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Microsoft May Have Arrived Late in Tablet Market, Admits CEO

By - Source: Reuters | B 17 comments

Ballmer expressed confidence in Surface's chances.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has admitted during a shareholder meeting that the company may have arrived too late to the tablet market, but he remains confident in Surface's potential.

The Windows 8-powered Surface tablet is the first personal computer created by Microsoft, but it launched a month ago, more than two and a half years after Apple released its original iPad. Android-powered tablets have also dominated the market in recent months.

During the meeting in question, Ballmer was asked why Microsoft had fallen so far behind Apple.

"We're innovating on the seam between software and hardware... Maybe we should have done that earlier," he said, noting that he felt "pretty good about [Microsoft's] level of innovation".

The executive also discussed a "sea of upside" for the company in the tablet market. He was referring to the fact that while Windows 7 did offer several touch-friendly features which attracted vendors to create tablets based on the OS, it didn't make its mark in the market itself.

Surface's exact sales figures has yet to be revealed by Microsoft, but the software titan stressed it'll be supporting the device for four more years.

The device's pre-order stages, meanwhile, did showcase its potential commercial breadth. Inventory for every variant of the tablet sold out following the cheapest version selling out in a day after pre-sales commenced.

 

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  • 6 Hide
    cats_Paw , November 30, 2012 7:21 AM
    "Go home Balmer, you are drunk" comes to mind.
    I never understood why its CEOs who talk at shereholders meetings. Im quite sure Balmer does not know 5% of the stuff your regular Microsoft porgramer can tell you about Win 8.
  • 2 Hide
    dangerism , November 30, 2012 7:31 AM
    Even though they created the tablet market? What does this mean?
  • 1 Hide
    steve360 , November 30, 2012 7:41 AM
    Better late than never. But too bad it's not as good.
  • 4 Hide
    damianrobertjones , November 30, 2012 7:42 AM
    Could one of the, 'highly respected' tech sites out there PLEASE tell us why nearly ALL of the Windows 8 tablets have been delayed again and again?

    Then again that would be journalistic practise to present such an article so I don't expect much.
  • 0 Hide
    DjEaZy , November 30, 2012 7:43 AM
    ... it's just a half baked product...
  • 1 Hide
    frombehind , November 30, 2012 7:50 AM
    at least their being honest about it... not like apple lying their @$$es off about their sucky maps every step of the way -.-
  • 2 Hide
    vfunct , November 30, 2012 7:58 AM
    Actually they arrived early to the tablet market.. they just sucked at the tablet market.
  • 3 Hide
    craig_1000 , November 30, 2012 10:25 AM
    dangerismEven though they created the tablet market? What does this mean?


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_for_Pen_Computing
    1991 - for a start then there was the failed attempt at

    'Windows for Pen Computing was a software suite for Windows 3.1x, that Microsoft designed to incorporate pen computing capabilities into the Windows operating environment. Windows for Pen Computing was the second major pen computing platform for x86 tablet PCs; GO Corporation released their operating system, PenPoint OS, shortly before Microsoft published Windows for Pen Computing 1.0 in 1991.[1][2]'

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_XP_editions
    look at the Tablet PC Edition of XP
  • 0 Hide
    deadlockedworld , November 30, 2012 11:28 AM
    "may have" ahahahaha.
  • 0 Hide
    candrwhite , November 30, 2012 11:34 AM
    "Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has admitted during a shareholder meeting that the company may have arrived too late to the tablet market"

    May have? MAY HAVE? /facepalm
  • 2 Hide
    bllue , November 30, 2012 12:24 PM
    It's not the time they came in, but the sheeple. Most consumers still have the iSheeple mindset where they think the only tablet is the iPad even though the Surface is superior.
  • 0 Hide
    alexthager , November 30, 2012 1:46 PM
    bllueIt's not the time they came in, but the sheeple. Most consumers still have the iSheeple mindset where they think the only tablet is the iPad even though the Surface is superior.


    Is it superior? I own both an iPad (newest gen.) and Surface. I love them both, but you simply can't say one is far better, it's based on preference.
  • 0 Hide
    azraa , November 30, 2012 2:52 PM
    You know, Im getting tired of the word 'innovation' or at least the usage tech-giants are giving it.
    Is that just me?
  • 1 Hide
    bigdragon , November 30, 2012 4:31 PM
    Ballmer doesn't get it. His company has been a part of the tablet market for years. They practically started it by promoting smart phones and tablet PCs back in the day. The problem is that Microsoft wasn't innovative. They weren't creative. They sat on their butts doing the same old thing year after year. They were content to produce devices that were good enough rather than looking forward at what could be hot next.

    Microsoft was caught by surprise by Apple and Google. These companies showed them that the mobile experience and tablet experience could be so much more than using a stylus to poke at a brick that goes in your pocket. They showed us that the user experience is paramount to getting tons of consumer excitement and support. Microsoft fell behind in very much the same manner RIM has. Ballmer is just trying to spin his way out of being caught asleep at the wheel.

    damianrobertjonesCould one of the, 'highly respected' tech sites out there PLEASE tell us why nearly ALL of the Windows 8 tablets have been delayed again and again?Then again that would be journalistic practise to present such an article so I don't expect much.

    Agreed! What is with all the pro tablets getting pushed back to sometime Q1 next year? They're ridiculously hard to find.
  • 0 Hide
    Old_Fogie_Late_Bloomer , November 30, 2012 7:18 PM
    bllueIt's not the time they came in, but the sheeple. Most consumers still have the iSheeple mindset where they think the only tablet is the iPad even though the Surface is superior.

    I once tried to gently explain to someone--who used the word unironically--that saying "sheeple" would weaken her credibility and distract from whatever point she was trying to make. Unfortunately, I don't think I got through to her...
  • 0 Hide
    killerb255 , December 1, 2012 3:23 PM
    To build on Bigdragon's post about Ballmer not getting it, let's look at just what made Apple successful (yes, I know this isn't something Tom's audience wants to hear, but we need to look at reality here):

    It all started with the iPod. A mere MP3 player! If it weren't for that, Apple wouldn't even be relevant right now! The iPod saved Apple from bankruptcy! Apple built off of that.

    iPod touch + cell phone = iPhone.
    iPod touch + growth hormone = iPad.

    As for Microsoft, they weren't late to the tablet market. They've had tablets in the past, but they sucked at them. Now they're trying to copy Apple and are desperately trying to figure out just what is making Apple successful. Again, it's building off an already successful product.

    Maybe they're trying to do that with Windows--building off of Windows to make their phone and tablet efforts successful. The problem? Apple didn't go back and change the iPod drastically to make the iPhone and iPad successful. Microsoft drastically changed Windows (8, RT) to fit their phone and tablet efforts, and it's not working all that well.

    Then again, Windows as-is (i.e.: XP, 7) doesn't seem like a winning formula for tablets and phones either. Otherwise their previous efforts would have been successful (i.e.: Windows Mobile).

    So really, the problem would be more than not having a base product that would be friendly to mobile devices...Microsoft is desperate. They're throwing things at the wall at this point, trying to see what sticks.
  • 0 Hide
    falchard , December 2, 2012 12:06 PM
    2004 was too late for Tablet PCs? Samsung had slate's with Windows since then.