HP Axes Windows 7 Mobile Computing Tablet Ballmer Hyped at CES: Report

The blogosphere has erupted with reports that Hewlett-Packard has scuttled a Windows 7-based tablet that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer showed off this past January at the Consumer Electronics Show.

The story originated with TechCrunch, citing a source briefed on the matter. TechCrunch said HP (NYSE: HPQ) was dissatisfied with Windows 7 as a tablet OS and Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) hardware because both products were too power-hungry.

A Microsoft spokesperson said the company had no comment on HP's Windows 7 tablet. An HP spokesperson told InternetNews.com the company has a "corporate practice of not commenting on rumors and speculation."

HP Mobile Computing Tablets Being Nixed

This would be the second tablet in as many days that Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) has lost. It killed its own product, the twin-screen Courier, earlier this week. Courier was believed to be Windows CE-based, but Microsoft never disclosed the specs of the product.

Following HP's recent $1.2 billion purchase of ailing Palm, there were questions surrounding what HP would do with its Windows-based mobile products, such as the iPAQ, which have not sold well. There were also concerns about what the company would do with its proposed Windows 7 tablet.

But analyst Roger Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies, thinks the tablet's fate was sealed prior to Palm coming on the scene. "I suspect it wasn't turning out to be as promising as they had hoped, and then this new thing [Palm] came along," he told InternetNews.com.

Kay pointed out that the device shown by Ballmer was a prototype and that is no guarantee that a product will ship. That said, he noticed "a serious absence of short-term roadmap details at any of the conferences I attended. So it could be the [tablet] direction changed between CES and now."

He believes HP's focus will be to get development efforts behind its $1.2 billion investment. "Even though HP has a lot of resources it doesn't mean HP has to fight every war. That [Palm] was a pretty big commitment. They are going to want to get the value out of it," said Kay.

Andy Patrizio is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.


Microsoft, Windows 7, tablet, HP, Palm