Ballmer "urgently" wants to launch iPad killer

30 Jul 2010
Steve Ballmer

Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer admits Apple has sold more iPads than he'd like

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has said providing a Windows alternative to the iPad is the company's chief priority.

Speaking at the company's financial analysts meeting, Ballmer admitted he was concerned about the success of Apple's tablet. "Apple has done an interesting job of putting together a synthesis and putting a product out, and in which they've... they sold certainly more than I'd like them to sell, let me just be clear about that," he said.

"We think about that. We think about that in competitive sense. And for us, then, the job is to say, Okay, we have a lot of IP, we have a lot of good software in this area, we've done a lot of work on ink and touch and everything else - we have got to make things happen."

Ballmer compared the tablet market to that of the netbook, where Microsoft ceded early ground to Linux-based machines before dominating the market. "Just like we had to make things happen on netbooks, we've got to make things happen with Windows 7 on slates," the Microsoft CEO said.

"And we are in the process of doing that as we speak. We're working with our hardware partners, we're tuning Windows 7 to new slate hardware designs that they're bringing them to market. And, yeah, you're going to get a lot of cacophony. There will be people who do things with other operating systems. But we've got the application base, we've got the user familiarity. We've got everything on our side if we do things really right."

"Job one urgency"

Ballmer claimed Windows slates would receive a boost with the launch of Intel's low-powered Oak Trail processor next year, which he claimed would help improve the battery life and reduce the weight of slate devices.

He also said that many people were using iPads like laptops, and that Microsoft's partners would be focusing on delivering devices with detachable keyboards and stylus input.

"Some of you will say, well, when? When? And I say, As soon as they're ready," Ballmer added. "It is job one urgency around here. Nobody is sleeping at the switch. And so we are working with those partners, not just to deliver something, but to deliver products that people really want to go buy."

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