It became clear, though, the army of Windows pads being raised wouldn't deploy in full force until 2011, with the delivery of Intel's Oak Trail generation of Atom chips.
Today, Microsoft's chief executive is sweating a little less profusely thanks to PC and server partner Fujitsu, which has named April as the planned release month for the STYLISTIC Q550 - an Oak Trail slate running Windows 7.
This is no mass-market answer to Apple's iPad, however: Fujitsu has described the device as an "executive-class" machine that's "designed for the high-security requirements of mobile enterprise computing."
Fujitsu claims using Windows 7 will make it easier for enterprise IT departments to manage and secure this machine than invaders from the consumer side of life, running iOS or Android.
"As enterprises struggle to keep consumer smart phones and tablets off their corporate networks to avoid security breaches, Fujitsu is taking an alternative approach with the introduction of a companion device designed for maximum interoperability with business environments," the company said in its press release announcing the device.
Features include a full "workday" battery and anti-glare 10.1-inch screen for use indoors and out, while on-the-road networking is via WLAN, Bluetooth and the option of mobile broadband 3G/UMTS. There's also digital fingerprint recognition, a docking station, the choice of stylus-based input, and the machine packs 2GB of RAM and 64GB SSD.
Fujitsu's machine will join a trickle of slates - that's iPad-like slate rather than hybrid device with a keyboard that converts to a slate - running Windows 7. HP Slate shipped last year, also for business types. Tablets running Windows 7 and Oak Trail are promised from Dell and Lenovo "later this year". ®