Home / News / Laptop News / Microsoft's iPad Competitor Has 'Job One Urgency' Admits Ballmer

Microsoft's iPad Competitor Has 'Job One Urgency' Admits Ballmer


Microsoft's iPad Competitor Has 'Job One Urgency' Admits Ballmer

Microsoft is working with its partners on a competitor to the iPad, Microsoft’s chief executive Steve Ballmer has told a meeting of financial analysts.

Ballmer was quite honest about his feelings towards the success of his rival's device, stating, “Apple has done an interesting job of putting together a synthesis and putting a product out... they sold certainly more than I'd like them to sell, let me just be clear about that”.

As for a timeframe for Windows slates Ballmer said, “Some of you will say, well, when? When? And I say, As soon as they're ready. They'll be shipping as soon as they are ready. And it is job one urgency around here. Nobody is sleeping at the switch.”

Ballmer implied that Microsoft’s plan would be to have slates of different sizes running different operation systems.

“We're working with our hardware partners, we're tuning Windows 7 to new slate hardware designs that they're bringing them to market,” Ballmer told the group. But in answer to a question from a Sarah Friar of Goldman Sachs, Ballmer said, “We're coming full guns. The operating system is called Windows. No - there's - let me be unambiguous. A new Windows Phone for screen sizes that, let me just say, are, you know, sort of bigger than three or four inches -- the answer is Windows Phone.”

Analysts have been speculating over the reason that Microsoft recently invested in a full license architecture from Arm but Ballmer said that the slates would be powered by Intel chips - though he left the door open for other processors to be used at a later time

“We're all in the game today with Intel architecture machines. We've got improvements coming from Intel. We're driving forward. We're unambiguous about that… in no way will we allow hardware to be the impediment. We will embrace what we need to embrace over time in terms of hardware evolution.”

Ballmer tried to mitigate any impatience the market may be experiencing for the arrival of Microsoft powered slate devices by telling the analysts that its devices would have one significant advantage - they will be able to print out of the box.

“Let's merely say when you get your Windows 7 machine, it will print. Let's just start with that. I mean some people actually like to print every now and then. Ours will print.”

I relish the competition. I relish holding up those couple of machines today that I wanted to hand you. It's not today. I'll relish doing it tomorrow.”

Are you one of those holding out on the iPad for a Windows powered slate that can print? Please do let us know – in the comments.

Link: Microsoft Financial Analyst webcast page.

Via: CNN Money.com


July 30, 2010, 7:44 pm

Okay, first off, he's an idiot.

Second, any slate that runs a destop OS will fail. Period.

Apple was smart enough to put iOS on the iPad because it was perfectly suited for fingers.

Windows 7 is not, have they not learned anything from Windows Mobile? You can skin things like crazy but it's still going to be crap underneath.

I'd like to see a slate with Windows Phone on it.

Hell, the Zune HD has a great UI.

Focus on that Microsoft.


July 30, 2010, 8:10 pm

Things must be bad if your product's killer feature is the ability to print. Still, competition is good, and if it means prices will come down, and software will improve, I'm all for it.


July 30, 2010, 8:28 pm

Isn't he saying that some tablets will have Windows Phone on it, and others Windows? If they really can adapt Windows to be finger friendly then I'm all for it, it's a great OS; what's wrong with a touch friendly skin (and I'd imagine it'd be lower level than just a skin). Still Windows Mobile 7 makes more sense (well once multi-tasking & copy/paste, etc are in there).

Personally I'd like a more fully featured tablet. The iPad is great for video, email, browsing and silly games - try to do any work with it and it's no go. I don't care about printing, but I want something that's more than a companion device, having to sync to add media, not having memory cards slots really limits the functionality and prevents me from getting one (that and it's over-priced). Look at the Archos 7, it's £150 for the 8GB version. But I'll wait til the next iteration (or something from another company - Dell perhaps) with a newer version of Android and a decent processor before I'd go for that.

So there's nothing out there that meets my needs quite yet and i'm happy to wait; so there's still time for MS to get into the tablet game. If they do it with Windows Mobile then that'd give a boost to their phones which given that they need to catch up there could be a good move.


July 30, 2010, 8:30 pm

Microsoft don't stand a chance.

Ala Miah

July 30, 2010, 8:30 pm

Slate, tablet or whatever you want to call it should be a device that replaces the laptop, not become an additional to it.

iPad failed in this respect, I hope MS comes up with something better.


July 30, 2010, 9:01 pm

Does anyone else find Ballmer's way of speaking, well, weird? It's all sort of disjointed soundbites and at least one not properly articulated thought. Is it just him or an accurate reflection of Microsoft's high level workings?


July 30, 2010, 9:17 pm

Why should a tablet have to replace a laptop? Why should a laptop for that matter have to replace a desktop? They're all different formfactors, for different purposes.

I think that's what's wrong with a lot of people: that they think that any one given device could be and should be able to do *everything* and do it well. That's just not the case and it won't be for quite a while. Granted, you could dock a tablet and work from there, but why not use a stronger laptop or desktop then :-p


July 30, 2010, 9:17 pm

This seems like nothing but a good thing to me?

I can't understand the mostly negative responses so far - if they can get W7 optimised (and cut down, not all the functionality is needed for a slate) so it runs smoothly then I'd be one of the first adopters.

I'm not too keen on the idea of using windows phone as the OS, the reason I haven't bought an iPad is because it's not full featured enough for me personally - it doesn't let me do an awful lot more than my HTC Hero.

If they can do it, it'll be great - Win7 is a fantastic OS imo.

