Steve Ballmer says Microsoft should have pursued the tablet space earlier, more aggressively.

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During Microsoft’s shareholder meeting today CEO Steve Ballmer acknowledged to shareholders that Microsoft should have moved quicker into hardware.

“Sometimes getting the innovation right across the seam between hardware and software is difficult unless you do both of them,” he said, noting it was  something “maybe we should have done” earlier.

“Bill did hold up a tablet many years ago,” when it was observed that Microsoft called tablets the future in 2001.

“Maybe if we had started innovating then, which is what we really did with Surface,” Mr. Ballmer said, “maybe we should have done that earlier. Maybe that tablet shift would have been sooner.”

“But we are building a big business working with those partners and serving a lot of needs,” he added. “What we say now is there is no boundary between hardware and software.”

Steve said Microsoft is now determined to propel change, even suggesting there could be other Microsoft-branded hardware.

“I feel pretty good our level of innovations would stack up against anybody,” he said. “And from a hardware-software perspective, we are really pushing forward aggressively on that boundary.”

It seems often Microsoft is full of good ideas, but lacks in execution, needing to be shown the way by others.  Hopefully this is a habit Microsoft can shake when it comes to their next wave of own-branded products.

Read more at WSJ here.



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  • DF

    “Microsoft should have pursued the tablet space earlier, more aggressively.”
    no shit sherlock! you just figuring this out now?

  • just

    MS had the tablet before anyone back 2001.

    • Vitor Canova

      The right idea in the wrong time. Know is time to fight back.

      • Kruegerman

        Right idea, no viable capacitive touch technologies back then.

        • Vitor Canova

          Yes. Only stylus. And they were very heavy too.

          • GG002

            With crappy battery and poor touch UX!

          • Vitor Canova

            At that time we had only Intel Pentium. Probably a iPhone in 2001 would be a 1kg phone. ;)

          • GG002

            Yes, so MS was ahead of its time! Just added to your statement :)

    • jimski27

      I had an Acer convertible tablet in 2002. Stylus was ok, but the layer they used for touch distorted the screen, making it almost unusable, at least for my eyes. Replaced with a Fujitsu Lifebook in less than a year. So my Surface is technically my second Windows tablet.

    • jack

      You mean a regular notebook with a collapsible screen? That’s not tablet.

  • http://twitter.com/brianchau Brian Chau

    They missed the boat. Now is time to look for the next big thing. I still feel MS should start working on home robot. They have some core technologies: Kinect, TellMe, Robotic Studio… Put all these hardware and software together and create an affordable home robot. Imagine every household has a MS-made robot. That would be big business.

  • mecheng

    MS Surface has already lost the plot! It only has WiFi. Who runs around ie mobile with just WiFi? People are already turning away if there is no mobile Internet on it. I sure did!