Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has claimed that Windows is changing.
“[Windows] will look a lot different and it will run different applications” than it does in 2011, Ballmer told an audience at the Houston Technology Center on Thursday. “Will all these innovations, will Windows look like it does today? Of course not!”
Ballmer’s comments follow company criticisms from industry analysts and even Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Microsoft famously introduced its Tablet PC edition of Windows in 2001. The company produced a hardware specification for its OEM partners that would see hundreds of pen-enabled personal computers on the market. Microsoft originally licensed a separate copy of Windows, Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, before integrating the technology into future Windows versions. Despite Microsoft’s head start, Tablet PCs have not sold in large quantities. The software giant has been criticized for its slow response to Apple’s iPad device, introduced in April, 2010. Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, previously said Windows 7 based Slates would be available “as soon as they’re ready” when questioned earlier in 2010. Microsoft’s hardware partners introduced a range of new form factors at CES, a mix between traditional Slates and laptops.
Ballmer also spoke briefly about how Apple has turned its fortunes around, according to the Houston Chronicle. “When I started at Microsoft, Apple was bigger than us,” he said. “By 1997, Apple was almost bankrupt. Now, Apple has turned itself around quite nicely. You see, you can come, go, come and go, and come again!”
Ballmer’s comments hint that Windows 8 will be a major change for the company. Rumors suggest that Microsoft may introduce Windows 8 ARM based tablets ahead of a full desktop release. 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.