04 AM ET
Apple iPhones and -- surprise -- Windows tablets, according to a new Forrester survey
FORTUNE: The graphic above comes from a survey of 9,766 so-called mobile information workers in 17 countries conducted last quarter by Forrester Research for its usual target audience: corporate chief information officers.
One of the questions Forrester was trying to answer is whether the BYOD (bring your own device) trend -- a movement that has undermined the CIOs' MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 4, 2013 1:40 PM ET
For what it's worth, iPad tweets outnumbered Kindle 7:1, Google Nexus 18:1, Surface 50:1
FORTUNE -- I can't vouch for the accuracy of the information in this chart. The nominal source -- A.X. Ian -- describes himself on Twitter and other venues as "Purveyor of pseudo-random ideas. Information massage therapist. Always prolific, seldom profound."
But the ratios square with other signs we've been seeing -- including store traffic -- and bode better MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Dec 26, 2012 5:47 PM ET
Apple dominates tablet sales. Now Microsoft is going after the iPad head on.
FORTUNE -- Apple and Microsoft's relationship has had more twists and turns than Liz and Dick's. The two have been bitter rivals, vital partners -- even coolly indifferent. Microsoft's new Surface tablet could change things again. Apple's iPad has some 55% of the market. Amazon (AMZN) and Google (GOOG) have largely offered cheaper alternatives to compete. But Microsoft MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Dec 14, 2012 5:00 AM ET
Meanwhile, 44% of tablet shoppers plan to buy an iPad versus 24% for Kindle Fire
FORTUNE -- Consumer preferences in one of this holiday's hottest categories -- tablet computers -- shifted pretty dramatically between the third and fourth quarters, according to a new survey of U.S. households with broadband access published Thursday by Parks Associates.
Among its findings:
For the first time, more U.S. broadband households plan to purchase a tablet for the holidays MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Dec 13, 2012 5:10 PM ET
A survey compared sales at an Apple Store and a Microsoft Store in the Mall of America
FORTUNE -- On Saturday we posted side-by-side videos showing Black Friday shopping activity at an Apple Store and a Microsoft Store in Lone Tree, Colo. The videos left the impression that there was a lot less shopping going in the Microsoft Store.
Thanks to Gene Munster's team at Piper Jaffray, we can support that impression MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Nov 26, 2012 6:05 AM ET
Also: Microsoft's Surface tablet reviewed, and two reasons Facebook is turning things around.
Microsoft dives deep to surface a hit [WIRED]
This is a great device. It is a new thing, in a new space, and likely to confuse many of Microsoft's longtime customers. People will have problems with applications — especially when they encounter them online and are given an option by Internet Explorer to run them, only to discover this MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Oct 24, 2012 1:54 PM ET
In just a few weeks' time, the three-way death match for the future of the mobile operating system has shifted dramatically. Here's where Apple, Google and Microsoft stand now.
By Kevin Kelleher, contributor
FORTUNE – In a world increasingly going mobile, platform is destiny. The operating system will determine who rules -- or at least who has a seat at a lavish feast. Whether manufacturing phones or tablets, selling mobile ads or MOREJul 16, 2012 8:44 AM ET
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