Looks like Microsoft boss Steve Ballmer has woken up to smell the same coffee I’m smelling — that Apple is chasing HP to become the world’s biggest PC maker, and now the MSFT top man has said he’s gunning for the tablet market. As the world waits for Ballmer’s words to materialize as something with somewhat more than Zune’s 1 percent marketshare, and iMac maker Quanta confirms it will make twice as many iMacs as it will make all-in-on PCs for HP, let’s look at Ballmers wordage…

On Apple’s storming uber-succesful iPad, Ballmer said, with great grace, “Apple has done an interesting job of putting together a product — they’ve certainly sold more than I’d like them to sell.”

Enchantee. Also enchanting is Microsoft’s determination that Windows 7 tablets will become relevant once the company delivers a credible machine (assuming it can get hold of the components).

“They’ll be shipping as soon as they are ready,” Ballmer said. “It is job one urgency. No one is sleeping at the switch.”

“We have got to make things happen. Just like we had to make things happen on netbooks, we have to with Windows 7 on slates. We’re in the process of doing that as we speak.”

Translation: Now Apple’s shown us how, we’re firing up the photocopiers. Or is that unfair?

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