Microsoft Corp. was among the first companies to support personal computers in slate form-factor in 1991, then it was the first firm to introduce a mainstream operating system for convertible tablets in 2001. However, in 2011, the company's chief strategist doubts that media tablets will actually remain a popular product category. Still, he admits that Microsoft should have introduced a new OS for tablets earlier.
"I think there's an important distinction - and frankly one we did not jump on at Microsoft fast enough - between mobile and portable. Mobile is something that you want to use while you are moving, and portable is something that you move and then use. These are going to bump into one another a little bit and so today you can see tablets and pads and other things that are starting to live in the space in between. Personally I don't know whether that space will be a persistent one or not. [...] I don't know whether the big screen tablet pad category is going to remain with us or not," said Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer at Microsoft, at an event in Australia, reports the Sydney Morning Herald news-paper.
Microsoft has criticized media tablets for the lack of keyboards, however, its forthcoming major Windows 8 operating system will not only be able to use ARM architecture microprocessors - which power media tablets and smartphones - but will also feature touch-screen interface designed specifically for tablets. Moreover, several companies are planning Windows 7-based slates this year.
Unlike many executives at high-tech companies, who claim that the desktop PC is dead and that laptops/tablets/smartphones are the new PC, Mr. Mundie believes that while desktop form-factor can extinct, stationary PCs will remain, they just will get new forms.
"I believe the successor to the desktop is the room, that instead of thinking that the computer is just something on the desk that you go and sit in front of, [in the] future basically the whole room is the computer and you go in it," said Mr. Mundie.