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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