The New York Times

A decade ago Bill Gates, founder and former chief executive of Microsoft, presented a new class of computing to the world: a tablet PC that offered a fully functional computer with the “intuitive aspects of pencil and paper.”

Since then, Microsoft has struggled to gain traction with a slate-like device, yet each year the company announces new products, software or operating systems that try to promote a world of Windows-based slate computers.

Next month, at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Microsoft will give it another try, presenting a slew of new slates that it hopes will offer some competition to the Apple iPad, which has quickly become the leader in this market.

A person who works at Microsoft said the company was encouraging partners to build applications for these devices that use HTML5, the Web programming language. This person said the applications would not be sold in an app store, as with the Apple iTunes model, but Microsoft will encourage software partners to host the applications on their own Web sites, which will then be highlighted in a search interface on the slate computers. It is unclear if these applications will be ready for C.E.S. as most are still in production.

Another person with knowledge of Microsoft’s plans said Steve Ballmer might demonstrate a tablet and other companion devices running the next operating system, Windows 8.

  1. Sparky_one says:

    So how does the HTML5 app development work when CR-48/Chrome OS does not support Web SQL Database specifications. Two different apps, oh, apple, three different apps. Interfaces, data storage delivery system, architecture. What crap.

  2. Arkyn1 says:

    Why does this even signify? “A person who works at Microsoft…” and then “Another person with knowledge of Microsoft’s plans said…”? Everyone look up “corroboration”, “rumor”, and “speculation” in your dictionaries. The entire report is worth less than a three-dollar-bill.

  3. Canuck says:

    Just think about it. The Zune was as close as Microsoft has come to matching an Apple product.

  4. Special Ed says:

    “Give it another try…”


  5. foobar says:

    These Windows Slate launches seem to be yearly event.

    This sounds like a load of BS to me. The Windows Phone 7 apps are built using Silverlight and/or XNA. Windows apps are built using C++ or .NET. Now they are going build apps for a third platform with HTML5 (the web programming language? snort) in an entirely different way? Somebody got fed a load by an over eager MS drone who works in building 18 or something.

    In more important news, this is the hottest news today in the world of Microsoft development.

  6. Faxon says:

    I have looked at the iPad. Don’t really like it. Have a Kindle II, and after a year reading tens of thousands of pages on it, decided I don’t like it, either.

    I have an original 30GB Zune, I got it off of Woot for $80 a few years back. (I got to experience the big freeze up on New Year’s day a couple years ago as well) That was interesting as hell. It works great, and does everything I want it to do. Actually, I have two or three more in my safe, still unopened, since I figured I needed more storage. I don’t. Zune software works great, and I listen to NoAgenda on it regularly.

    I don’t like Apple’s snobby approach to business, and if I ever get sent to Yerba Buena Gardens again on assignment, and I have to sit through another of Job’s stuck up, skinny ass, sycophant laced, black turtlenecked, product rants, I will throw up.

    So, I will look at Microsoft’s tablet if one ever appears.

  7. What? says:

    I loved Microsoft, since the early DOS 2.x days. They were evil, wrt CP/M, but together with IBM, made respectable computers on every desk a reality.

    They have no business being in business any longer.

    It started when NT 5.0 was delayed, and delayed further. Finally 2000 came out, and it was OK. XP really saved their bacon, that, combinded with the extremely poor quality of Mac OS 7,8, and 9 (when it should have been world class), kept Microsoft in the game.

    But Office seems to have changed little since Office 95, and I’ve never used Win Vista or 7.

    The future, if there is one, belongs to Linux, BSD, etc. I’m afraid.

  8. MikeN says:

    So is Microsoft still a hated company for the denizens of this site, or is that old hat?

  9. Arne Jensen says:

    Why is Dvorak suddenly being a spokeshole for Microsoft? Do they need to be visible on the site?

    I fail to see why yet another doomed-to-fail product from Microsoft deserves any mention at


  10. Glenn E. says:

    So is Windows 8 so much better than Windows 7, that it really deserves a new version number. I mean Windows-98 had it first and second editions. And then Windows ME, which was Win-98 dressed up a bit, and had System Restore added. But it was all Windows 4, right? Then Win-XP came out, which was Windows 5, last time I checked. And then Vista, which must have been Windows 6. But Microsoft didn’t like marketing it’s OS product by simple numbers, until Apple did it. Waiting until Windows got beyond version “Six”. Probably because it sounds a little like you’re saying “Windows Sex”. Suddenly “Seven”, and now “Eight”, are all marketable names for Windows. But apparently ONLY whole numbers. Not fractions. So just as IE has been jumping up by whole version numbers. The Windows OS has been changing by whole version numbers. But not really changing radically, at the kernel level, to justify this. Apparently M$ decides OS version numbers by marketing committee. Blasting thru the version numbers, faster than ever. There ought to be a law.

