Ballmer tells analysts that Microsoft’s answer to the iPad is Windows 7 running on tablets (or, in his parlance, slates). On its face, if he means this in the obvious way, their efforts are doomed. The iPad would not be a phenomenon if it ran Mac OS X — and Mac OS X is better-suited than Windows for this sort of thing.
Keep in mind, though, that Microsoft is willing to call anything “Windows” if it’s a computer OS. Exhibit A: Windows Phone 7, which, as I’ve pointed out before, offers a UI that doesn’t even involve lowercase-w windows.
But if they do have a plan for an iPad competitor that isn’t Windows 7, what is it? iOS scaled up to fill the iPad’s bigger screen. Windows Phone 7’s Metro UI, on the other hand, doesn’t seem like the sort of thing that would work at all on a larger display. Maybe it will, though?
(I’m not so sure how well Android is going to scale to fill 9-inch displays, either. The only other mobile OS that seems conceptually ready-to-go as a tablet OS is WebOS.)
★ Sunday, 1 August 2010