Microsoft to Introduce its Own iPad Competitor

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Microsoft is apparently ready to toss its hat into the tablet device ring by building its own device designed to better compete with Apple’s iPad. The Redmond-based company is expected to announce its plans at a special media event on Monday, June 18, according to The Wrap.

The decision to get into the tablet space with its own hardware is a reversal of Microsoft’s previous stance where the company said it would partner with hardware makers instead of competing with them.

Microsoft's own tablet could look something like thisMicrosoft’s own tablet could look something like this

If that sounds vaguely familiar, it should because Microsoft made a similar promise to portable media device makers before it jumped into the market with its own Zune product line. Instead of impacting sales of Apple’s iPod, however, Microsoft ate into its hardware partner sales.

The Microsoft tablet is expected to run the Windows 8 variant Windows RT on top of an ARM processor.

Considering the response most non-iPad tablets have received, there’s a possibility Microsoft will see a repeat of its Zune strategy where Apple competitors see the biggest hit. With the innovative interface Windows 8 brings to the table, however, Microsoft stands a better chance of making sales with its tablet unlike the Zune portable media players that collected dust on store shelves.

Microsoft hasn’t commented on what it will announce on Monday, and the company hasn’t confirmed that it is working on a tablet device.

[Some image components courtesy of Shutterstock]

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Microsoft getting into the actual computer hardware (not game console) market? Wow. That could turn the PC industry on its ear.

Even if MS ‘only’ releases their own tablet, and not their own laptops or desktop PCs, they’re still going after a big, and growing, part of the personal computer market. That will undoubtably tick off some (if not all) of their ‘partners’ in that market. It would be interesting to see if those partner companies start embracing Linux/Unix over Windows. If that happens, would MS transforming into a much more hardware focused company make up for the reduced revenue from lost OS sales? Perhaps.

One this is for sure: MS could really clean up Windows if they didn’t have to keep up all manner of backwards compatibility and compatibility with a huge number of hardware configurations. If they start ‘going Apple’ - making the whole widget and using that control to offer a higher quality user experience that was missing in traditional Windows PCs, it would definitely keep Apple on their toes.


They won’t be pissing off their partners with this - if they do it - since all the iPad competitors are using Android…


And they’re charging what, about $85 for an OEM license for Windows RT. They may have to build their own.



AmI the only one who just can’t see the strategy in Microsoft’s plans? They’re going to release a tablet running a version of Windows that looks nothing like Windows, and is, in fact, a mobile OS that has yet to gain any meaningful traction in the smartphone space. And that can’t run legacy apps (Office, anyone?) because its on ARM. And this sounds like a good idea?

Apple can’t keep up with iPad demand because its using the proven iOS from the iPhone blockbuster. And letr’s face it: Android is sufficient a copy of iOS that people coming from Android will be just about equally comfortable. As will iPod Touch users.

But who in their right mind will plunk hundreds down for a tablet running an unproven UI on an operating system called “Windows” that can’t do anything desktop windows can do?

Makes no sense at all.


I hope it will be available in brown.


Could an MS branded tablet be an Intel or AMD version with real Windows 8?


Updated headline:
Microsoft To Stab Its Partners In The Back…Again


They can now call themselves Microshift.

One really small step for mankind.

Guess they didn’t learn their lesson with Zune after all.


It will be interesting to see what MSFT comes up with. I think there is a pent up demand for some type of tablet that would sync with a MSFT desktop. If you can really do this and get some decent work done on the tablet that automatically transfers to the desktop and vice versa, then it has a chance for success in my opinion.

I do have some questions though. The issues with this approach is, is it feasible? Can you really work on the same applications on the desktop as on a tablet and get work done? And will users need to adopt Windows 8 in order to take advantage of this? Will this be a security issue in terms of the workplace and people syncing machines with their desktop or syncing through the cloud?

I do agree with Jeff that if MSFT succeeds, the ones that will be hurt the most will be HP and Dell fighting over the scraps of what is left over from what MSFT sells. I am thinking that HP needs to continue to develop WebOs and try to get some traction with it. And I think that leaves Dell as the most vulnerable, without something to call their own that they can possibly develop for themselves.


Lee Dronick

Good points Neal

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