Microsoft's Ballmer: Windows 7 slates are coming this year

Microsoft's Ballmer: Windows 7 slates are coming this year

Summary: Microsoft isn't going to sit idly by and let slates from Apple and various Android backers run away with this market. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told the 14,000 partners during his July 12 keynote at the Worldwide Partner Conference to expect new Windows 7 slates before the end of this year.

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Microsoft isn't going to sit idly by and let slates from Apple and various Android backers run away with this market.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told the 14,000 partners during his July 12 keynote at the Worldwide Partner Conference to expect new Windows 7 slates before the end of this year.

Microsoft and its existing PC partners, including Asus, Dell, Samsung, Toshiba and Sony, will all be fielding Windows 7 slates in the coming months, Ballmer said. These slates will be available at a variety of price points and in a variety of form factors -- with keyboards, touch only, dockable, able to handle digital ink, etc.

Since Ballmer showed off a prototype of a Windows 7 slate from Hewlett-Packard at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, the company has said next-to-nothing about how it planned to address the slate form-factor space. (It's interesting Ballmer didn't mention HP in his list of slate partners this morning. (Update: As a few folks have pointed out, HP was still shown on Microsoft's slate slide, however.)  HP still hasn't officially confirmed that it isn't going to deliver a Windows 7 slate this year, but HP officials have said to expect the company to field a WebOS-based one this fall.)

"We know you really want to know what's coming" in the new form factor space, Ballmer told partners.

Ballmer never mentioned the iPad or the coming Chrome OS-based slates by name during his remarks. Microsoft's pitch will be that these slates will be sanctioned by corporate IT departments, enabling customers to use them at work and at home.

I think it's way overdue for Microsoft to tell customers what's coming on the slate front. We've heard that there will be Windows Embedded Compact tablets and slates coming, but it's doubtful (I'd think) that those will be able to run Windows apps.

Microsoft execs can't -- with any credibility -- keep pooh-poohing slates, claiming they're nothing more than PCs, given how quickly the iPad has been gaining traction. Microsoft is known to be focusing on the slate form factor with Windows 8, but that operating system is still likely close to two years away from release.

All that said, there's more to a slate than just the physical form factor. If there isn't longer battery life, instant on/off and some kind of app store with not just the usual business apps, but also consumer-focused apps and games, I'm not so sure users are going to bite...

Microsoft officials are expected to show off some of the prototype Windows 7 slates later today during the partner conference keynote. Stay tuned for more....

Topics: Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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174 comments
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  • Cool

    Personally, I can't wait to see ASUS' line of EEE Pads. If you have seen the hardware specs on that and the supposed battery life, that'll be the one to own.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • RE: Microsoft's Ballmer: Windows 7 slates are coming this year

      @NStalnecker With a 3 billion dollar R&D budget, MS is again aping Apple. Innovation, it seems, is not in their dictionary.
      prof123
      • Yeah that death grip antenna is sure worth aping

        @prof123 Get a clue already.

        The only thing delaying MSFT and these tablet companies are the new Intel atom chips that will come out early next year ready to knock those ARM processors around. Once they are out, it's iPads running on subprime processors that will be in trouble.
        LBiege
      • RE: Microsoft's Ballmer: Windows 7 slates are coming this year

        @prof123
        I could have sworn that Bill Gates demonstrated tablet technology at the 2001 COMDEX.
        CMonster67
      • If iPad were a "slate" or a "tablet", you might have a point ...

        @CMonster67<br><br>If the Win 7 tablet is anything like the monstrosities that Ballmer showed at CES in January, Apple and Google have nothing to be worried about. MS will deliver yet another stillborn, touchscreen-based product, just like the XP tablet. Ballmer is presenting this as a "form factor". Man, this guy has no clue.
        RationalGuy
      • RE: Microsoft's Ballmer: Windows 7 slates are coming this year

        @prof123 "aping Apple"

        Sigh. Why is it that these Apple fanbois are so utterly ignorant? Nobody is aping Apple. What has Apple invented in this space? Please elaborate? Windows tablets have been available for a long time already. Far longer than the iPad has. Apple put a phone OS onto a table and that is supposed to be innovation? It's called marketing. Apple doesn't innovate. Hardly ever has.
        terjeb@...
      • Yeah, that explains it terjeb... LOL

