Four reasons Steve Ballmer may be obsessed with killing the iPad

Heavy pressure, tech genius, or mild insanity have driven Microsoft's CEO to make killing the iPad his top priority

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But only the Microsoft moniker has the juice to generate the type of buzz that can really drive tablet sales to take on the iPad. Every day vendors have to wait for a tablet platform from Microsoft, they see iPad sales increase and Apple stock prices rises -- and they fire off more frenzied emails and phone calls to Ballmer, demanding something flashy and with a touchscreen, ASAP.

Maybe Michael Dell has been increasing the pressure with threats such as, "If you don't give us a WindPad OS soon, we'll move our praise of Ubuntu over Windows to our home page."

3. Steve Ballmer might be a genius. The tablet PC is nothing new. Microsoft already took a crack at it, but it never gained wide adoption, just some play in niche fields. But perhaps the tablet's time has indeed come, and Ballmer foresees PC users of the world abandoning their computers, monitors, keyboards, and mice for tablets with virtual keyboards and a touch screen. Ballmer knows it -- and he knows that Microsoft can build the kind of tablet platform that can dominate that lucrative pie.

To me, the tablet form factor doesn't scream "productivity and entertainment" so much as "entertainment with limited productivity potential." I can't imagine building a spreadsheet or cranking out a PowerPoint presentation sans mouse on a screen that's partially cluttered by a virtual keyboard. But then, I'm not the tech genius.

4. Steve Ballmer might be a little insane. That's not a clinical diagnosis, but a man who allegedly throws chairs at people and pretends to stomp his own employees' devices in front of a group of onlookers can be all there. His lack of sleep might also be contributing to unclear thinking. Surely it's not because symptomatic of ineptness or buffoonery. Mild insanity coupled with sleep deprivation could very well drive him to making the death of the iPad his empire's top priority.

Really, though: Steve Ballmer just needs to relax. Microsoft is already king of the Unpad.

This article, "Four reasons Steve Ballmer may be obsessed with killing the iPad" was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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