Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer predicts that tablets running Windows will hit the marketplace by Christmas, where they'll face Android devices and the Apple iPad.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is predicting
that his company will have an iPad competitor on the market by the end of 2010.
"You'll see new slates with Windows on them. You'll see them this
Christmas," Ballmer told an audience Oct. 5 at the London School of
"Certainly we have
done work around the tablet as both a productivity device and a consumption
That echoes Ballmer's
September comments to The Seattle Times,
in which he alluded to a "Windows
7 slate shipped today" and mentioned that similar devices would hit the
marketplace "at Christmas, we'll see some after Christmas, and all through
the next year."
A few weeks ago, video
leaked online of a purported Hewlett-Packard tablet running Windows 7.
is supposedly developing a Windows-based tablet for the enterprise, in addition
to a Palm WebOS version targeted at consumers. However, Ballmer's recent quotes
don't mention a manufacturer for the potential tablet.
Microsoft could face something of an uphill battle when it comes to creating
a Windows install base for the rapidly expanding consumer tablet market. Some
of the company's largest manufacturing partners, including Dell and Samsung,
have announced their intention to create tablets running Google Android. In
addition to HP, Research In Motion is planning a tablet with a proprietary
operating system. And the Apple iPad, responsible in large part for creating
interest in the tablet form factor, continues to sell at a blockbuster rate.
Microsoft also seems increasingly aware of its somewhat precarious position.
During the company's July Worldwide
Partner Conference, in Washington,
various executives highlighted the
company's plans for both tablets and smartphones.
"This is a terribly important area to us," Ballmer told an
audience during his July 12 keynote at the conference, referring to both
tablets and Windows Phone 7 devices. "We need to push this from a
Microsoft perspective: We want to give you a great consumer-oriented
experience, a device that is manageable with today's IT solutions."
Within the next several months, Ballmer promised at the time, "You will
see a range of Windows 7 slates. They will run Windows 7. They will run Office.
They will accept ink- as well as touch-based input."
Even as Microsoft supposedly prepares tablets for launch, the company is
also focused on launching Windows Phone 7, its
smartphone platform scheduled to debut Oct. 11 in New York.
franchise has steadily lost market share over the past several quarters, putting
pressure on the company to succeed in its latest endeavor.
"The job right now is we've got to get back seriously into the game of
phones," Ballmer also said during his London School of Economics visit. "We've
got to have a comeback against the competition and I think with our new Windows
phones we really have a beautiful product."