Microsoft global chief strategy officer Craig Mundie said he doesn't know whether the booming tablet market is here to stay.
Speaking at a lunch held in Sydney by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA), Mundie, who reports directly to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, said he did not know whether tablets like the iPad would "remain with us or not".
Mundie said he believed the smartphone "as it emerges more will become your most personal computer", while laptops would occupy a space he dubbed the "portable desk".
"I think there's an important distinction - and frankly one we didn't jump on at Microsoft fast enough - between mobile and portable," he said.
"Mobile is something that you want to use while you're moving, and portable is something that you move and then use.