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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  Microsoft's Kin project was a colossal sales failure perpetrated by miserably outdated hardware, bizarre commercials that bordered on disturbing, and a lack of carrier support.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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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.


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