Steve Ballmer Promises Windows 7 Tablets in Time for Christmas

You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout or do anything else that will land you on Santa's 'Naughty' list this year. If you do, forget about finding a Windows 7-based slate stuffed into your oversized Christmas stocking this December, assuming you put one on your holiday wish list in the first place. For those of you that did, it's entirely up to you whether you score a Windows 7 tablet for Christmas or not -- as far as Microsoft is concerned, they'll be available before December 25, 2010.

"You'll see new slates with Windows on them. You'll see them this Christmas," Microsoft's Chief Executive Steve Ballmer told an audience of students, staff, and journalists at the London School of Economics this week. "Certainly we have done work around the tablet as both a productivity device and a consumption device."

Thing could get very interesting this holiday shopping season. Here we are in October and Apple's Flash-less iPad is still the only real tablet game in town, though vendors outside of Cupertino have been promising tablets of their own, some of which will ship before the end of the year.

Android seems to be the logical front runner to take on Apple's iOS in the tablet space, though you can bet Ballmer will aggressively push Windows 7 as a viable candidate as well. Along with the Kin phone flop, the bungled slate strategy was cited as one of the criticisms in the company's annual proxy filing that prevented the Microsoft CEO from receiving his full bonus this fiscal year, which was reduced to 50 percent ($670,000) of the max payout.