Microsoft CEO says will see Windows slates by Christmas

LONDON Tue Oct 5, 2010 9:21am EDT

Microsoft Corp Chief Executive Steve Ballmer shows Slate PCs (from L-R) Archos, Pegatron and Hewlett-Packard during his keynote speech before the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas January 6, 2010. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Microsoft Corp Chief Executive Steve Ballmer shows Slate PCs (from L-R) Archos, Pegatron and Hewlett-Packard during his keynote speech before the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas January 6, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni

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LONDON (Reuters) - A Microsoft slate to counter Apple's popular iPad tablet computer will be seen by the Christmas holiday, Microsoft's Chief Executive Steve Ballmer said on Tuesday.

Ballmer did not say whether the palm-sized slates would actually be on sale in time for Christmas, nor did he say who would make them. Microsoft has been slow to respond to the iPad, and has also made little headway in mobile phones.

"You'll see new slates with Windows on them. You'll see them this Christmas," he told an audience of students, staff and journalists at the London School of Economics.

"Certainly we have done work around the tablet as both a productivity device and a consumption device," he said.

IT research firm Gartner expects 10 million tablet PCs to be sold this year as consumers begin embracing such devices, which include Dell's Streak and Asustek's Eee Pad. The Apple iPad alone sold 3.3 million in its first quarter.

At this year's Consumer Electronics show in January, Ballmer unveiled a Hewlett-Packard tablet computer running Windows, beating Apple's hotly anticipated move into the market.

But little has been heard about the device since HP agreed to buy smartphone maker Palm in April for $1.2 billion, and HP has said it plans a new crop of devices including tablets based on Palm software, although it will still offer Windows tablets.

Microsoft has also failed to make much headway in the smartphone market, where rivals like Apple and HTC are growing fast, while Research in Motion captured the corporate market with its BlackBerry.

Microsoft's Windows phone software had 8.7 percent of the smartphone market last year and that is expected to decline to 3.9 percent by 2014, according to Gartner.

Microsoft also ditched a feature phone aimed at teenagers in July after just three months.

"The job right now is we've got to get back seriously into the game of phones," Ballmer said.

Ballmer did not get his maximum bonus for the last fiscal year despite scoring the company's highest-ever sales, mainly because of missteps on phones and tablets.

Microsoft is due to launch its new Windows Phone 7 software later this month, after unveiling it a year later than expected at this year's Mobile World Congress in February.

"We've got to have a comeback against the competition and I think with our new Windows phones we really have a beautiful product," Ballmer said on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Hans Peters)

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Comments (4)
dub08 wrote:
HTC isn’t Microsoft’s Rival. HTC make hardware; not software!

Oct 05, 2010 12:57pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Eideard wrote:
Ballmer showed an HP tablet “beating Apple’s hotly anticipated move into the market”. Hogwash!

Standing up at a trade show with a single chunk of tin in your hand – running a few demo video strips – is not “beating” anyone’s move into a market.

Nor are any of the other half-dozen prototypes-at-best revealed to a world supposedly anxiously awaiting alternatives to the iPad. For what reason, pray tell?

By the time anything competitive actually reaches the marketplace with V.1.0, Apple will have been leaking iPad2 within weeks of debut in January – deliveries following apace some time between January/April.

And Microsoft, HP, Samsung, RIM will start their cycle, again, showing prototypes that will be out real soon now – surpassing that iPad2.

These “competitors” had beaucoup time to match Apple’s ship date for competing products and didn’t have the courage of their own designs to do so.

Oct 05, 2010 11:53pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
samirsshah wrote:
Microsoft, please learn from history. Windows 7 on tablets is like VMS on MicroVAXes, overpriced, under performing and way too complex. Instead put Windows Phone 7 on tablets.

Oct 06, 2010 1:35am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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