updated 06:10 pm EDT, Thu October 28, 2010
Microsoft denies iPad effect in results call
Microsoft during the call discussing its latest fiscal results claimed that the iPad wasn't having an effect on computer sales. Investor relations GM Bill Koefoed dodged around mentioning Apple by name but said Microsoft had "not seen a shift" from notebooks towards tablets. He didn't say how Microsoft could prove this but saw overall PC sales up between nine and 11 percent in the summer, with work PCs up about 15 percent.
The company was "enthusiastic" about tablets and was confident that, in tablets, Microsoft could provide "choice and value" across devices.
Koefoed's observations so far ran against statements and early estimates from the rest of the industry. Best Buy had to backtrack on aggressive claims but still said that the iPad had cut netbook sales in half at those stores where both were on sale. Analysts have also noted that Acer, whose business focuses heavily on netbooks and budget notebooks, has lost share this summer.
Microsoft has also had difficulty matching the promises for Windows tablets during the call. Most Windows 7 tablets won't arrive until early 2011, roughly a year after the iPad, as companies wait on Intel's tablet-ready Oak Trail platform and try to improve the finger-readiness of the mostly mouse-focused OS. CEO Steve Ballmer first showed the HP Slate in January as a home-focused tablet that would have fought against the iPad, but its development lagged to where it only set a ship date this month.
HP has since relegated the Slate to enterprise users after its low battery life, complex interface and $799 minimum price put it out of contention with the iPad. Its first home-facing tablet should be the PalmPad, whose use of webOS and an ARM chip should put it on a more equal footing with Apple.