Ballmer bashes Google tablets, teases “unique” Windows approach coming soon

By Tom Warren, on 27th May 11 6:00 pm with 63 Comments

Ballmer demonstrating a Windows Slate at CES 2010

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has claimed that Google’s approach to tablets has failed so far.

Speaking at Microsoft’s new research-and-development building in Beijing, China on Thursday, Ballmer made his comments to hundreds of Microsoft employees. Google “has taken a failed approach so far” to tablets, said Ballmer. He also acknowledged that Apple’s approach with its popular iPad had been successful.

Ballmer went on to tease Windows 8 and its tablet offering. The software giant is working on a “unique contribution” to tablets according to Ballmer. “More news about that in the not-too-distant future,” he said according to the Wall Street Journal. The revelation follows previously comments by Ballmer earlier this week, claiming that Windows 8 PCs, Tablets and Slates will be made available next year.

Microsoft’s Windows chief, Steven Sinofsky, is expected to demonstrate the company’s efforts with Windows 8 next week. WinRumors exclusively detailed the company’s plans earlier this week. Sinofsky is appearing at the All Things Digital D9 conference on Wednesday morning. The software giant confirmed Sinofsky’s appearance on Monday. Microsoft has a habit of introducing new technologies at the Wall Street Journal’s D: All Things Digital Conference, which will run from May 31 to June 2 this year. Bill Gates introduced Microsoft’s Surface computer in 2007 and the company demonstrated Windows 7 multitouch in 2008. Microsoft will show a “technology preview” of its Windows 8 Tablet experience at the conference next week.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer promised Windows 8 PCs, Tablets and Slates next year during a speech earlier this week. Several Taiwan based PC manufacturers have reportedly complained that they have been excluded from early Windows 8 development programs. The software giant has reportedly talked with Nvidia, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, Intel and AMD to seek their participation in a special Integrated Development Program for Windows 8. Some companies have complained to the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) in Taiwan to seek government involvement.

Microsoft may introduce Windows 8 ARM based tablets ahead of a full desktop release according to reports. Microsoft’s competitive tablet strategy is believed to be further along than expected. Dell’s recently leaked Tablet Roadmap revealed that the OEM has marked Q1 2012 as its date for a Windows 8 based slate. WinRumors understands that Microsoft has been working on an ARM based version of Windows for nearly a year and that it is laboring hard to bring this to the market as soon as possible. Microsoft has previously promised a “major revamp” of Windows for slate applications, that will come in the next version, Windows 8.

  • Halloohaa

    Can Ballmer show a little respect before bashing others competitor products?

    I’m rooting on Windows 8 and HP WebOS as another worthy iPad competitor Tablet, but really, an arrogant CEO just seems to drive fans away.

    And i just read from Asymco that Microsoft gain money from Android Patent Infringment which is much more than Windows Phone 7 sell. Ow man…

    • Eingoluq

      i think that includes android tablets

    • zzz

      Why dont you wait and see what he has to show before calling him arrogant? He said we will know soon.

    • Halloohaa

      well, if i recall in the passing years,
      In 2007, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer famously said,
      “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance.”

      But then, guess who’s talking… even letting his employees to shame himself with

      tell me in my face that is not arrogant, Ballmer pattern is looking down at a products, release the same products, fail miserably in the products, and then said a little good thing about competitor products to hide his shame + fired several good friends at Microsoft.

      ow yeah, i find this good article on Ballmer tablet strategy

      tell me some new groundbreaking Microsofts products except the original Windows and Office. Bing? ow yeah. Kin, holy cow. i can only think of Xbox.
      remember, Ballmer is never the man of his words.

    • Grs_dev

      By comparison, Apple shipped a total of 16 Million and a total of 4% of all mobile phones in 2010. Nokia, Samsung, LG, and ZTE all shipped ships more with Nokia shipping almost 10x more. So while Apple occupies a large percentage of your household items Hollahoop, reality is something totally different.

      Mind you that apple managed to reach the 4% share by nearly growing 90% year over year! It would be very interesting how long they can sustain that. Not to mention that till now, Apple has not broken down what percentage of those 16 million units were iPhones vs iPads vs iPod touch.

