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Bill Gates with some early Tablet PC machines  (Source: Fortune Magazine)

HP reportedly axed the current iteration of the Slate last week.
Bill Gates says that Microsoft has some tablet projects in the works

Last week was a bad week for those awaiting new tablets based on Microsoft operating systems. First, we learned that Microsoft had canceled an internal project called Courier. Courier was a design concept that featured two 7" display screens in a "folding book" layout in addition to both touch and pen-based input.

Just hours later, a report suggested that Hewlett Packard was canceling plans to bring its Windows 7-based Slate to the market in light of its recent acquisition of Palm. Reasons cited for HP's reversal included the fact that Windows 7 wasn't ideal for a touch-only platform and that the Slate's Atom processor was simply too power hungry.

Despite these high-profile projects cancellations, Bill Gates recently stated in a Fox Business Network interview that Microsoft is still firmly committed to future tablet devices according to TechFlash.

“Microsoft has a lot of different tablet projects that we're pursuing," Gates explained. Gates also continues to cling to the idea that a pen-based input system is still needed for tablet devices -- at least for some markets.

"We think that work with the pen that Microsoft pioneered will become a mainstream for students. It can give you a device that you can not only read, but also create documents at the same time.”

It should come as no surprise that Microsoft would continue to pour money into research and development for tablets. Rival Apple is singing the praises of its recently launched iPad. Apple has already managed to sell over one million iPads in less than a month.

“Demand continues to exceed supply and we’re working hard to get this magical product into the hands of even more customers," remarked Apple CEO Steve Jobs yesterday.

The success of Apple's iPad isn't lost on Gates; he had some kind words to say about Apple's "magical" device. "Yes, I think both in general and in the specific, Apple's done a great job," Gates told Fox Business News.

Two weeks ago, Bill opinion was a bit more muted on the iPad. "It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that," Gates told Phil Bronstein of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Microsoft's Courier projected was drooled over by many in the tech community, so hopefully the boys in Redmond are cooking up something that is equally impressive. Apple definitely isn't standing still, HP is going to go full bore with tablets now that it has some valuable IP from Palm, and Google is working on a tablet of its own.  





"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation













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