Ballmer: Microsoft should have entered tablet market earlier

The Microsoft chief has acknowledged that his company is somewhat behind Apple when it comes to 'innovating on the seam between software and hardware'.

Microsoft supremo Steve Ballmer has admitted at a shareholder meeting that the company is late to the tablet party, although he also expressed confidence in the Surface's chances.

Steve Ballmer
Image: Josh Lowensohn/CNET

The Windows 8-based Surface RT is the first personal computer that Microsoft itself produces and sells. It came out a month ago, more than two and a half years after Apple released the first iPad.

According to a Reuters account of the Wednesday meeting, Ballmer was asked why Microsoft had fallen so far behind Apple.

"We're innovating on the seam between software and hardware... Maybe we should have done that earlier," Ballmer said, adding that he felt "pretty good about [Microsoft's] level of innovation".

The Microsoft chief executive also spoke of a "sea of upside" for the company in the tablet market. This is unsurprising as, although Windows 7 had some touch-friendly features and some manufacturers did make slates based on that version of the OS, it did not make any significant inroads into the tablet market.

Microsoft has not yet revealed sales figures for the Surface RT, which has received mixed reviews . The company said a few days ago that it was committed to supporting the device for the next four years.

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