    • Watchman247

      I really think, that you have no clue about Micro$oft ! One of the most arrogant and paranoid company of the world !

    • Johnnyappleseedisqueer

      FO troll. 

    • the-hq

      Wait a second. If an arrogant CEO drives fans away then, according to your logic, Apple should have no fans at all since Steve Jobs is for sure the most arrogant CEO out there.

    • Brent

      Jobs gets away with it because he’s normally able to back up his arrogance with a game changing product. Ballmer hasn’t been.

      I agree with Halloohaa. At this stage Ballmer should just stfu and let the product do the talking for him, assuming it actually is game changing for once.

    • zzz

      I don’t remember him being arrogant about his products and not backing up. Last one he touted was WP7 at CES when he boldly called it the best smartphone out there. I agree with him and so does the result of PC magazine’s consumer survey showing Samsung Focus beating iphone. His famous iphone comment was expected and overblown IMO. Actually, I’m pretty happy to see his tablet comment because that means they’ve got something nice to show. He wouldn’t have said that if they didn’t.

    • Watchman247

      WP7 is definetly NOT the best smartphone …. rofl !

    • zzz
    • GRS_DEV

      game changing my foot. People who buy into those if you don’t have a turd phone ads deserve nothing but a turd phone and a turd face to sell them that POS you claim to have changed a game.

      Look, Jobs is a good marketer. Good salesperson. Good cult leaders. He’s never claimed to be a technologist. In fact he’s always claimed that technologists don’t get it and he may be right about that part. I just find the fact that he chose to and has been able to promote his garbage in a field where people are supposed to have a higher than average IQ to get in a bit disappointing.

      With that said, Jobs goes out of his way to make his audience feel like he knows something they don’t. Ballmer on the other hand is the prototypical CEO. He’s Microsoft’s best salesperson. The problem is that he hasn’t been able to rope in the execution part yet. For his sake I hope the last few moves pan out for him.

    • Watchman247

      But one Steve is a monkey-fool and the other a genius and charismatic !

    • Anonymous

      why don’t you say that about steve jobs?

    • GP007

      He can be a little arrogent when there’s truth in there, lets face it no android tablet has stolen the show from the iPad, and sales wise they all come up short.   If OEMs hope they can repeate Androids success with phones on tablets by just flooding the market with more and more devices then they’re wrong, so far at least, since it hasn’t worked.

      If anything with the right UI and good prices with support for the apps that make sense then Win8 tablets will give the iPad a run for it’s money, something the droids haven’t done.  For all the hype around the Xoom it’s been a no show really.

    • Anonymous

      Well, The Asus Transformer has a lot of demand, and Asus said they were drastically increasing production. Also, The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 has supposedly got a lot of pre-orders and lots of anticipation.

    • GP007

      We’ll have to wait and see how it goes in the end.  Initial demand is fine but does it last and more importantly does it keep growing?   That is, 2 months from now can you get people to still buy it or will sales dry up after a few weeks?

    • Anonymous

      This is the CEO of Microsoft talking to their own R&D department “rallying up the troops”.. what else would you expect?  I’m sure Steve Jobs is a major douche bag in his “rallying up the troop” launches and he sues people for leaking morsels we ridicule MS on :)

    • GRS_DEV

      Respect your competition? Being polite and respectful are 2 different things Halloohaa…

      MS makes $5 from HTC sales of Android devices only not every Android device sold. Just to set the record straight. I have no problem with Stevie B bashing goole’s tablet. I didn’t even realize google has a tablet until I read this article.

      In other news, Google will soon begin giving away free heart transplants as part of their new embeded search signal enhancement strategy… Halloohaa are you going to stand inline for one of those too?

    • Halloohaa

      Say, aren’t ignorance is blissful, and very proud of you didn’t know of Google tablet, where do you come from?

      Google raise competition in technology, which Microsoft has stuck since long time ago, the charge only at the search and ads, which is not a very bad point as casual user won’t have to pay license which surprise surprise costly at Microsoft(except Windows Live and Bing, nothing is free, hey be glad to point out if i miss something). And Google usually the push technology above business.