        "It's called marketing. Apple doesn't innovate. Hardly ever has." - terjeb

        That explains soooo much.. Like how they come in with a little "marketing" and boom!!! They dominate the stagnant tablet market... First try... But it's not that the iPad is different, because according to you, it's not, after all, Apple didn't innovate anything... Like a customer processor, and an App Store that is the envy of the entire industry, and the best user experience in the industry, and made gesture computing a reality and actually made it enjoyable, and made augmented reality a reality, etc. etc. Nope.. they innovated nothing... It's all smoke and mirrors...
        It?s an illusion I say!!!! And illusion of deceit by the Messiah!!! He spaketh and it was marketeth and it was good. And Yea Verily, the beliers thus followed the unholy profit as well as the rest of the word did follow the unholy profit into believing that the same old tablet was somehow different and born anew. And they all falsely believed it was innovated by the Messiah Jobs, yet, yea verily, it was just magic marketing, spawn from the loins of Satan himself. A plague I say, an unholy plague of deceit and misbelieved enjoyment from said vile devices. A curse on all of your blind sheep!!! A curse you wretched fools!!! How dare you spendeth your money on what you like!!! SINNERS!!!! FOOL!!! It?s all Marketing!!! Don?t you know anything!!!
        i8thecat
      • RE: Microsoft's Ballmer: Windows 7 slates are coming this year

        @prof123 I think you got it backwards. Microsoft, Fujitsu and Toshiba created the slates back in 2001 with the first release of the Tablet PC version of Windows.
        bdollerup
      • RE: Microsoft's Ballmer: Windows 7 slates are coming this year

        @prof123

        Tablet PCs are a decade old. It' just that Apple gave it a one big strong push.
        Rahul Mulchandani
      • RE: Microsoft's Ballmer: Windows 7 slates are coming this year

        terjeb@...
        ballmer "ms may not be first or the best but we just keep coming and coming and coming..."

        translation: we'll pump money into it until you die.

        you mean that kind of innovation?

        the free market at it's finest.
        sportmac
      • RE: Microsoft's Ballmer: Windows 7 slates are coming this year

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      • RE: Microsoft's Ballmer: Windows 7 slates are coming this year

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      • RE: Microsoft's Ballmer: Windows 7 slates are coming this year

        @prof123
        @Sultansulan Dude... The same advertisers that brought us Seinfeld (lets play footsie and wiggle our shorts Bill), Laptop Hunters (that got all sorts of bad press for lies (incorrect pricing and customer never actually went into an Apple store) and portraying windows as "cheep"), And Windows 7 was Macs idea (where a college kid who can't get laid and get kicked out of his dorm room (by his Mac roommate) has to watch TV in the hall because he doesn't even have a friend whom he could visit).

        I bet Kinect will not be magical either.
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      • RE: Microsoft's Ballmer: Windows 7 slates are coming this year

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    • RE: Microsoft's Ballmer: Windows 7 slates are coming this year

      @NStalnecker @NStalnecker The first comment on these stories is always positive in favour of Microsoft and their little friends. I wonder why that is. Maybe NStalnecker is a plant paid for by Redmond. How very sad.
      Graham Ellison
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    • RE: Microsoft's Ballmer: Windows 7 slates are coming this year

      @Cylon Centurion does it have the stability and multi-process architecture that Chrome does?
      I'm getting to dislike Google with their lousy privacy policies, but at least they actually innovate with browsers.
      True, Microsoft has design and UI usability problems with everything they've ever made, but basing browser comparisons soley on how they look...
      Is it unnecessarily bloated and slow like IE8? De-flabbing it would be a good place to start.
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  • I prefer a hybrid.

    I prefer a hybrid. Tried some of the demo iPads at Best Buy - going 100% touch isn't that great. Give me something with a real keyboard. Those models that can switch between slate and notebook configurations are ideal.
    CobraA1
    • RE: Microsoft's Ballmer: Windows 7 slates are coming this year

      @CobraA1 I wish you would all WAKE UP. You can attach a bluetooth keyboard to the IPad and it works just fine. Stop the FUD.
      Ron Burgundy