Apple now has the iPad 2. Research in Motion has its Playbook. Google has a plethora of Android tablets, including the Motorola Zoom getting so much attention. Hewlett-Packard has the WebOS tablet. Microsoft, meanwhile, is limping by with a ginned-up version of Windows 7 masquerading as a tablet OS.

It begs the question: when will Microsoft come up with an operating system that is actually optimized to run on a tablet? Bloomberg News broke this story last night, quoting anonymous sources, that Microsoft won't have a tablet version of Windows until the third quarter of 2012. By then everyone else will be on version 2 and 3, perhaps even v.4 for Apple's iPad.

Just read this quote from Microsoft's CEO:

"When the tablet PC is available next year, people will be able to choose from an impressive array of form factors, designed both for specific purposes and general use. Since the Tablet PC is an evolution from today's laptop PC, Microsoft has already been in discussions with every major labtop manufactorer. Leading OEM's are designing and developing these machines right now."

Unfortunately, the quote does not come from the current CEO, Steve Ballmer. It's actually a Bill Gates quote from ten years ago.

When Microsoft was late to the party on search. It threw a Hail Mary pass to Yahoo!

When Microsoft was late to the party on smartphones. It threw a Hail Mary pass to Nokia.

I suppose Microsoft can throw another Hail Mary. But, I'm looking down field and I don't see any receivers.