Well... He has a partial point.
Much as I hate to admit it.. Ballmer is right. Apple does not really have a business presence. MS does, but technologically, nothing that any body else can't do, or do better.
iPads are not going to be good for non domestic applications. Little Stevie Jobs may do quite well in the domestic sector, but in the business sector, forget it. Even he knows this, and has not suggested that iPads are business devices
Can you imagine a delivery driver turning up with an iPad for you to sign? With what.. Your finger?
How about turning up with a low powered company configured android or win based tablet with GPS built in, and the time/date of delivery, route taken, signature recorded so they can track misdelivered packages better? I've even signed a few where someone was using a run out biro instead of a stylus. A capacitive stylus on the other hand.. Forget it. Cost of replacement alone is too much to make it viable.
Stock control? Rugged cased tablet with a replacable plastic touch screen instead of a glass one? Drop it and it keeps on ticking.
Palm (now HP) also has some pretty good patents on handwriting recognition. Personally I'd take a graffiti panel over an on screen keyboard any day.
And how about medical uses.. An operating theatre with a sterilised cover on an iPad might work, but it complicates things. A watertight display that can be doused in disinfectant, no problem.
And non Apple companies work as system integrators. Selling entire solutions from servers to POS units to companies. They can do their own branded generic units with their own software.
Apple can do pretty. Apple can do sleek.
Apple refuses to do generic.
Apple can't do cheap. So a nearly £500 device used in place of say a £200 or less device.. Do the math.
Many many others can do cheap. And many will. I can even see a £100-150 tablet coming to market within the next few years. And to be honest, a 6-7 inch one is much more practical for portable use than a 9 inch screen with a big bezel. Especially when the battery can be removable. Unlike some tablets I could mention.
If tablets are the future, somehow I doubt the future is Apple.