Microsoft's Ballmer admits drive to tablets was late, but lauds new Surface

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
At Microsoft's annual shareholders meeting on Wednesday, CEO Steve Ballmer conceded that the company was late to the tablet market now dominated by Apple's iPad, but suggested the software giant would have led the shift to portable devices if it entered the computer hardware business earlier.

Steve Ballmer
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. | Source: Microsoft


Ballmer said the combination of Microsoft's newest Windows 8 operating system and the company's first in-house designed and built computer, a tablet dubbed Surface, is creating a "seam" between software and hardware, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The strategy of creating both a device and the software running it is new ground for the Redmond, Wash.-based company, something that Ballmer said ?maybe [Microsoft] should have done? sooner.

?Sometimes getting the innovation right across the seam between hardware and software is difficult unless you do both of them,? he said.

Apple is well-versed in the synergy between hardware and software, as evidenced by the hugely successful iOS device lineup that includes the iPhone and iPad.

At the meeting, a shareholder asked Ballmer why Microsoft didn't capitalize on a number of concept "tablet PCs" former CEO Bill Gates lauded as the "future of computing" in 2001.

?Bill did hold up a tablet many years ago,? Ballmer replied, adding, "Maybe if we had started innovating then, which is what we really did with Surface, maybe we should have done that earlier. Maybe that tablet shift would have been sooner.?

While Gates likely envisioned a tablet powered by a full-fledged version of Windows, Microsoft's new Surface RT makes some concessions by running a stripped-down version of the operating system tailored to the ARM platform.

A "Pro" version of the Surface is expected to arrive soon and will run the full version of Windows 8, though it remains to be seen how the "all-in-one" OS will translate to a portable device. Unlike legacy versions of Windows, the new flagship is built to run on both desktops and tablets, however some reviews have found the "Modern UI" to be somewhat confusing.

Surface WiFi
Microsoft's Surface RT tablet.


Speaking to Microsoft's plans to innovate in the "seam" between hardware and software, the chief executive's position remains somewhat nebulous.

"And from a hardware-software perspective, we are really pushing forward aggressively on that boundary," Ballmer said, seemingly contradicting his earlier statement, ?What we say now is there is no boundary between hardware and software."

With a number of Windows 8 products already available ahead of the holiday season, Ballmer sees a bright future for the operating system and hinted that Microsoft's hardware initiative is also starting to take shape.

?I feel pretty good our level of innovations would stack up against anybody,? he said.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 62


    It's not *just* late, Steve. It's a dud. Though the two *are* related.


     


    Because your company is run by a CLOWN.

  • Reply 2 of 62
    Such a visionary, on so many levels.
  • Reply 3 of 62


    Where's the "innovation" exactly?


     


    Or is it the kind that nobody really gives a damn about?    

  • Reply 4 of 62
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 2,005member
    It's almost like he really believes that MS could have made the Surface before the iPad if only they had wanted to.
    It's almost like he believes we will believe him.

    I find this hard to believe...
  • Reply 5 of 62
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,099member
    "Stripped down version of Windows"?? You mean buying a 32GB Win8 tablet and only having 16GB available for use? That's stripped down?
  • Reply 6 of 62


    Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post

    It's almost like he really believes that MS could have made the Surface before the iPad if only they had wanted to.

    It's almost like he believes we will believe him.

    I find this hard to believe...


     


    Poor Ballmer. Copied the Reality Distortion Field but forgot to turn the polarizers around, so it's still directed toward him…

  • Reply 7 of 62
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 2,005member
    Poor Ballmer. Copied the Reality Distortion Field but forgot to turn the polarizers around, so it's still directed toward him…

    ::LOL::
  • Reply 8 of 62
    So is he saying that Tablets are Computers now?
    I don't think Microsoft wants to see the market share numbers if iPad is counted as a computer...
  • Reply 9 of 62
    As usual very little and VERY LATE! anyone else would have been sacked by now!!!!
  • Reply 10 of 62


    Bill probably did hold up a tablet like device in 2001.  And in 2007 I was using a touchscreen, convertible laptop/tablet at work made by Gateway and it was running XP if I remember correctly.  It was very HEAVY, LARGE and not very useful with its pen required touchscreen.  