A Scotland

July 30, 2010, 9:27 pm

@Ripsnorter - my thoughts exactly. He is also pretty scary looking. How he got a job as the public face and voice of Microsoft is beyond me. He actually puts me off anything he tries to sell and stuff I might have been interested in before hearing him and seeing him talk about it.


July 30, 2010, 9:30 pm

@Ala Miah: I don't think Apple 'failed' in this respect, as replacing the laptop was never Apple's intention. They produced precisely the device that they intended, neither laptop nor smartphone, and their sales figures would seem back them up.

If you're looking for a tablet that can replace the laptop, Microsoft and their partners have been producing these for years. If you've never seen one I'm not surprised, as hardly anyone's bought one. As Ohmz pointed out, it seems that any tablet with a desktop OS is an inherently compromised device.


July 30, 2010, 9:38 pm

@Ripsnorter: It's just him:


I'm sure he's a pretty smart guy, he just hasn't completely grasped the art of communication.


July 30, 2010, 10:41 pm

Tablets are close to being able to replace laptops and desktops. As processors shrink form factors get smaller. One problem is Intel: with no competition from itself or AMD it prices its CULV stuff high. Only when a high-performance AMD tablet is feasible will we get reasonable prices from Intel.

Unfortunately Apple has caught a gap when the market for slates with proper OSes is not quite ready. Hopefully this market will be closed off when technology evolves and tablets become good and affordable laptop/desktop replacements.


July 30, 2010, 10:50 pm

@Ohmz: One of the chief architects of Microsoft's enormous success over the past two decades an 'idiot'?

Mike B

July 31, 2010, 1:38 am

If MS think printing is a high priority for a iPad beating product then we can safely assume they have learnt nothing from the success of the iPad!

Printing is becoming a thing of the past.... a bit like Microsoft!

Tim Sutton

July 31, 2010, 5:27 am

@Mike B

Printing documents is an essential in any business environment. A tablet that can print is 1000% more practical as a portable solution to than one that can't.


July 31, 2010, 12:14 pm

That video has been making the rounds for years and it still makes me smile.

Frankly if I had the kind of money he has, and was as successful as he is - I'd not just be jumping around on stage like an excited imbecile - I'd be doing it all day long - every day :D

But seriously - to be fair - it was an internal video - and he was trying to rally the troops in an unconventional manner - my personal favourite is the "developers developers developers developers" video.

He gets why people choose one platform over another - it's the applications available to the platform and what you can therefore do with it pure and simple.

For me - an iPad sized tablet, that has the simplicity of an IOS environment, yet with the unrestricted environment of windows would be a real winner ... only time will tell if they can do it ...

Let's face it, Microsoft's game plan is always 1) see what new tech is successful in the market 2) copy it and slowly chip away making it better over the years until it wins ... time and money are no object

Denis iii

July 31, 2010, 1:19 pm

I'm excited for M$ slates which I will definately purchase over a useless iPad.

I really don't get why all the hate which should be targeted at Apple for there feature lacking unsecure locking the user down software and hardware. I suppose if its shiney shiney with an Apple logo ppl are ok with being raped by then and defend the major lackings of the platform.

Windows 7 is great, Windows Phone 7 looks to be great, Windows 7 on tablet will be ok but Windows 7 CE will be far better then ipad one app one funtion no flash no mem card overpriced shiney shiney.


July 31, 2010, 1:48 pm

@ffrankmccaffery: He's undoubtedly a shrewd businessman but it's hard not to think he's having more than his fair share of humble pie these days as Apple once again, expand the market in ways he could never have imagined would succeed. To my mind the other Steve is the more interesting architect of success.


July 31, 2010, 3:25 pm

When only rumours of ipad were circulating I was hoping to be amongst first to buy. However my wife bought me a Sony netbook with windows 7 starter loaded so was not in the queue for the ipad. The netbook is beautifully made but still rubbish with windows 7 (s) and I can't wait for the second generation of ipad to launch. Give me Mac OS over Windows any day. If Windows slate is just a thin light netbook it will be useless.


July 31, 2010, 5:58 pm

@ffrankmccaffery, He laughed at the iPhone and mocked it.

Now Apple has completely overtaken Windows Mobile and has changed the face of mobile devices forever.

He's responsible for Windows 7 sure, but after the PR disaster that was Vista.

The Zune HD, which is a good device has been a complete and utter failure.

Only Windows 7 and the XBox stand out as successes.

But hey, even a broken clock is right twice a day.


July 31, 2010, 6:09 pm

@BobaFett: None of those slices of humble pie compare to the monumental disaster that was Next Computers for the other Steve.


July 31, 2010, 6:51 pm

Unlike many here, I don't really mind the closed ecosystem of the iPad as long as it has the apps to do what I want, but the lack of filesystem access restricts its functionality very very significantly. I'd be quite interested in seeing what MS come up with.


July 31, 2010, 7:41 pm


How about Office, Exchange, Windows Server...


July 31, 2010, 10:57 pm

I have used WinXP tablet ed. on on old convertible laptop the Acer TravelMate C111

And if there can be a Win7 tablet at a good price - then why not - they can alays to a funky new interface app to run on top - and i for one would like a full os system infact there are already a few about like the viliv x70 etc

But why oh why did Microsoft cancel there rather cool Microsoft Courier tablet/portfolio concept???


August 1, 2010, 12:48 am

@ffrankmccaffery: NeXT computers may not have been a commercial success but I remember the first time someone showed me NeXTSTEP running on a NeXTcube at university back in 1990: I was in awe. It was the dream computer by a country mile, nothing else came close. Fond memories for me, which certainly isn't the case for Windows 3.0 that we had on our PCs.

comments powered by Disqus