    • Grs_dev

      If by google tablets you deduced that Stevie B was slamming the xoom and the asus android tablets then he’s again correct.

      I consider the xoom a motorola tablet and not a google tablet and the asus one obviously asus’. So when we say a google tablet I am expecting to see a tablet version of the recently announced chrombook.

      Again, Motorola has basically come out and said they’re not too thrilled with the sales of their Android tablet. Asus’ is too early to tell. The price point Asus is looking to enter the market in might help them sell more units. But have you actually seen the Honeycomb UI/UX? It’s friggin’ horrible!

      Once again Hoollahoop, if you’re trying to show your ignorance, I can easily say you’ve more than succeeded.

    • oolong2

      To be fair he was speaking to Microsoft employees…   It’s not unusual to bash the other team at a pep rally.

      Compared to Google/Jobs Balmer has been far more gracious when it comes to speaking openly about the competition.

    • Watchman247

      WTF … where is Google bashing arrogantly products from the competition. It is M$ and Intel which are FUDing oponents! In which dimension do you live !?

    • oolong2

      You’re still using “M$”?  Seriously?   Geez these are all companies making tens of billions of dollars. Microsoft is not “the man” and  Google, Apple, etc. are not powerless little guys they are huge goliaths.

      It’s not the 1985 Marty, come back to the future.

  • Eingoluq

    I hope that windows 8 tablets have comparable battery life and size to the ipad. if not its gonna be a tough race.

    • GP007

      I expect 8+hr’s tbh,  the move off of x86 and over to ARM by itself is what will bring better battery life.

    • Anonymous

      Windows itself is not very power-friendly

    • Anonymous

      Yes it is.. Windows is very power friendly. It idles well, it manages load well.  Look at what people are squeezing out of low powered home theater computers in avsforum.  Just from my work i’ve built a 400.00 system that uses 38 watts to watch HDTV or play bluray movies. It idles down to about 30 watts and goes to sleep at 4 watts and wakes up quickly with the remote – so quickly you don’t even know it was asleep.  As we move to APU systems power ratings will improve more because you don’t need a hot power hungry south bride or discrete video card.

    • Watchman247

      Thats a absolutely bulls***. You dont get the fact, that Windows compared to iOS or Android is absolutely overblown and full with code you simply dont need! Wintel-Monopoly .. new Windows needs new PC! Windows need much more powerfull CPU, Graphics, Memory ect. so it needs much more power. dont ignore that ….

    • Anonymous

      You have no clue what you’re talking about. The power requirements for windows absolutely fall on the hardware size.  You can build an Intel 2300t system on h67 motherboard that plays 1080p blu ray 3d at about 18-30watts (no more than a stand alone stb)if you use PicoPSU power supplies.  You need to absolutely learn something before you open your trap.  Power efficiency in PC computing is Intel’s major target and AMD is moving the same direction as well.  Of course if you have an ATI 4870 + AMD 6 core CPU you’re going to use 250+watts to play a high end game but puhhhhlease.. it has nothing to do with windows lack of efficiency as that crap was ironed out ages ago.  Windows has advanced power management, it has advanced sleep & hibernate modes, it takes advantage of SSD/HDD spin down and sleep modes. WDDM 1.1 from Vista and 7 forward is a great drive model that supports advanced power management.  Its simply been the lack of hardware with power management being built in holding back and its really starting to take shape.  With that being said, its very easy to even undervolt and underclock 65w tdp or better cpus  and use high efficiency PSUs to achieve some amazing power efficiencies.

    • Watchman247

      I am looking forward that W8 is a big FAIL. Why are you humans stick around Windows. Its so yesterday ….

    • Eingoluq

      You’re right, because iOS and even android can offer me so much more. They both have the broadest support for all video file formats, they both have deep enterprise support. I also get system wide access to my files. And to satisfy my creative side they both offer me full handwriting support and an application that lets me store my ideas like a creative journal. I also get a full featured productivity suite.
      On another note they also tap into one of the largest online gaming network.
      Why the hell would I want to be interested in a Windows device?

