Ballmer will unveil Microsoft tablet today

Rumours abound that Microsoft bully boy Steve Ballmer will bounce onto the stage at this year's CES clutching a Microsoft-branded tablet computer built by Hewlett Packard.

Whether the new device will look anything like the ugly, behinged anacronism featured in a 'leaked' video heavily touted by Gizmodo remains to be seen. What is certain is that the Redmond giant will try to steal Apple's thunder, preceeding the expected announcement of Apple's much anticipated iTablet, or iSlate or iSlab... or whatever the vapourware device ends up being called, by a matter of months.

You can bet your bottom dollar that Microsoft's offering will be buggy, overdesigned, painful to use and built to a price.

And you can bet all the rest of your dollars that Apple's will be teeth-clenchingly expensive, lickably beautiful and feature the operating sytem by which all others are judged, but no-one will admit to liking... Mac OSX.

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New Yawk Times