Apple definitely has a winner on their hands after selling over three million iPads, and some are saying that this is causing Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer to suffer from iPad envy. Why would he care? He has publicly denounced the iPad. During the All Thing D conference, he said that someone was using a tablet in a meeting, and it was difficult to watch them use it. Well, during Microsoft’s earnings call Ballmer was asked what are they doing about the iPad. What does Microsoft have up their sleeve?
Well, if it’s the purported MS Slate, I would have to say they have nothing up their sleeve. I am not saying this to bash Microsoft, but to illuminate how they are bringing a tablet to market. The original specs for the Slate were basically a Netbook without a keyboard. It was using a Intel Atom processor instead of an ARM chip. Heck, the price point was even higher than the low end iPad. Microsoft has to hit one out of the park with whatever they bring to market, or they’ll just have another Kin on their hands.
So, in true Ballmer fashion when confronted with a challenge from Apple, he responded to investors with – “Apple has done an interesting job of putting together a product — they’ve certainly sold more than I’d like them to sell.”. Really, Ballmer, more than you’d like to have seen them sold. Sounds to me like someone is being a sore loser. If I were Ballmer, I would focus all my attention and resources to building a tablet device that is built from the ground up. Consequently, Microsoft doesn’t have time on their side. If they want to keep their investors happy they’ll probably slap a light version of Windows 7 with touch on a tablet.
Moreover, Ballmer tells the investors the tablet “…is job one…”. In my opinion, Microsoft is playing catch up. They are scurrying to stay relevant in a world were they are being left behind by the likes of Apple, Google, and HP/Palm. Maybe it’s time for Microsoft to go back to their core competencies, and develop software. If their hearts are truly set on putting out a tablet device, take the time, and do it right. Look at what Apple has done. It took them years to get where they are today — it didn’t happen over night. Microsoft has to realize this. Maybe they need to fall like Apple did before they can be a true competitor in the tech consumer market.
Photo Credit: Steve Ballmer