Uh Oh, Steve Ballmer Likes the MacBook Air’s Chances

Ballmer_MacBookAirMicrosoft’s (s msft) Steve Ballmer has an unimpressive track record at predictions, which is why his latest comments should be of concern to Apple (s aapl) and, especially, MacBook Air fans:

Those new ultra-thin PCs, the first of which will be coming later this year and, presumably running Windows 7, won’t be as cheap as $299 or $399 netbooks, Ballmer admitted, but they will combine netbooks’ portability, with some unnamed but higher-sounding prices.

Though the MacBook Air won’t be running Windows 7 any time soon, the rest of the quote is a pretty good description of it. Ballmer had earlier defined this “new” class of PC when speaking at the kick-off presentation for Microsoft’s Financial Analyst Meeting:

Ballmer told analysts there would be a new class of “ultra-thin” PCs” — or high-end netbooks –coming this year that would combine the light weight of netbooks with high-power and high-performance of traditional PCs.

Yep, that’s the MacBook Air alright.

When the Air was introduced, Steve Jobs first outlined these three problems (compromises) with netbooks:

  • Small screens
  • Tiny keyboard
  • Low processing power

The MacBook Air went on to address them all. And it did so as a “high-end” model for a “higher-sounding” price, exactly as Ballmer is predicting will not appear until “later this year.”

Will Ballmer’s bad track record seal the MacBook Air’s fate? Or will this particular “prediction,” which is of the past, and tantamount to predicting yesterday’s sunrise, be an isolated case of him being correct?

I guess only time will tell if the MacBook Air is truly finished.