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Ballmer: Windows 7 to be on slates “When it’s ready”



In an interview with The Seattle Times, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was asked when we’ll see Windows 7 on slate devices like the iPad. I know how I would have answered. I’m sure you have your own answer as well. Let’s see how they match up with Ballmer’s response.

Q: When are we going to see Windows 7 on a slate device like the iPad?

A: When it’s ready. A Windows 7 slate shipped today. … The question is when are we going to see additional form factors. We’ll see some at Christmas, we’ll see some after Christmas, and all through the next year. …

Were you close? I wasn’t.

So, quite a few ways to take that response. You could interpret it to mean that Windows 7 is not ready for slates, so that slate that shipped today is using a not-ready version of Windows 7 (just like the one on my tablets). Or he could mean it’s ready now because a Windows 7 slate shipped today. Or maybe it doesn’t matter because of all the additional form factors we’ll see in the future. When are we going to see these additional non-slate form factors?

In any case, Ballmer is still talking about Windows 7 tablets like they are products of a time yet to come, intently ignoring the fact we have had Windows-based Tablet PCs and UMPCs in slate, convertible, and other form factors for years. It’s bad enough to see and deal with folks who believe the HP Slate will be the first Windows 7 slate (and have never seen the touch features in the OS they use every day), but the CEO of Microsoft? That’s just another ton of demoralization on top of the pile (and I already started the day with a big pile of my own).



  1. Jeff Jackson

    09/30/2010 at 8:40 am

    What Windows 7 slate shipped today? I can’t find any reference to such a thing.

  2. gEEK

    09/30/2010 at 9:00 am

    It doesn’t seem like Ballmer learned many lessons from iPhone vs Windows Mobile 6. Which means we won’t see a big tablet push from Microsoft for quite a while. It is shocking how bad they are at commercializing all of the great technology their expensive research organization creates.

    • ChrisRS

      09/30/2010 at 3:15 pm

      When the TabletPC first came out, it was a seperate product and was a superset of Windows XP Professional. Microsoft charged manufacturers a premium for Tablet edition. On top of including and charging for extra hardware, the manufacture had to include extra softeware cost. (This was particulary true for ther consumer level buyer, since they would normally not purchase the XP Pro version.)

      I picture Microsoft selling their manufacturing partners cruise tickets, to unknown destination on a leaking ship … passing out lead life jackets when they boarded … then tossing anvils instead of life preservers as the ship sunk.

      I love my TabltPC, but wonder why they were not more successful.

  3. Bigmouth

    09/30/2010 at 9:31 am

    Nice to find a like mind, Sumocat. As you say, the lack of informed commentary from users is frustrating enough. But the ignorance of industry insiders like Ballmer is truly depressing.

  4. dstrauss

    09/30/2010 at 9:39 am

    Any wonder it’s only 16 miles from Redmond to “Clueless in Seattle.”

    I’ve knocked around here for several months now espousing the great strides on the iPad, but I just couldn’t break the OneNote habit, so I sold the iPad and got the “non-existent” Windows 7 on a second used HP 2730p ($500) so I could haul it around to meetings while the mothership 2730p was used on the desk and hauled home at night.

    I swear Microsoft is WORSE than clueless. They have no idea how to market in the tablet/slate space. The HP Slate could become the analog of a “yellow pad” to your notebook or desktop with a shared copy of your OneNote notebooks running on both. It is nearly flawless when I carry my stripped down 2730p into a meeting to take notes and they are instantly synced with the docked 2730p on my desk. better still, I have full access to all my files, our server, and MS Office while in that conference room, and not just a work-around version of DocsToGo or Goodreader.

    I know I’m preaching to the choir, but bundling OneNote on every Windows tablet/slate device would capture both the educational and enterprise markets. Sure – I’ll get flamed immediately because “Tablet PC has been a failure for 10 years!” but that is just not true – it’s been Microsoft’s and manufacturer FAILURE to market – to be too hung up on handwriting recognition instead of inking, that has hampered Tablet PC! that is why Steve Jobs can get away with the stupid saying that “stylus=fail.”

    Sorry – rant off…

    • Sln

      09/30/2010 at 11:31 am

      Microsoft is failing in the mobile space right now. It’s always later, next year, we’re working on it, oh we canceled that project, not on CDMA this year, fail, fail, fail….

      This is NOT rocket science at this point and the billions of dollars in R&D spent by MS has not been spent wisely with regard to mobile technology. Letting Apple and Google eat your lunch and dinner is failure… Your customer base is reeling from this churning rhetoric without delivering the goods.

      The market is moving forward. Having the #1 courier Verizon without product at the holiday season is failure. Speaking for many that have been waiting to stop making excuses, to Get It, Execute and Deliveris frustrating and consistently dissapointing….

      When will the shareholders demand accountability and force the changes needed….

      • dstrauss

        10/02/2010 at 10:23 am

        “When will the shareholders demand accountability and force the changes needed….”

        Obviously never – the Microsoft share price has languished in a $10 range centering around $25 for the entire DECADE, while Apple has gone from $9.75 to nearly $300. Forget the excuses of various naysayers (over-valued, hyped, darlings, whatever) – it is an epic fail for one fo America’s great companies.

  5. Sedulous Ape

    09/30/2010 at 12:36 pm

    “You can’t see it ’til it’s finished. Nyaah nyaaah nyah nyaaah nyaah.”

  6. Dayanim

    10/01/2010 at 1:29 am

    Im actually quite happy about this. Writing this on a convertible XT2, i think if MS want to make a decent push into the multitouch slate market, do it like apple and do it right! Wait till you have a decent multitouch-centred operating system before going in, dont just jazz up standard win7 and push it out! multitouch on win7 is decent but if the UI was geared towards multitouch it could be SO much better. File management/windows explorer is DEFINATELY not made for touch. looking forward to one that is! :)


  7. Medic

    10/01/2010 at 2:39 am

    I think it is a good thing to wait a little longer. I get the impression that letting Microsoft rush into things brings a product with never ending updates and bug fixes. I think windows 7 has a basis for a tablet OS. Buts let’s be honest here. Windows 7 UI with small buttons is still not exactly touch friendly. Also multitouch recogntion, handwriting recognition and scrolling for the tablet for smooth operations still needs some tweaking. Perhaps the best of both worlds for Windows phone 7 and Windows 7 with less energy consumption, for the tablet???

  8. dstrauss

    10/01/2010 at 5:08 am

    Well, in dollars and cents, it only cost Monkey Boy one-half of his max bonus and a pretty rough chastising by the competition committee for losing miserably in the mobile space from the failed Kin, late Win Mobile 7, and no tablet OS:

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