If Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is to be believed, his company has been taking it easy on Apple these past few years. That, however, is about to change with the impending release of a new Microsoft operating system and the Redmond, Washington-based firm’s very first tablet PC.
“We are trying to make absolutely clear we are not going to leave any space uncovered to Apple,” Ballmer declared in a recent interview at Microsoft’s own Worldwide Partner Conference.
Although he admitted that Microsoft has “ceded some of the boundary between hardware and software innovation” to Apple in years gone by, that habit is about to be squelched.
In fact, Ballmer said Microsoft intends to take on a dominant role in several industry sectors, including the cloud, hardware, and software markets.
The latter, of course, would be no big surprise. Microsoft is already a powerhouse in the software market, particularly after the release of Windows 7 in 2009. However, the company is having a tough time arousing consumer interest in Windows 8, set for release later this year.
In recent days tests have shown that Windows 8 is faster than Windows 7, and that could help Microsoft’s campaign. However, the company isn’t about to stop pushing hard to convince consumers that an OS upgrade is necessary.
Recently, the company discussed a new file backup system that it says streamlines the process of saving vital files and folders. Called File History, it’s easier to use than any previous system of its kind.
“We designed File History with two objectives in mind; 1) offer best possible protection of user personal files and 2) offer ease, simplicity and peace of mind,” a Microsoft representative said.
But the real challenge to Apple won’t come with Windows 8. Instead, it will take the shape of a Microsoft-built tablet computer capable of challenging Apple’s popular iPad.
Called Surface, the device will run Windows 8 and should offer plenty of integration with Windows PCs. It will also feature a unique keyboard cover design that has so far wowed critics of all sorts.
In fact, even Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has said he’s impressed.
“Steve Jobs came back reincarnated at Microsoft.” Wozniak recently said. “I don’t remember this sort of thing happening in a long, long time with Microsoft.”