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Microsoft: no interim tablet version of Windows before 8

updated 08:35 pm EDT, Fri October 8, 2010

Ballmer says Windows 7 only needs tweak for slate

Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer during a TechDays session in the UK told those gathered that there wouldn't be an in-between version of Windows 7 optimized for tablets. Mark Wilson and those in attendance were told Microsoft was "not going to do a revamp" before the next version of Windows arrived, which many expect in 2012. Optimizations to the user interface on particular devices, such as upsizing buttons, would make them much more touch- and pen-friendly.

The current interface supports basic multi-touch but still has many menus and buttons designed for mouse input, requiring either a pen or that the user spend time modifying the OS settings to make them usable. Apple's iPad is designed for touch from the beginning and, while more limited, eclipsed Windows tablet PCs' estimated 2010 tablet sales within two months.

Ballmer also took the time to indirectly attack the iPad, claiming that it wasn't very good at the tablet form factor by, paradoxically, lacking a keyboard. The slates Microsoft has been promoting for holiday launches so far also lack physical keys.

"I saw a poor guy in a speech I did out down the hall, he had one of our competitors' devices and he was sitting there crouched over with this thing on his knees, bent and there's no keyboard -- and he was in torture using that poor non-Windows slate device," the CEO said.

Wilson, the "poor guy" of the speech, noted that the seeming punishment wasn't due to the iPad UI at all and underscored the problems with Windows 7 tablets and the current platform as a whole. His netbook and 15-inch notebook had too short battery lives to last through a day, took a long time to boot up and weren't easy to type with in cramped spaces where the iPad could last over 16 hours, started instantly and was comfortable to use in landscape mode.

"Ironically, the reason I took my iPad to the event was that my Windows devices are so bad for portability [in hardware]," Wilson wrote. "If Microsoft produced a slate that did [what iPads do], I would have been using it but they don't and, based on what Ballmer had to say yesterday, it may be some time before they finally 'get it.'"

by MacNN Staff



  1. jfgilbert

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It's got to stop

    Ballmer must stop using Jobs as his speech writer, it's not working for Microsoft.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. lamewing

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Slate with REAL pen input

    Give me an iPad with handwriting recognition as good as Windows 7 so I can ink Japanese, English and mathematical equations with ease...


    Give me a Windows-based slate (with the above-mentioned handwriting recognition) that is as easy to use and has the battery life of an iPad.

    As is stands now, neither Apple nor Microsoft can or will provide such a device..../sigh

  1. nerdbunnie

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Where is inkwell?

    For all the years that Inkwell has been included in OS X, why is it not being used for iPad?

  1. sribe

    Joined: Dec 1969



    "...which many expect in 2012."

    Hahahaha! Snort! Snicker! Hoo! LOL!

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Suck on that, Wintards...

    No competition from the Windows tablets until a year or so from now. Apple is going to mow all the iPad-copying biatches down. Windows fanbois should be very happy with their precious Windows netbooks with all the things they want on them including some bloated version of Windows 7.

    That Ballmer had the nerve to attack the iPad when the iPad is b****-slapping Windows mobile devices all over the place. He is one arrogant dude and deserves to see his company take a severe beat down by Apple. So is Ballmer proposing that Windows tablets will come with a keyboard or something? All the corporations should hold off on upgrading their equipment until Windows 8 is ready and see how much Microsoft likes that.

  1. JeffHarris

    Joined: Dec 1969


    2012 = 2015 in MS-Speak

    2012? If they manage to actually ship it.

    With a date that close, one wonders just how much it will have been gutted in order to get it out the door?

  1. Kees

    Joined: Dec 1969



    since they had enough foresight to call their mobile OS "Windows Phone 7", and full blown Windows 7 can never het anywhere near the power efficiency required for a tablet. Basically, they can either admit to yet another giant c***-up, or continue to live in their own 20th century reality of thinking they can just ignore customer demand and force undesirable products onto unsuspecting consumers.
    In tech, times sure are changing for the better, thoughI doubt Monkey Boy agrees...

  1. peter02l

    Joined: Dec 1969


    poor guy

    "I saw a poor guy in a speech I did out down the hall, he had one of our competitors’ devices and he was sitting there crouched over with this thing on his knees, bent and there’s no keyboard -- and he was in torture using that poor non-Windows slate device."

    He saw Ballmer coming and crouched over the iPad trying to protect the screen from getting splashed with sweat.

  1. Lifeisabeach

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Hello? Hardware keys ARE available!

    Someone really should point out to Ballmer that if that "poor guy" wanted real keys, then there is a keyboard dock available. Heck, you can get an iPad case with a keyboard built in if it's all that necessary and make a netbook out of it. Well, a netbook with a bigger screen, much longer battery life, and hassle-free usage.

  1. facebook_Stephanos

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Oct 2010



    Microsoft will dominate this like all else!

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