Microsoft’s Ballmer tipped to hit Apple with tablet

At his keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Steve Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft, is likely to show off a tablet PC.

That’s the word from the New York Times, in any case. It reports that the machine will be made by Hewlett Packard and will become available in the middle of the year.

According to the newspaper, Ballmer will proclaim the tablet as an e-reader and an all round multimedia device. That’s more or less what Apple is likely to announce in a few weeks with its “iSlate” tablet.

But it won’t be the first time Microsoft has touted the concept of a PC tablet and pushed it with all of its might. It’s been promoting the concept for more than 15 years, but has so far failed to make little impact on the market with the device.

Apple, as with Google’s Nexus machine, announced yesterday, is likely to shrug its shoulders at attempts by Microsoft to steal its thunder. It’s something of a tradition for Microsoft to announce products at keynote speeches in CES without them necessarily naking waves in the future, or even ever appearing.  The NYT article is here.