  11. Glenn E. says:

    PS, I think the Windows 8 logo is dumb. It looks more like it’s “Wind g ws” The “8” appearing as a lower case “G”. The “8” is either replacing or covering the letter “o” in Windows. Why?! What so clever about that? Shouldn’t the bottom loop of the “8” be over the “o”, rather than the top loop? It seems a klutzy ad marketing decision.

  12. Animby says:

    Glenn, they can call it Windows Scratch Between My Shoulder Blades if they want. If they would just get rid of that damned registry system and maybe set a limit on how old legacy gear can be and still be supported. If you’re still using an old six pin thermal printer from 1975, maybe it’s time you invested in something a little more modern…

  13. jescott418 says:

    Funny how Microsoft comes up with great ideals like the Tablet. But Apple polishes and grooms them and makes them successful. Obvioulsy Apple knew people wanted a Tablet,but they wanted one that worked smoothly. Microsoft keeps making the same mistake trying to use a OS that really does not work with a Tablet’s hardware limitations.

  14. foobar says:

    jescott418, Apple succeeded and Google/Partners will succeed with tablets because they came at it building on a modern smart phone platform. Microsoft is struggling because they are coming at it with a desktop platform.

    The guts of Android and iOS may be Linux/Unix but the UI’s are touch focused, streamlined and goal directed. Microsoft has to toss the Windows 7 UI over the side for tablets and build on the Xune/Windows Phone platform. I doubt they’ll do that though.

    Remember everyone saying the iPad is just a big phone? Ironically they actually got it.

  15. deowll says:

    #8 Actually Linux is ready. The product in some versions is as good as an OS gets but people aren’t changing because there is no compelling reason to change when several other more popular OSs are as good.

    That means people are free to use the one they like best or runs the software they like best and if you disagree you are being irrational.

    The demands made by a computer OS mean that at least for now sticking one of them on something like an Ipad is foolish. It will significantly degrade performance on machines that are being pushed to the max already.

    In other words the product is going to be non competitive for obvious reasons.

    The disadvantages of Chrome as a OS are to serious to even be worth discussing besides noting that if you aren’t on line this OS is worthless.

    What do you get that having Chrome on a netbook/notebook wouldn’t get you? Nothing.

  16. Animby says:

    # 16 deowll said, “Actually Linux is ready… people aren’t changing because there is no compelling reason”

    Those are wise words. I’ve used Linux off and on since ~1995. I work with various government and international institutions who pretty much demand all my work be done in MS Office. (Yes, I’ve tried Open Office but, IMHO, it just isn’t prime time ready.) What it comes down to is, I have all my software and it comes to a fairly hefty expense in money and learning. There is just no compelling reason for me to switch over. There are reasons for me to stick with what I have.

  17. foobar says:

    Re linux.

    How many people use Android? It’s the first time a vendor and hardware manufacturers have committed to the Linux. Animby, people just hate to change. Hence the hegemony of Office. Windows is just a platform for running Microsoft Office.

  18. Animby says:

    foobar. Good point. BTW, I use Android – 2.2.1

  19. tcc3 says:

    The registry hasn’t been a problem in 13 years. it serves a purpose and does it well.

    Linux and OSX stores those same settings in thousands of files in hundreds of folders, sometimes with no apparent rhyme or reason.

    I’ll take the registry over the alternative.

  20. jobs says:

    Linux is finally ready for regular people. But the future is i os, Android, Chrome and whatever builds on these.

    I know you guys won’t agree because most of you are still running OS2.

  21. msbpodcast says:

    Microsoft rose to desktop power on the backs of business users by providing something that was “good enough.”

    Businesses responded by redesigning the desktop as little as they could, fitting the computer monitors in the unused space in the corners of the cubicles. Businesses are simply looking for the simplest and cheapest solution.

    Microsoft won the “race to the bottom” and in the process commoditized the PC to such an extent that the Taiwanese and Chinese survivors are the most risk-averse accountants in the world. (Why else are they STILL making PCs with PS/2 keyboard and mouse ports? Antediluvian hold-overs about as useful as tits on a bull.)

    But people never LIKED PCs and/or Microsoft.

