Ballmer slates iPad -

Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, has slated the iPad, saying it is uncomfortable, lacking in features, and that seeing one of them on the market is more than he would like.

In an interview with CNet after the Windows Phone 7 event, Ballmer spilled the beans on just what he really thought of that other Steve's favourite toy.

He suggested that the iPad is awkward and that someone who wants to sit and do an interview and take notes with it will find it quite uncomfortable. 

He slammed it for its lack of keyboard, which is actually where the iPad succeeded by eliminating the need for a keyboard through a strong touch-based user interface. 

He also said he didn't like that the screen wasn't big and that it doesn't stand up on its own.

When asked about the pervasive iPad, Ballmer could not hide his discontent at its success: "You certainly see more," he said. "You certainly see more than I would like. One is more than I would like."

For all the negativity he threw Apple's way he was reluctant to comment on how Microsoft would do any better. When asked about Windows tablets he was particularly evasive, saying that tomorrow should be left for tomorrow and when there's some news to reveal he will talk about it.

So, in other words, Microsoft will focus on Windows Phone 7 for now, giving Apple and Google another head start on tablets, just as it did in the smartphone market.

Ballmer recognised that when Microsoft finally enters the tablet game it will face some stiff competition. "Certainly we have our work cut out for us," he said.

He also took a jab at the iPhone 4 and its notorious signal dropping by suggesting that Windows Phone 7 handsets would not have that kind of problem: "I make phone calls, not surprisingly, a lot of them and I don't want those phone calls dropped." We reported today HTC is trying to rush a fix for the broken Windows Phone proximity sensor on the HD7.

Ballmer described himself as "a mobile person", despite criticism from the Board of Directors that he was not moving fast enough in the mobile sector, resulting in the latest instalment of the Windows Phone series becoming a late player in the phone war.