      PS: I was being sarcastic. all above features are windows features and are not available on Android nor iOS. And BTW b4 you think me some microsoft sheep, I was super excited for the ipad and was disappointed with the toy it turned out to be. there was little innovation involved with regards to input and actual tablet use for the creative individual. (ipad=iphoneX4)

  • spragued

    Agree with Halloohaa – Ballmer’s style is so last century. He doesn’t seem to get that his goal should be to convert early adopters and those folks don’t go for that old timey “our competitors are losers” baloney. If he acknowledged their strengths and then presented an even more compelling product/vision — he would win.

    • Fred

      Vic Gundotra, a VP at Google, called Microsoft a “turkey”. Google also accused Bing of “stealing”, so MS is being kind compared to Google’s trash talk.

    • OMG55

      If your read the complete article, you would have noticed that
      1. It was a meeting with MS employees and someone leaked the details
      2. In the meeting with MS employees, basically he was speaking about Google tablet failure base on what is happening in the sale market of the google units vs. iPads
      3. He acknowleged Apple’s iPad success

      So in short, I believe he was speaking to his troops, trying to ensure that MS contribution to the tablet market in innovative enought so it won’t suffer the same fate Google is so far base on actual sale numbers. Yes he was late to the party because he had the King of the Hill syndrome, but now he know what he has to attempt to do. wouldn’t you want someone who learns from mistakes leading you troops?

  • Anonymous

    Windows tablets are already unique today. They have been unique for more than 8 years.

    • Guest

      And sold less over that entire period than Apple did in its first six months.

    • RWalrond

      Really? I always here the iSheep say this, but you know I’ve never seen any official numbers. However I will give credit where credit is due and today Apple is king of the Pads. If you go back in History you will see that for a short period of time, Apple was also king of the desktop. We all know how that turned out.

    • GRS_DEV

      Apple sells the ipad at $500-$800. Their cost to manufacture the ipad per isuppli is around $330 a pop. Just for hardware we’re talking here! If you factor in the warranty, the software cost, the initial R&D cost, the Marketing and PR cost, and oh not to mention Steve Jobs’ black shirts, jeans and sneakers costs, you will notice that the chances of apple actually making any money on the iPad and iPad2 are slim to none. In fact I will venture to say that they’re losing money on the product and subsadizing the losses with app store and apple care revenues.

      Moreover, the iPad is cannabilizing apple’s premium priced products, the Mac line of computer hardware and software, which one would assume have some profitability baked in their prices since they’re constantly higher than the rest of their competition. And since iOS and based on OSX but not truly a “1 single codebase” that means there is overhead in maintaining both platforms.

      So while on the surface it appears that Apple is kicking ass, don’t be so quick to jump to deduce what they may or may not be doing right. For a while there everyone was gungho about a true grit company called Enron and how stable and safe of an investment it was! Now I am not saying Apple is doing what Enron was doing back in the day, not at all no where near. I am however, doubting the sustainability of the model that the big fruit is putting to work for its investors and religious followers.

    • Anonymous

      PREACH IT!

    • oolong2

      Comparing the sales of an iPad vs. Windows Tablets is like comparing XBoxes with desktops.

      One is a work device the other is a play device.   MS has been pushing tablets as a work device for years.  However the iPad does not *replace* a PC unless you’re a toddler or a grand ma.   Rather it created a new market as a different form factor for consuming the web, books, games, video, and simple apps.

      You’re still going to need a PC or Mac for any real work (business, student, artist, etc.)

      If the iPad was based on Mac OS Apple would be penetrating the PC market much more deeply than it is as more of a serioius “tool” rather than a “toy”.  If they were smart they would be merging iOS with MacOS right now, but they won’t because for apple it’s always been about the *device* and for Microsoft it’s always been about *flexability*.   Android proved once again that flexability wins out in the marketplace over time, because all things being equal people want choices.

