Last Friday, Microsoft announced that it would hold a big event in Los Angeles on Monday. In an email to the media, the company says, “This will be a major Microsoft announcement — you will not want to miss it.” Naturally the big tech buzz has been around what Microsoft plans to unveil today.
The answer according to the rumour mills is a Windows 8, Microsoft manufactured tablet. According to the tech website, The Wrap, Microsoft is set to unveil a tablet in the hope of creating a worthy rival to Apple’s iPad.
Ever since Microsoft announced the Windows 8 Preview, which has a one version that runs on ARM processors ( these are primarily used by tablets and smartphones) the buzz has always been around when the software giant would launch its own tablet as well. At Computex 2012, this year, several PC makers such as Asus, Acer, etc showcased their own Windows 8 tablets and hybrid ultrabooks. Microsoft’s tablet will thus be joining an over-flooded market which is currently led by Apple.
Will Microsoft’s tablet be a solo effort? Not according to TechCrunch sources which say a new tablet will be announced on Monday with Barnes and Noble. The two companies announced a “strategic partnership” in late April with Microsoft investing $300M into the joint business dubbed “Newco”… and this has sparked rumours that the two could work in collaboration.
The Microsoft plus Barnes and Nobles rumour was fueled further after reports that the Kindle Fire could see its price getting reduced. According to TheNextWeb, the odds are that Monday’s announcement could see the launch of a new, cheap, Windows 8 device that is heavily Barnes and Noble branded, ships with the bookseller’s app as native, perhaps will be targeted at readers, or will be sold at Barnes and Noble retail locations.
Should Apple be even remotely worried about Microsoft’s new toy that may or may not exist? Not really.
This chart from research firm IDC clearly shows that Microsoft is nowhere close to Apple in terms of numbers nor is Barnes and Noble. Microsoft is in the others group and is according to the 2016 forecast by IDC, Apple is not going to lose its market any time soon nor is Windows going to make any massive gains.
But as VentureBeat says: there is a wild-card for Microsoft: Xbox live streaming. Microsoft has been adding content partners to Xbox streaming with increasing velocity, announcing 35 new ones in just the past month at E3, including Nickelodeon, NBA Game Time, NHL GameCenter, WatchESPN, and The Weather Channel.
Xbox has been Microsoft’s most successful hardware venture and live-streaming must give it a new boost. But even Xbox’s success came only after billions of dollars of investment and overcoming problems with high rates of faulty units – a problem which was nicknamed the “red ring of death” by gamers.
Microsoft’s Zune music player, a late rival to Apple’s iPod, was a big failure. The Windows 7 phone also didn’t manage to create any spark.
Perhaps a tablet could change all of that.