July 29 (Bloomberg) — Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer said tablet computers are high on his priority list as Apple Inc. takes the lead in a market his company has tried to foster for more than a decade.
“Today, one of the top issues on my mind is ‘hey there’s a category we have had Windows on for a long time and Apple’s done an interesting job of putting together a synthesis and putting a product out,’” Ballmer said today at Microsoft’s annual analyst meeting at the company’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington.
Tablets based on Microsoft’s Windows operating system have struggled since their initial release in 2002, capturing less than 2 percent of the total computer market. Apple, based in Cupertino, California, sold 3.27 million iPads last quarter, outselling all comparable computers. The device debuted April 3.
Ballmer said the company is working with hardware partners to produce compelling tablet computers and will be aided by the release early next year of a new Intel Corp. chip, code-named Oak Trail.
Oak Trail is a dual-core version of Intel’s Atom chip for tablets. It will improve battery life by using half the power while offering enough processing to provide smooth video and fast Web surfing.