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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.  (Source: Reuters)
"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 promised that Windows tablets won't take much longer 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 (Dell Streak, 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 DailyTech 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  Microsoft's Kin project was a colossal sales failure perpetrated by miserably outdated hardware, bizarre commercials that bordered on disturbing, and a lack of carrier support.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 phonesWe'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.

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Avoid these like the plague...
By TEAMSWITCHER on 10/6/2010 4:34:58 PM , Rating: 4
The last time Microsoft tried to use it's "Hurry Up" offense to get products our the door, they shipped the XBox 360, and Windows VISTA! The 360 was beleaguered with hardware issues, and Vista was...well...just a BETA for Windows 7.

Apple doesn't discuss products before they ship, and people think that they just whip these things out. The truth is that they are years in the making.

Microsoft cannot afford to quick launch crappy versions of Apple products for much longer. They need to demonstrate leadership by launching innovative products first, and let Apple catch up to them.

By The Raven on 10/6/2010 4:52:14 PM , Rating: 1
...and Vista was...well...just a BETA for Windows 7.


It was more like an ALPHA!

RE: Avoid these like the plague...
By charrytg on 10/6/2010 7:22:42 PM , Rating: 1
Is it still popular to hate microsoft? I haven't been keeping up with the trends.

This promise from ballmer does not excite me any more than the next person, I wouldn't expect microsoft to be putting out a good tablet any time soon. However, the reasons for your dislike make little sense to me.


The last time Microsoft tried to use it's "Hurry Up" offense to get products our the door, they shipped the XBox 360, and Windows VISTA!

Whether or not you like the 360 personally does not really matter. It's sold quite well, and although I am without one, it seems like for many college kids it is a must. Now, true that the 360 as a device was not ideal, but then I would say the same thing about the ipad, being that it's a device which serves no specific purpose, for too large a price, and in a form which makes me wonder just how I am supposed to hold it in some situations.
However, I wouldn't go guessing that a future apple product would be a flop, and then using a great selling product as an example.

As for vista, it was acceptable. Neither miraculous nor terrible. I thought hating on vista stopped being popular a while back as well. In a way it was a beta for windows 7, but then I feel that many versions of windows can be compared this way. Windows 2000 matures into xp, vista tests the waters for a new design, and then matures into windows 7. Perhaps people are just upset that it took so many years.

Now, instead of pointing to one successful product and another mediocre one to predict the success of this promised tablet, I'm thinking it will be disappointing for a different reason.

There are other tablets that run microsoft software out there. They are quite powerful too, at least when compared to the competition. However, they are not very desirable. The software (being windows xp/vista/7) just isn't very elegant when it comes to tablet use. It's possible that they could use windows phone 7, and while that would solve the issue of ease of use with a tablet, it's missing the capabilities that the desktop versions of windows bring.

We will either get yet another tablet that is clunky, or yet another tablet that attempts to copy the ipad.

RE: Avoid these like the plague...
By mcnabney on 10/6/2010 9:24:15 PM , Rating: 2
The 360 did well because of four things:

1. Beat Sony to market
2. MS paid for a LOT of exclusive titles
3. Were quite a bit cheaper than PS3
4. MS stole a bunch of PC titles

Even then it got pounded by the completely inferior Wii.

RE: Avoid these like the plague...
By charrytg on 10/6/2010 11:03:51 PM , Rating: 2
1. Beat sony to the market
2. Was not nearly as challenging to program for
3. Cheaper than the ps3

It probably would not matter what they did to get the developers to make games for the platform, I think the platform was also more desirable.

However, the success of the wii has nothing to do with the success of the xbox. The target audience doesn't overlap much.

RE: Avoid these like the plague...
By KoolAidMan1 on 10/6/2010 8:34:39 PM , Rating: 2
Spot on, excellent post.

Fact of the matter is that Microsoft, save for Windows 7 and their enterprise software, has been executing poorly for about a decade. Their ROI from their colossal R&D has resulted in very little compared to the returns that Apple and Google get from their own R&D.

Of course, Windows and Office are money machines with insane profit margins that any company would want, so that'll keep them deep in cash while they stumble along everywhere else.

Microsoft demonstrating leadership would be great for overall competition, but they insist on releasing crap products, and then follow by making pale copies of Apple products. Maybe Windows Mobile 7 will be their first step in turning this around, it looks really promising. We'll see.

RE: Avoid these like the plague...
By mcnabney on 10/6/2010 9:30:13 PM , Rating: 2
Why would somebody invest $200 and get commited to a two year contract on an also-ran version of Android?

Unless you absolutely must have the Xbox Live integration (see, got to leverage the existing monopoly) the existing Android and iOS platforms are far more advanced. Even the hardware that Phone7 is launching on is essentially a Droid Incredible. Sorry, but I just don't see much compelling. Google is going to be deploying 1.5ghz and dual-core Androids for the holiday season and talking-up Gingerbread while MS will be trying to rook some old Microsoft die-hards with six month old hardware and a woefully incomplete OS.

RE: Avoid these like the plague...
By superPC on 10/7/2010 12:15:46 AM , Rating: 2
they did launched innovative product first. before ipad was even a gleam in apple engineers eyes microsoft have origami experience for UMPC (demo here and download here ). at the time the hardware is just not powerful enough. their only mistake is they tend to forgot their own breaktrough.

RE: Avoid these like the plague...
By Belard on 10/7/2010 5:44:20 AM , Rating: 2
Like the ZUNE...

Which you wont find in Wal Mart, which has every iPod model to choose from.

Zune has less than 2% of the MP/Mp3 market, isn't it discontinued yet?

Remember the Zune HYPE... mysterious website, etc. And they come out with ugly brown devices.

RE: Avoid these like the plague...
By Sazabi19 on 10/7/2010 8:15:04 AM , Rating: 2
I got my Zune HD Platinum, my origional 30 gig "fatty", and my brothers 8 gig Zune all at Walmart, what are you talking about? Also, sound quality is much better out of the Zune. I have tried the same songs on both Zune and the iPod, the all around music levels on the Zune are better, especially lows. I love my Zunes and will never go to Apple's overpriced junk just becuase it's shiny or popular.

RE: Avoid these like the plague...
By Belard on 10/7/2010 4:29:50 PM , Rating: 2
Gee... key words here... my "original" and "got his 8GB"... uh When?

There are currently 4~5 Zune players available from MS. Only the bottom end unit is available at most/Some Walmarts.

Total Zune & Zune products on's catalog is 21.

Currently, MS has 8 total Zunes, but really - just TWO different ZUNEs with various memory sizes & colors. Half the line is a COPY of the iPOD touch (Zune HD). Most likely, the older ZUNEs are simply older models.

Apple has 4 distinct lines of iPODs, each vastly different than the other. Walmart sells about 150 iPod & iPod products.

In my Walmart, I check last night... they have all the latest iPODs... they had RCA, SONY and some other MP3 players. No Zune.

"My sex life is pretty good" -- Steve Jobs' random musings during the 2010 D8 conference

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