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Says that his company is about to step up their efforts

It's no secret that Microsoft's tablet efforts are somewhat of a mess right now. After scrapping its much anticipated Courier concept, Bill Gates assured Microsoft's fans that his company hadn't given up on tablets -- but that didn't stop several key players from the tablet team from jumping ship.

Now Microsoft is left staring at Apple's fiscal third quarter, which featured sales of 3.27 million iPads.  Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer commented on a recent call to analysts [DOCX], "Apple has done an interesting job of putting together a synthesis and putting a product out, and in which they've -- they sold certainly more than I'd like them to sell, let me just be clear about that. We think about that. We think about that in competitive sense."

Ballmer made it clear that his company is not interested in pursuing a separate OS for tablets like Apple (the iPad uses a variant of the same tweaked and stripped down version of OS X found in the iPad).  He states, "We’re coming.  We’re coming full guns. The operating system is called Windows."

Windows tablets will soon get a boost from Intel's upcoming
Oak Trail low power CPU that's perfect for mobile applications, according to Ballmer.  Oak Trail is Intel's name for its upcoming successor to the Atom series of processors which will launch in early 2011.  Among other things it features full 1080p video and HDMI support, all while reportedly cutting power consumption 50 percent.

Ballmer insists that Windows tablets are just around the river bend, stating, "Some of you will say, well, when? When? And I say, As soon as they're ready. They'll be shipping as soon as they are ready. And it is job one urgency around here."

The real question, though, might be -- who?  ASUS has already ditched Windows CE for Linux in its smaller upcoming tablet (the larger 12.1" still presumably uses Windows 7) and HP is using webOS from recently acquired Palm instead of Windows 7.  That leaves a handful of other players -- MSI, Lenovo, Acer, and Dell (among others).  However, some of those -- like Dell -- are considering instead jumping ship to Google's Android OS.

At this point it's anybody's game to step up and challenge Apple.  Windows 7, webOS, and Android seem the top contenders.  The first Android tablet (or Mobile Internet Device, if you prefer), the Dell Streak, will reportedly hit before the end of the month in the U.S.  A 5-inch model will come first, followed by others.

With Android being the first to hit the market, Microsoft may be left vying for third place in the tabletsphere.  And that's something that's bound to get Ballmer real worked up.



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Word
By damianrobertjones on 7/30/2010 9:45:19 AM , Rating: 2
"It's no secret that Microsoft's tablet efforts are somewhat of a mess right now. "

Microsoft doesn't make tablets? Plus, how can they be in a mess when nearly no-one purchased them in the first place?

Sure, you had the fantastic HP TC1100, the reasonable Asus R2h/Samsung Q1 UMPC/Mids, the usual stuff from Toshiba and Acer, but there wasn't really any tablets out there. Motion price themselves out and Archos produced the really, really poor Archos 9.

There's not really a mess to be 'in'.

Anyway, I've just sold a Latitude XT and Acer 1820ptz and although they were both great machines, they both sat there while I used my main pc (with projector). I'd prefer a proper laptop at the end of the day, even though I REALLY like the Tbalet format (I've owned 13 different tablets :) )




RE: Word
By Taft12 on 7/30/2010 11:02:53 AM , Rating: 2
Oh it's a mess alright. Nearly no-one purchased them because the offerings on the market sucked. People are buying tablets hand-over-fist right now, but only one model. This is another market trend MS missed the boat on, and another one where they will scramble to release a product that will not be as well received as what the first-to-market competition offers.


RE: Word
By mcnabney on 7/30/2010 11:11:57 AM , Rating: 2
They missed the boat because efforts to jam their monopoly (windows) required too much power and bloat. That made the devices too big and inefficient. Microsoft-based tablet were just big laptops with touchscreens. They never got the idea through their thick heads that consumers might want something smaller. All they had to do was look at the mobile phone market. People like slim and simple. Startac, Razr, iPhone. All sleek, slim and hugely popular. Because they couldn't cram Windows into a small, low-power form factor they just fiddled with the laptop platform.

/still think iPad is worthless due to the locked-down nature of it


"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan














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