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Steve Ballmer on Microsoft’s Slates & Tablets strategy and the Apple iPad

At FAM 2010, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer gave somewhat baffling explanation about Microsoft’s position on tablet/slate computing. There’re Windows 7 slates on the way very soon…Toshiba’s compelling dual-screen “Libretto” tablet, but they’re not meant to cover the market populated by iPad or rumored-to-be-pending Android-based devices from Asus, Samsung, Lenovo, and Acer.

Goldman Sachs analyst Sarah Friar asked Ballmer to be absolutely clear about what version of Windows the Slates will get. From Ballmer’s “unambiguous” statement: ” » Slates are built on Intel’s chips, will run some version of “Windows.” » Also a version of Windows Phone for devices bigger than 4″ on the way, but devices are still unknown, and indeed Microsoft isn’t limiting itself to processor type or instruction set with that OS. These don’t appear to fall under the description of “Slate.” Ballmer then went on to say, “Let’s not speculate, let’s merely say when you get your Windows 7 machine, it’ll print. Let’s just start with that. I mean some people actually like to print every now and then. Ours will print.””

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