Steve Ballmer says Microsoft is 'hardcore' about tablet computers

No worries, guys, because Microsoft is “hardcore” about tablets. Well, “hardcore” about Windows 7-based slate computers. So said Steve Ballmer at its Worldwide Partners Conference in Seattle. Microsoft says that its big strength here is that it consumers will have a wide variety of choice when it comes to buying a Windows-based tablet. That’s opposed, of course, to a certain other company’s tablet offering that is available in any color, so long as it’s black. You know what I mean.

Ballmer repeated what Bill Gates said a few weeks ago, that Microsoft wants to make a tablet that works with all your multimedia, yes, but one that’s also fit for use in the boardroom. That’s pretty much the antithesis of what Apple has done, but I suppose the company has to differentiate itself in some capacity.

Said Ballmer:

We want to give you a great device, a consumer oriented device, but a device that fits and is manageable with today’s enterprise IT solutions… This is a terribly important area for us. It’s certainly an area where—how do I say it?—we feel all of the energy and vigor and push that we have ever felt to innovate, to drive hard, to compete.

Needless to say, it’s going to be awfully tough to compete with a device that has sold 3 million units in around three months.

Microsoft doesn’t exactly have the track record of branching out too well. What happened to the Kin? Do we really need Microsoft Office version 900? The Zune HD may actually be a great piece of hardware, but how many people do you know that has one? Devin and I have one, so that’s two people.

Interesting times ahead for Redmond.