The 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show

By Bloomberg - 2013-01-10T18:25:11Z

Photograph by David Becker/Getty Images

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Steve Ballmer

Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer (pictured), in a surprise appearance at CES, said the number of applications for new Windows tablets has increased fivefold since late October.

Ballmer is striving to drum up interest in the latest flavor of Microsoft's flagship operating system while he plays catch-up to Apple Inc. in the $63.2 billion market for tablets.