      Windows 8 truely represents the next evolution in computing because not only will it bring touch interaction to tablets, but ALL surfaces which has been Microsoft’s strategy for years now.  People forget the flexability of windows and how vendors and consumers will inevitably create setups that are far beyond the capabilities that we see on iPads using hardware that we cannot yet imagine.

      Couple that with new stylus input technology (ie Courier & Project Gustav), voice control, and computer vision (ie Kinect & Bing Vision, etc) on an enterprise platform (business network/cloud/live services) and we will really have the next generation of computing.

      I believe Courier was canceled because when you look at how fast things are progressing in technology, it really doesn’t make sense for Courier and Windows to be two separate things.  The new NVidia Tegra chips coming out later this year are more powerful than my laptop, probably my desktop too actually…

    • Harald Prassl

      The next big thing is a smartphone and a dock with a LCD and keyboard! I dont have any need for a overblown Windows anymore ! Also for tablets you can attach a keyboard and with the Google Cloud for instance, you neither need the expensive MS Office. Think beyond the “Wintel” wall ! Theres a fantastic colorfull world of different gadgets, not just Intel and M$ !

    • oolong2

      “The next big thing is a smartphone and a dock with a LCD and keyboard!”

      Actually that device already exists….  It’s called the Motorolla Atrix.  Do you have one?  I’m guessing no. The sales have been horrible, but I could have told you lthat would be the case long ago. Why?  Because Android is no where near as capable as a desktop OS and people cannot justify buying a docking station for the same price you can get a netbook that can do so much more.

      Eventually Android will have evolved enough to justify something like that, but not now….

      However Windows 8 on ARM does open up that possibility.  You have a full OS running on a tablet or smart phone.  One UI for touch screens and another UI for running a desktop when you dock it..  Intell has already announced that they are thinking about a Windows 8 based phone.

      So yes that is the future, but unlike Android your options will not be limited to just a browser and some phone apps.  You will have access to all windows applications, all windows phone applications (conceivably) and have compatibility with the millions of existing peripherals (keyboards, joysticks, monitors/projectors, mice, remotes, drives, network devices, etc) already work with Windows.

  • Anonymous

    Better have some pen input stuff thrown in.

    • GP007

      I think it should, MS has worked on pen input for quite some time IMO.  It’d be a strong sales point.

    • Grannyville7989

      It’s one of the major components I’m looking for in a tablet, along with touch friendly UI for navigation.

  • zzz

    Guys, it’s a very positive sign that he came out swinging like that before the demo next week.

  • Anonymous

    The author must be a moron. Ballmer mentioned the money MS makes from China is about 5% of what it made in US while China’s PC sales is slightly less than US. The author interpreted it as MS lost 95% in its China business. Piracy is a factor that MS profited less in China.  However, does anyone really think MS can make the same amount of money as it does in US if China eradicated piracy? MS’ revenue comes more from its software than its OS. How many software MS developed in Chinese? Ballmer denies the price is a factor. Nonetheless, MS sells its OS in China at price of ~20% of that it sells in US market. Doesn’t it say something? Price IS a big factor that counterfeit software persist in China. MS Office Student edition costs half month’s salary for everage Chinese. Computer is useless without software!

    • Justfortherecord

      You must also factor in exhange rates and to the level of which consumer spending verse piracy is really going on. While China may be a source of piracy mand countries are also guilty of such activities. As I have said in the past the majority of news coming out today is not news but sensationalist BS created to drive people in one direction over the other. And it is blogs like these that turn into rumor mills to keep on pushing the propaganda.

      MSFT – The measure twice and cut once guys… They have alot to prove being the pioneers of the tablet PC. So they are making sure they deliver a solid piece of hardware and software to go togeher.
      GOOG – Build Android Flavor (You Pick) and throw it over the fence( Hardware Manufac(s)) and see what sticks. It is a failed solution at this point. There is no clear concise strategy its lets see how many of these things we can flood the market with and seach which one floats and which one sinks to the bottom.
      APPLE – Closed and restricted ecoystem able to control quality and cost and gets out ahead because it offers a inclusive and exclusive package.

      All things D is coming up so we should get a glimpse of what is to come in the next few months and early next year for MSFT.

