Way too little, way too late: speaking at the opening keynote at the Worldwide Partner Conference, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told his audience that we should expect Windows 7 tablet computers “sometime before the end of this year.”
“We know you really want to know what’s coming,” said Ballmer. “[Tablets] will come from the people you would expect. From Asus, from Dell, from Samsung, from Toshiba, from Sony.”
Microsoft just doesn’t get it. Their business is software, so it’s understandable they are focusing on selling a tablet operating system instead of a single iPad-challenging tablet themselves (even if that business model is so stagnant that it has directly contributed to the death of possibly revolutionary products).
The problem is: Windows 7, as an operating system, isn’t capable of taking on iOS. One was built from the ground-up to support multitouch; the other is a bad hackjob rlaid on top of a desktop operating system.
HP knows full well that Windows 7 isn’t up to the job of taking on iOS: that’s why they killed the Windows 7 Slate and purchased Palm’s mobile, multitouch operating system, webOS. It’s only a matter of time before Microsoft’s other hardware partners get the same memo.
At the end of the day, Microsoft is going to enter the slate arena several years late, just like they did with Windows Phone 7. How can a company this hopelessly entrenched in the business models of the past hope to survive when the likes of Google and Apple are swimming in the same waters, faster, stronger and smarter?