    Microsoft and its hardware partners already did tablets, and they were horrible.  Apple waited until the technology and size were ready for a small, handheld touchscreen device.  I find this article humorous as Microsoft, as usual, needed Apple to properly define what a device could and should be before they could determine on their own what the product space is.  It is nice that the Surface advertisements let us know that they 'CLICK' when attaching a keyboard.  Yay, it clicks.  As much as the industry changes, its players remain basically the same.  Microsoft has never been an innovator, especially in the consumer space.  And, with Balmer still the CEO, don't expect anything to change anytime soon.  I am curious if the Surface will be around in 24months or will it be another failed attempt at hardware just like the Zune.  [I heard good things about the last versions of the Zune but MS innovated too little, too late]

  • Reply 11 of 62


    Surface, is creating a "seam" between software and hardware and a chasm between MS and its licensees.



    Meanwhile Apple's software and hardware is seamless.



    Ballmer seems as clueless as ever if not more so, chucking out buzzwords like a salesman.

     

  • Reply 12 of 62


    Where would Microsoft be without Apple?


     


  • Reply 13 of 62

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    Speaking to Microsoft's plans to innovate in the "seam" between hardware and software, the chief executive's position remains somewhat nebulous.

    "And from a hardware-software perspective, we are really pushing forward aggressively on that boundary," Ballmer said, seemingly contradicting his earlier statement, "What we say now is there is no boundary between hardware and software."


     


    Uhh... yeah...I think... Here's Steve & Steve when they were last dancing cheek to cheek and just as cock sure "this" was gonna do it fer shur, fer shur...


     


     


    image

  • Reply 14 of 62
    drblankdrblank Posts: 3,385member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post


    It's not *just* late, Steve. It's a dud. Though the two *are* related.


     


    Because your company is run by a CLOWN.



    But, he can dance.  What cracks me up is that they say he LAUDS the Surface tablet.  What do you think he's going to say? It sucks?


     


    If Windows 8 and Surface are so great, then why did they fired Sinofsky?  

  • Reply 15 of 62
    drblankdrblank Posts: 3,385member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by studiomusic View Post



    So is he saying that Tablets are Computers now?

    I don't think Microsoft wants to see the market share numbers if iPad is counted as a computer...


    Well, for all practical purposes tablets and smart phones, by definition, are a form of computer. They have all of the attributes of a computer if you look up the term "computer" in the dictionary.

  • Reply 16 of 62
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,926member
    %u201CBill did hold up a tablet many years ago,%u201D Ballmer replied, adding, "Maybe if we had started innovating then, which is what we really did with Surface, maybe we should have done that earlier. Maybe that tablet shift would have been sooner.%u201D

    Makes you wonder what the F he was doing the last decade. Oh, milking Office and Windows for all its worth.
  • Reply 17 of 62

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by studiomusic View Post



    So is he saying that Tablets are Computers now?

    I don't think Microsoft wants to see the market share numbers if iPad is counted as a computer...


     


    if the ipad is classified as a computer, so should hte ipod touch and iphone.  Screen size is not the decider of 'a computer' or not.

  • Reply 18 of 62

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post


    It's not *just* late, Steve. It's a dud. Though the two *are* related.


     


    Because your company is run by a CLOWN.



     


    You take that back.


     


  • Reply 19 of 62
    All that "Clicking" sound that you hear in Microsoft's Surface TV commercial is a recording of Ballmer trying to think of an innovation! 'click, click, click-click, click, click-click-click, click, click-click, click...'
  • Reply 20 of 62
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pazu16 View Post


    Microsoft and its hardware partners already did tablets, and they were horrible.  Apple waited until the technology and size were ready for a small, handheld touchscreen device.  

     

    My thoughts exactly. Touch screen windows tablets/laptops are nothing new, just have always been really bad. I think Google is doing the same thing with glass. Apple have patented a similar idea but don't seem to be working on a device as a device with the current technology will suck. Google glass will sell well to start but die off quickly and and rarely be used, just like like Android tablets hardly make a blip on internet usage stats.
    Funniest thing Ive seen to do with Google glass was the youtube video where all the glasses do us show ads for everything you look at :)
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