      The Next few months to a year will be stablizing and expanding each “ecosystem” respectively and building more concise and integrated user experiences.

    • Mark

      Considering China’s population is 4x the US and growing much faster, yes it’s conceivable that over time MS could make more in China than it does here. To do that two things need to occur: reduce the piracy rate and see income per capita rise so that higher ASPs can be supported. The latter will happen by definition as China continues to grow, as it has elsewhere. The former takes education and, in China’s case, a major cultural change since they think it’s not only okay but actually smart to rip off anything they can.

      Forget your student example. 80% of MS’s revenues come from businesses. China isn’t the #2 PC market due to home users. It’s #2 primarily because of corporate purchases. If those companies can afford to buy a PC, then they can afford to buy legal software, especially at 20% of US list. They don’t because ripping things off it applauded and enforcement of IP is lax. Dropping the price from 20% of US list to 5% isn’t likely to change that much. With piracy as prevalent and accepted as it is there now, the effective cost of software (movies, etc) equals the price of the media.

      Your alias fits you: blinded.

  • Eric Hadri

    I hope its great, because I honestly wouldnt mind having a tablet for such painfully obvious reasons. The iPad, what a splash with what 100′s of millions sold, had a pretty plain idea. Offer the iphone with a huge screen… I would prefer windows with a more touch friendly layout. 

    Please, good battery life, USB ports, good capacity SSDs.

    • Anonymous

      That’s a huge exaggeration. No more than 40 million iPads were sold; especially with a shortage on the iPad 2. The tablet Market has just started, and Apple has a huge lead, for sure, but that was completely unopposed. 

  • RWalrond

    I like it when Ballmer and Microsoft talk smack! MS needs to get the swagger back, they
    need to start innovating in the OS space again. Thank goodness for Apple and
    Google, cause without them MS wouldn’t be scrambling like this.

    To all you Apple and Google fans, you should also be rooting for Microsoft to bring
    something game changing to the table because it will cause Apple and Google to
    accelerate their innovations so perhaps next time you’ll get more than a few
    cameras in your iPad upgrades.

    • Anonymous

      I bet 80% of ipad owners have buyers remorse right now. easily. Its one of those things that is cool for a few mins but then it ends up on ebay and craigslist and boy howdy, there are a TON of them on ebay and craigslist.  They’re pretty much worthless in secondary markets and for apple, that is NOT good. Means they’re not holding that “Value” apple fans claim their desktops & laptops have.

    • Shiro

      My neighbor is remorseful.  He said the the iPad is like a big iPhone. He prefers his iPhone so the iPad does not get much use.

    • Thomas

      I love the idea of a windows 8 slate and i love my ipad. I use it as a handheld web browser.

  • Ura Bonehead

    Well, maybe the new CEO will sell Ballmer one of those new OS tablets at a discount.
    Seriously, I’ve been a MSFT fan and power user forever!  But they’re losing me FAST!  The world (and me) isn’t waiting for you, MSFT.  It’s always ‘tomorrow’ with you guys.
    Plus…. Users need the option to direct sync (at least) Contacts and Calendar (i.e., stays off the cloud).  Everything else (music, video, social network, apps….) who cares.
    [Just my two cents]

  • WINner

    This is exicting dude :)

  • WINner

    This is exicting dude :)

  • magicW3

    A windows tablet(mini) already exists called the Magic W3.  Its a mini-tablet smartphone that runs the full Windows 7 OS Home.  It is scheduled to be initially released in one month in China and Hong Kong to its 800 million user smartphone market and then to other markets.  China Media Group (CHMD) is to distribute this device but seems to have difficulty getting the word out in my opinion.  I suspect that Microsoft is less than supportive of this device as it has invested so much in WP7 and now this new Windows Tablet version.  The engadget and slashgear reviews show demo videos of this tablet smartphone running Office apps as well as Photoshop.

  • oi oi

    Can you please stop copying and pasting the same paragraph at the end of your articles about ‘microsoft’s tablet strategy’. Dull now.

  • Guest

    Do you think that any of the people who post on this site might learn how to spell any time in the next decade?