Microsoft's Ballmer Promises Christmas Tablet Miracle
October 6, 2010 3:03 PM
Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer promised the world Windows tablets at last year's CES, but thus far has failed to deliver. Speaking to an audience Tuesday, he promised that they would see Windows tablets by Christmas.
"You'll see new slates with Windows on them. You'll see them this Christmas." -- Steve Ballmer
One of the technology industry's big Steves -- Steve Ballmer, Chief Executive of Microsoft -- on Tuesday
that Windows tablets
won't take much longe
r to hit the market and compete with Apple's popular iPad and upcoming Google Android/Chrome OS tablets. He remarked, "
You'll see new slates with Windows on them. You'll see them this Christmas
Of course "see them this Christmas" could have a variety of meanings -- anything from "see them" as be unwrapping them, or "see them" as in reading an online press release that they will be available in March.
Google and its hardware partners has been a bit slow responding to the tablet craze. They only recently have aired 5-inch (Dell Streak) and 7-inch (
Samsung Galaxy Tab
) designs, and are still awaiting
full-sized 10-inch tablets
, comparable in size to the iPad.
Microsoft, however, has been even more lackadaisical in pursuing this lucrative market. The company
showed off a slew of tablets
at a presentation attended by
at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, yet has failed to deliver a single Windows tablet from a major player.
HP, the world's largest personal computer maker, was reportedly close to releasing designs like the HP Slate this spring, but has shelved those plans, instead focusing on webOS tablets. WebOS is a product of Palm, which HP
acquired earlier this year
Meanwhile July's numbers indicate that Apple is unloading at least
2.3 million iPads a month
. If it can sustain that sales pace (which seems likely due to holiday demand and lack of competitors), it's on the mark to hit anywhere from 15 to 20 million tablets sold this year.
Mr. Ballmer also hit on one of Microsoft other key problem spots -- the mobile phone market. Microsoft's Kin project was a
colossal sales failure
perpetrated by miserably outdated hardware, bizarre commercials that bordered on disturbing, and a lack of carrier support. At the end of the day Microsoft pulled the plug.
Meanwhile, Microsoft's veteran Windows Mobile brand has languished, bleeding market share to Apple and Google. Microsoft's answer is a brand-new smart phone operating system dubbed Windows Phone 7, which will
air October 11th
Mr. Ballmer addressed his company's challenging state of affairs in this sector, summarizing, "
The job right now is we've got to get back seriously into the game of phones
We've got to have a comeback against the competition and I think with our new Windows phones we really have a beautiful product
WP7 faces an uphill battle when it hits the market, but Microsoft's CEO seems to realize that. At least he can take comfort that he will quite possibly be putting some in peoples' Christmas stocking...even if that something isn't a Windows tablet.
"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997
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