Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer has told V3.co.uk that the tablet device running a Windows operating system he said would be out by Christmas will be created by third parties.
Speaking yesterday at the London School of Economics (LSE) Ballmer said, " You'll see slates with Windows on them - you'll see them this Christmas."
V3.co.uk asked the Microsoft chief if he could clarify if this would be a product from Microsoft or a third party.
Responding with a short email – sent from his Windows Phone – Ballmer said, "Third party hardware and third party networks", seemingly ending speculation that the tablet he mentioned would be a product designed and developed by Microsoft.
Nevertheless, Microsoft will no doubt be hoping the device reportedly coming to market helps the company gain a footing in the ever-growing tablet space, particularly as it has seen key competitors such as Apple and Android dominating the space.
The company has been slow to respond to the success of the iPad despite the fact it announced a tablet device running Windows 7 from HP to be called the HP Slate at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) as far back as January.
HP confirmed to V3.co.uk it still plans to use the Windows 7 operating system, alongside the WebOS it acquired from Palm, for its tablets – contrary to some reports – and said the device will be targeted at "the specific needs of select commercial markets".
This leaves the door open for HP to be the company behind the tablet coming out before Christmas that Ballmer mentioned during his London visit this week. Asked directly about this, HP said, "HP is very excited about the slate category, so watch this space."
HP also noted that it plans to use the WebOS platform across the rest of its devices, including slates, netbooks and smartphones.
Ballmer's talk at the LSE yesterday covered a range of issues beyond slate devices, including his vision for cloud computing in the business environment and the threat piracy from China poses to technological innovation.
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