Microsoft prepares to give tablets a push

Back in 2002 Bill Gates thought a tablet PC would take the world by storm. We attended the launch of Microsoft's Windows' XP for Tablet-powered devices in London back then and learned that the tablet PC would be great for 'information workers'.

A few years on, it turns out that the tablet is actually best for couch potatoes - and the name on the box is Apple's, rather than Microsoft's.

Now Microsoft is preparing to bite back. Last year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Steve Ballmer brandished an HP tablet PC on stage in attempt to steal Apple's thunder. A Year later, Apple has launched iPad and sold millions, the HP offering never made it to market.

Undeterred, Microsoft is determined to have another bash and CES will again be the forum at which Microsoft will go flat and finger-friendly.

Ballmer is again expected on stage at CES to introduce a new line of tablets from the likes of Dell, Samsung and Acer. Maybe even HP... though we doubt it.

The devices will be running Windows 7 and - who knows? - they may even go on sale eventually.

We don't imagine Steve Jobs will be losing much sleep over the matter.