Microsoft is hoping to release a series of Windows-based, tablet-style computers in an effort to stop their traditional PC partners moving to Android-based devices. They also want to stop Apple’s runaway success with the iPad.
Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief sales executive, is taking a second try at trying to convince the market that Microsoft has an offering in the tablet market. Earlier this year he was embarrassed when HP, whose tablet he had flaunted at the 2010 CES show as the next big thing in tablet computing, dropped the device in favour of a new offering based on the Palm Web OS. HP is also believed to be developing an Android-based device.
Last night Ballmer told delegates at the company’s annual worldwide partner conference that they would find the range of devices “quite impressive”.
“This year one of the most important things that we will do in the smart device category is really push forward with Windows 7-based slates and Windows 7 phones,” he said.
“Over the course of the next several months you will see a range of Windows 7-based slates that I think you’ll find quite impressive. This is a terribly important area for us. We are hard-core about this.”
Toshiba, Sony Asus, Dell, and Samsung, were among the consumer electronics companies that he claimed would launch Windows-based slates later this year. Missing was HP, Acer Lenovo and MSI.
“They’ll come with keyboards, they’ll come without keyboards, they’ll be dockable, there’ll be many form factors, many price points, many sizes,” said Ballmer.
“But they will all run Windows 7. They will run Windows 7 applications. They will run Office.”
Microsoft has admitted that Apple has had a runaway success with their iPad because of a lack of competition.
Ballmer acknowledged that Microsoft had already failed to keep pace with the likes of Apple and Google in the mobile phone space, and that its Windows Mobile operating system had “missed a generation” in terms of its features and functionality.
Ballmer said that would be rectified with the launch of the first Windows Phone 7 handsets later this year.