Microsoft has been very quiet on the tablet front, but a recent conversation with Steve Ballmer revealed that the company will be working even closer with hardware partners to create "hardware-software optimisations with Windows 7 and with Windows 7 Media Center". That could be an indication that a re-tooled user interface based on Windows 7 might be in the works, and specifically for the tablet market.
Engadget - It's no secret that Microsoft has a slight tablet, err Slate PC problem on its hands: Windows 7 certainly works on a "pad," but the user interface isn't meant for strictly finger input. The makeshift solution has been, of course, for its partners to create software skins of their own -- see HP TouchSmart UI, the ExoPC "Connect Four" skin, etc. -- but according to Microsoft know-it-all Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet, the guys in Redmond may just be working on a layer of their own.
At this point, these are just conjecture and rumors, but there is word that there might be more announcement of Microsoft's tablet plans during its upcoming Windows Phone 7 event. Till then, stay tuned, and check out the full story over here.