At the Comdex trade show in 2000, Bill Gates waxed poetic about the future of tablet computers. Prototype tablets running Microsoft software came out a year later. But Microsoft-based tablets never went mainstream, and so the company might be feeling kind of bad now that Apple is getting a lot of attention for its new iPad tablet computer.

Guest: Ina Fried, CNET News.com

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Rival companies Google and Microsoft fight on many fronts — Internet search and advertising, for example, and operating systems. A newer battlefield is Southern California, where the companies are competing for a $7.25 million contract to provide email and office software for the City of Los Angeles.

The contract fight is significant because it could help determine whether upstart Google is ready for the big time when it comes to its cloud-based apps, according to David Sarno, business reporter for the Los Angeles Times.

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Microsoft says it will make lightweight, web-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote as part of Office 2010. The “cloud” applications are part of a company push into collaborative document making, according to Microsoft chief strategist and researcher Craig Mundie.

In this interview Mundie also addresses Google Chrome OS and the future of Windows.

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