Responding to a question during an interview today with Bloomberg TV about why Microsoft overhauled its operating system with Windows 8, Ballmer suggested that the change had been brought about by a ‘different world’.
“We wanted to do a version of Windows where it was reimagined to be good at touch, not just for the keyboard, and great at tablets, and not just for notebooks and desktops," Ballmer told Bloomberg TV's Corey Johnson.
“We live in a different world now, where touch is normal and where people want to see all the information available to them on the screen instantaneously.”
If the Microsoft CEO spoke somewhat loosely about this growing touch trend, he was more forthright when it came to the potential of the firm’s own-brand Surface tablet, which launches later today.
“The thing we saw happen initially was tablet designs from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Apple support new scenarios for reading and other consumption activities. But a device like this [the Surface] with a keyboard becomes a PC.”
“I don’t think anybody today offers a product like this, a PC and a tablet”, said Ballmer, who had a Surface RT tablet to hand during the interview.
Ballmer even then aimed some subtle digs at Apple’s iPad and its viability in the workplace, when questioned by Johnson on the ‘biggest holes’ in Apple’s tablet.
“Can I get work done, really? Can I make notes in a meeting? Can I read on it? With the Surface, I can dive in and read and get to anything I need for school or for business.”
And after shortly swerving an awkward question on the perceived lack of apps for Windows RT devices, Ballmer revealed how the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend could be the ultimate saving grace for the Surface.
Facing a question if BYOD was changing the way Microsoft sold products, the firm’s CEO said:
“We had to grow up this way. We always recognized that that the wave was through consumers. And while we sold data software through IT departments, PCs were brought in by users and adopted by IT. Now users are bringing in other devices they’re interested in.
Ballmer added that consumers are 'going to love' the Surface to the extent that they'll be bringing the tablet into the workplace, and allayed recently aired security fears over the BYOD trend by saying that Windows 8 devices are the 'most manageable, secure systems for IT departments'.
Microsoft is to officially announce Windows 8 at an event in New York from 10 a.m. EST today. Stay here with TabTimes for news and analysis from the unveiling.