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Ballmer Issues Mea Culpa, But Will Tablet Be Too Little Too Late?

Speaking at Microsoft's financial analyst meeting on Thursday, CEO Steve Ballmer touched on various ideas, from growing consumer-product and search market shares to Apple's gadget edge and the need for Windows-based tablet computers.

"Microsoft's chief executive has come very close to telling investors he screwed up after years of writing off, belittling and underestimat[ing] Apple's potential success in touch-based computing," writes The Register. "Ballmer told Wall Street he's under no illusion about Apple's success with the iPad and iPhone, and Microsoft's number-one priority is now to deliver touch-based computing pads running Windows 7... that people want."

"They'll be shipping as soon as they are ready," Ballmer said regarding the tablets. "It is job one urgency. No one is sleeping at the switch." (And, no, Microsoft isn't designing the tablets itself.)

"We're working with our hardware partners, we're tuning Windows 7 to work on slates," Ballmer added. "We've got the user base, we've got the user familiarity. We've got everything on our side if we do things really right."

"Of course that's often the case with Microsoft," notes Digital Daily. "The problem is, it doesn't always manage to do things really right. Certainly, it didn't manage it with Windows Vista. Or Windows Mobile. Or Zune. Or, more recently, Kin. Who's to say this time will be any different?"

"As it stands now, Microsoft's lack of details on the upcoming Windows tablets is not encouraging, despite Ballmer's promises," concludes PCWorld.

Seemingly overwhelmed by the rapid innovation and successes of rivals like Apple, Google, and even Facebook, Fortune calls Ballmer "a train wreck," and "a salesman whose only answer to technological change seems to be the operating system he inherited from Bill Gates."

Thinking of Microsoft as an "innovator," however, will leave you disappointed every time, Jefferies analyst Katherine Egbert wrote in a note Friday morning. "If you stop thinking of Microsoft as an innovator and start thinking of them as a fast, low cost, mass market follower, you'll stop being disappointed in their inability to divine new markets and realize they are staring at some of their largest growth opportunities ever."

Meanwhile, "Ballmer made the case Thursday that Microsoft not only gets the consumer market, but is set to grow its business there," writes CNet's Beyond Binary blog.

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3 comments about "Ballmer Issues Mea Culpa, But Will Tablet Be Too Little Too Late?".
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  1. Adam Hartung from spark partners, July 30, 2010 at 5:49 p.m.

    Spot on. Microsoft is unable to react to market needs, because it never designed an organization that connects to market needs. Mr. Ballmer just keeps trying to defend and extend the PC platform, and a Windows 7 tablet will miss the user mark - especially with superior products already in the market. Great artlcle! http://bit.ly/bRuFMA

  2. Howie Goldfarb from Blue Star Strategic Marketing, August 1, 2010 at 5:16 p.m.

    This is a ridiculous viewpoint. Sorry Gavin. There are about 20+ non-Apple tablets coming out with many O/S's. So I don't think its ever too late. Obviously Apple and Droid and Windows 7 are going to be the first. HP has a Win7 tablet coming out for Christmas I last read. Its ok if a Tablet is a PC in Tablet form. We don't have to live in an APP world.

  3. Roy Fuchs from MFN, August 2, 2010 at 11:34 a.m.

    Windows, like gasoline, is a grudge purchase. You have to buy it. Do you care what color the gas pump is, or just what the product costs? As long as the OS works, doesn't crash too often and doesn't take five minutes to start up and shut down, you're OK. You just have to live with all defensive stuff like firewalls, spyware and the like, apps users pay for because the company with $30Billion in cash on their balance sheet won't do it for them.

    When was the last time you got excited about an MSFT product? If you stretch, maybe Win95 (or as Apple called it, Apple OS 92).

    Where are the Microsoft fanboys? Ooops, fanboys don't get it up for market laggards.

    Microsoft has essentially failed to do anything meaningful to extend their brand beyond Windows and Office. Their organization is structured and oriented to not cannabilize these cash cows. And why would I even contemplate replacing my Office 2000 (unless it was with OpenOffice or Google Docs)?

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