Jean-Philippe Courtois, president of Microsoft International, in an interview with Reuters, delved into the topic of tablets. When asked whether Microsoft was concerned about the iPad and other tablets affecting the company's dominance of the PC market, he states, "Devices are going to go and come."
Microsoft is currently partnering with Intel to roll out 10 or more Windows tablets this year. But those tablets, like the currently available HP Slate 500, don't have an operating system refined for touch (they run Windows 7). And while they may offer compatibility for some files that competing tablets cannot (e.g. the iOS-powered iPad and Android devices), they are expected to also have inferior battery life, as Intel Atom SoCs are currently less power-efficient than competitive ARM SoCs used in these rivals.
In the long term Microsoft plans to fix those problems by embracing ARM and releasing a version of Windows fine-tuned for tablets. Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer announced that Windows 8 will support ARM processors at CES 2011. Much like Android 3.0 Honeycomb, Microsoft’s Windows 8 will also have a build refined for a touch-driven tablet world.
But Windows 8 may not arrive until 2012 -- or later.
Recent reports revealed that when tablets are factored in to Apple's PC market share, it jumps to number two on the list of top worldwide PC sellers, passing Dell. And Android devices are heating up too, with the Samsung Galaxy Tab selling well and Honeycomb devices launching this Spring.
Mr. Courtois says that even if Microsoft faces an uphill battle in the tablet market, those problems will be offset by Microsoft information technology gains in developing markets. He states, "We see some growth across the world both in developed countries and in emerging countries and that helps the IT spending (outlook)."