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Ballmer: killing the iPad is a "job one urgency"

updated 05:15 pm EDT, Thu July 29, 2010

Ballmer says iPad sales make Microsoft uneasy

Developing a Windows-based alternative to the iPad is a "job one urgency" at Microsoft, company chief Steve Ballmer said today during the annual Financial Analysts Meeting. He admitted that Microsoft was uncomfortable with how well iPads were selling and was tuning both its software and hardware partnerships to provide a competitive option. Besides altering Windows 7, it's counting on Intel's Oak Trail Atom platform and plans to push hardware makers "as soon as they are ready."

Ballmer was audibly concerned about Apple's effect and tried to downplay its tablet even as he acknowledged Microsoft needed to participate in the category.

"Apple has done an interesting job," he said. "They've sold more than I'd like them to sell. We think about that. So it's our job to say: we have got to make things happen. Just like we made things happen with netbooks, we have to do that with slates. [...] Not one size fits all. Been to too many meetings with journalists struggling to set up iPads for notes."

The success of the iPad has been a sore point for Microsoft. It has repeatedly tried to force its Tablet PC concepts into the mainstream since 2001 but has mostly been unsuccessful outside of niche work markets, such as doctors and warehouse inventory managers, as well as a handful of home PCs like the HP TouchSmart tm2. UMPC, Origami and other pseudo-handheld concepts pushed by Microsoft have also largely failed out of the market.

PC builders have rarely broken out sales of Windows-based tablet computers, but the figures are believed small enough that Apple may have already passed all PC makers combined in almost four months of iPad availability. In Europe, one month of iPad sales was enough to triple tablet sales for the whole quarter. It's estimated that Windows tablet sales may reach just 1.25 million units through all of 2010 where Apple passed that amount in two months.

Microsoft isn't predicted to bounce back in the near term as HP has relegated its Windows slate to enterprise where Ballmer, and initially HP, had tried to pitch the tablet as a direct iPad competitor for the public. HP is now shifting most of its attention to webOS, where a friendlier interface and longer battery life already exist.

By Electronista Staff


  1. prl99

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Mar 2009



    Did Ballmer actually say "killing" or is that your word? It only makes sense that Microsoft should be worried about the iPad and try to do something to counter it. Saying killing only draws the wrong attention to an already pathetic Microsoft. All Apple users know Microsoft is going in the wrong direction but why bring up the wrong connotation with that obviously threatening word?

  1. Tralthamidor

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2007


    If only...

    If only Ballmer & co. would focus that kind of energy on something original and exciting (ie: something that people want). Instead it is alway to focus on other company's home runs and take them as their own after the others have done all the groundwork and have done all the research and made all of the mistakes.

  1. Geoduck

    Junior Member

    Joined: Jan 2010


    Yeah, good luck with that : |

    This outlines the difference between Microsoft and Apple.

    Microsoft goes out to dominate a market, to beat down the competition, to control.

    Apple tries to make the coolest, best functioning, most user friendly products and then lets the customers decide.

    So which plan is working?

  1. ntflavio06

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2007


    How jealous and pitiful is this guy

    So instead of concentrating on what Microsoft does well, it looks for weaknesses in itself to show the world that they are better with what?....nothing but words. I say Ballmer should seriously spend more time in the washroom reading his newspapers and coming up with more funny lines...maybe he should also spend more time in the bedroom. He just might become a more fulfilled man.

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Jan 2007



    I see what you did there Mr. Ballmer.
    "Been to too many meetings with journalists struggling to set up iPads for notes."

    What kind of brain dead journalists are they sending to those meetings, anyway? Struggling? Really? With iPads?!!?! =0

    If they're Microsoft events, then I can see news orgs sending the cream of the crop. ;)

  1. rtbarry

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2001


    good timing, fatso

    get right on that

  1. Brad Bradley

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2002


    Invent something like... OH! The Kin!!!

    Microsoft more money writing software for the devices Apple invents than trying to make their own hardware.

    Long live the Kin!!! Oh wait... it died already.

  1. loudpedal

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Oct 1999


    Oh, Uncle Fester...

    Echoing Flying Meat's comment. Perhaps they were Tablet PCs that the journalists were struggling to set up. Ballmer just kept telling himself that they must be iPads. Seriously, how hard could it be to it the "Note" icon and tap the "+" button? Oh the pain!

  1. JuanGuapo

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2008


    Sounds like

    Closing the barn door after the horses have left already.

  1. ruel24

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2009


    Missing "wow" factor

    What Microsoft can't seem to do is put the "wow" factor into their products like Apple does. It's that "wow" factor that makes people stand in line for your product. They approach things from a very stale all-business POV and it doesn't work on consumer gadgets. Apple didn't invent the .mp3 player, but it gave it the "wow" it needed, along with the ecosystem it needed to succeed. Apple didn't invent the smartphone, but it, again, gave it the "wow" factor and ecosystem it needed. Apple didn't invent the tablet computer, either. But it did combine the iPhone and Kindle into the iPad and, again, gave it the "wow" factor and ecosystem it needed. Microsoft simply isn't savvy enough. They're too busy going after pirated copies of Windows Server in the business sector.

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