Microsoft could still be a tablet contender

Beancounters at analyst outfit IDC have stuck up for the shy and retiring Microsoft CEO Steve “sound of one hand clapping” Ballmer.

People have been saying that the delightfully understated software supremo has dropped the ball lately particularly when it came to tablets.

However IDC said that Microsoft could succeed in the tablet PC space despite coming in late on Apple and manufacturer interest in operating systems other than Windows.

While more cynical analysts say that the only way that Microsoft could get into the tablet market now is by modifying Windows expressly for that form factor, and syncing the device with other services such as Xbox.

IDC analyst David Daoud told eWEEK he is not convinced Microsoft will completely lose the tablet market. He claimed that Ballmer will do what he has always done which is respond with all the resources he has to a competitive threat.

In the case of the Netscape and the browser wars, Microsoft waited a little bit, and then it poked its head out.

Daoud said it was a little complicated because Microsoft is dealing with Apple, which has a first-mover advantage and is a bit bigger than Netscape

Ballmer has suggested that a sufficiently customised version of Windows would indeed run on tablets. However he believes that the stylus, which many feel is an outdated input method for touch screens, would be a major factor.

Others have said that if Microsoft “syncs with the Xbox 360” and the ‘ Kinect‘ interface” it could be a killer hub for the digital home, enabling back-and-forth streaming of videos and games that one-ups the capabilities of the iPad.