Apple has proven that there’s a large market for tablet PCs with the iPad, leaving other companies scrambling to come up with an answer. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer promises, however, that a slate from the company will be available by Christmas.

“You’ll see new slates with Windows on them. You’ll see them this Christmas,” saild Ballmer at the London School of Economics. “Certainly we have done work around the tablet as both a productivity device and a consumption device.”

Another large concern for Ballmer is the smartphone market, where Microsoft hopes that Windows Phone 7 will reverse the losses that have put the company squarely in fourth place behind RIM, Apple and Google. “The job right now is we’ve got to get back seriously into the game of phones,” said Ballmer. “We’ve got to have a comeback against the competition and I think with our new Windows phones we really have a beautiful product.”

Source: Reuters