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MS exec says tablet computing may not be 'persistent'

Microsoft's view of computing in the post-pc era is quite different than Apple's. Apple anticipates the tablet will temporarily fill the void between the smartphone and the computer. Eventually, it will replace the computer for many users.

Microsoft, on the other hand, questions the longevity of the tablet market and is slow to embrace this emerging market after its earlier, failed UMPC Origami project. Speaking at a luncheon in Sydney, Australia, Craig Mundie, the chief research and strategy officer at Microsoft, said

"Today you can see tablets and pads and other things that are starting to live in the space in between (a PC and a smartphone). Personally, I don't know whether that space will be a persistent one or not."

The future for Microsoft lies in connectivity of devices that does not tie to you a computer sitting on a desk. The computer will be "in the room" and controlled by a wireless controller similar to the Kinect.

This wait-and-see attitude towards the tablet is further evident in Microsoft's current tablet strategy. The Redmond company pushed HP's Windows 7-powered slate in 2010, but the device failed to attract customers. Future tablets will be based on Windows 8 and will not debut until 2012 at the earliest.

While Microsoft waits until 2012 to release a tablet competitor, Apple will have sold over 30 million iPads in 2011 alone.

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