    I predict businesses love Android, Google apps and the Chrome OS because it COSTS LESS than Microsoft, just like businesses liked Microsoft because it originally COST LESS than IBM and the mainframe/IT project developmemt and deployment mentality.

    An app store, combined with a plethora of vendors, peppered with a dash of open source, has the same advantage in cost (and time is money,) that Microsoft had in the nineteen-eighties.

    Businesses are run/operated by accountants with cut-throat, nickel-and-dime mentalities.

    They would sell their own mothers by the pound if they could get a decent return on their cutlery investment.

    Their absence of loyalty is the stuff of legend.

    Businesses don’t consume anything; they acquire depreciable assets at the lowest marginal cost possible and try to hang onto it way past its depreciation deadline.

    The only thing hate more than spending money is spending money when they don’t need to, viz: unjustifiably.

    As for Apple, its a consumer products company that USES computer as a strategic advantage to fill perceived market niches.

    Its customers couldn’t care less about hardware specs, OS or computer language. That’s NOT what they’re shelling out their money for.

    Consumers LIKE Apple, not in spite of but because of the abuse Steve Jobs and the designers have put people through over the decades of coming up with cool sh•t to play with.

  22. dexton7 says:

    With enough money and time… the Microsoft Juggernaut will eventually crank out a usable tablet.

    Windows 7 is actually a pretty good product.. and Windows XP is one of their longest living operating systems and is fine if modded correctly.

    They occasionally find an acorn every now and then…

  23. JimD says:

    Aren’t we all running Windoze for Pen now ? Oh no, that was another M$ FAIL !!! Why should that change now ?

  24. JimD says:

    And if Ballmer demos it, it will be cancelled within days !!!

  25. What? says:


    you are correct about Jobs. I wanted to say this for a long while: Jobs abuses people, and he attracts people (employees and customers) who are attracted to abusive personalities.

    This is the reason apple never rises above 10% of market share in PC sales. Only about 10% of people will put up with people who are abusive.

    Whoo, glad you brought that up.

  26. What? says:

    Dvorak should look into Jobs abusive personality, see if their is substance to this.

  27. Glenn E. says:

    If Microsoft would just create a solid OS, one OS, and then merely keep working the bugs out of it, and adding on a few new features every year, that would be fine, Something like what Linux authors are doing. But not these completely new OS overhauls, that end up having all new bugs that’ll take another decade to work out. Windows is too much a Bells and Whistles platform. I use XP, and I’m glad it came along after 98, because it was much more like what I was use to using on my retired Amiga3000. But Vista seems more desktop eye-candy that anything else. And I saw no reason to upgrade PC hardware, in order to be able to upgrade OS software. Vista and 7 are likely more about pushing the hardware forward, than a useful and stable code base.

    Linux might stand a chance at competing with Windows, if the PC makers didn’t keep reinventing the chip sets to favor Microsoft wares. Thus always locking Open Source wares out of the latest drivers and such.

    Legacy really has little to do with it. The keyboards and mice haven’t changed that much in a decade or more. So there’s little problem making drivers that work for all of them, new or ancient. While printers seem to have a two year lifespan, before being considered obsolete. If for no other reason than to spur new printer sales. Whatever you want to call Legacy wares, can easily have driver support until the cows come home, with any OS. It’s not like there’s an economy of space on today’s hard drives, that it can’t be spared for keep drivers for 20 year old anything. Or the binary language of computing has radically changed. And the OS shouldn’t be so damn picky and snooty as to refuse to work with anything too old. Microsoft and IBM use to bow to major business’ demands, to remain compatible with very old software suites and office hardware. And it’s always be Microsoft’s choice to keep the 3.5″ floppy drives in PCs. Rather than allowing writable CD and flash drives to replace them as OS backups. Mainly from paranoia about OS piracy. Everything else, gets moved forward, like graphics cards, storage drive interfaces, and memory add ons.

  28. Glenn E. says:

    I recently saw a Tv ad for the Windows 7 phone. And it responded to voice commands! Now that would be quite a time saver, if it were true. But I wonder of the usual level of background noise, tends to prevent this? And does it only work for a small command vocabulary, rather than translating thousands of spoken words to text messaging? It stroke me that if the so-called “Cloud” had any real usefulness, it would be to provide on-the-fly vocal to text translations. Where as no one PC or handheld device could be powerful enough to handle the task. And huge network of PCs or servers, via the Cloud, could do it easily, thru distributed computing. But the current ads for “the Cloud” just sound like Microsoft’s .NET scheme, renamed and revamped a bit.


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