May 22 - Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says Windows still the world's most popular operating system; Windows 8 will be a ''rebirth.''
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was his usual exuberant self, predicting 350 million devices running on Windows 7 will be shipped this year. Speaking at digital forum in Seoul, Ballmer says this means Windows continues to be the world's most popular operating system. But Microsoft lags far behind rival Apple in the tablet space, something which Ballmer says Windows 8 will address (SOUNBITE) (English) MICROSOFT CHIEF EXECUTIVE STEVE BALLMER SAYING: "Windows has to be able to support touch and pen in addition to mouse and keyboard. You can say that this is a small thing, but no other system out there today really supports all the input. Windows has to be able to support tablets as well as PCs and notebooks. Windows has to be able to support very small devices and very small screens up to very large devices and very large screens." Analysts say Apple's iPad is expected to command two-thirdsof the tablet market this year, while Google's Android will account for most of the rest. But IHS predicts Windows 8 may drive the sale of PC tablets. Microsoft's new operating system is expected to be released in October, and is expected to appeal to users who want a cross between a tablet and a more traditional PC. SOUNDBITE (English) MICROSOFT CHIEF EXECUTIVE STEVE BALLMER SAYING: "We had to support people in their personal life and in their professional life. We put that all together and we had a lot of work to do. On top of it, we said, fundamental to this will be supporting not only X86 processors but also ARM processors. You put all of that together, and it's really in some senses the dawning of a rebirth of Microsoft Windows." While in South Korea, it's believed Ballmer will meet LG's Koo Bon-joon, amid speculation the Korean firm may "step back" from Windows phones to focus on Android. LG denies it's planning to abandon Windows. Arnold Gay, Reuters.