A decade ago Bill Gates, founder and former chief executive of Microsoft, presented a new class of computing to the world: a tablet PC that offered a fully functional computer with the “intuitive aspects of pencil and paper.” Since then, Microsoft has struggled to gain traction with a slate-like device, yet each year the company announces new products, software or operating systems that try to promote a world of Windows-based slate computers. Next month, at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Microsoft will give it another try, presenting a slew of new slates that it hopes will offer some competition to the Apple iPad, which has quickly become the leader in this market, reports the New York Times. According to people familiar with Microsoft’s plans, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive, is expected to  announce a number of these devices when he takes the stage at C.E.S., showcasing devices built by Samsung and Dell, among a number of other manufacturing partners…

The people with knowledge of these devices asked not to be named as they are not authorized to speak publicly by Microsoft or partnering companies. Microsoft declined to comment about coming products that have not been announced…

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staff and wire services reports