Microsoft Set To Unveil Its Answer To The iPad

Microsoft to unveil rival to iPad

For years Apple’s iPad has dominated the tablet market, but Microsoft is set to challenge that supremacy with a product of its own set to be released next week, TheWrap reported.

The software and technology giant has been tight-lipped about its release, but has scheduled an event June 18 in Los Angeles, TheWrap reported. The venue and the nature of the announcement have not been disclosed, but a source told TheWrap that Microsoft will be introducing its own tablet at the event.

The tablet would not be the first work Microsoft has done in that realm. Its founder Bill Gates has been working with the technology for more than 10 years and Microsoft-enabled tablets have been made by hardware manufacturers like Hewlett-Packard and Samsung, TheWrap reported.

Last year Microsoft revealed a new tablet-friendly version of Windows that supports ARM-based processors. The tablet being revealed next week is rumored to run on Windows RT, a version of Windows 8 using an ARM microprocessor, TheWrap reported.

But if reports are true, the tablet would represent a shift for Microsoft from producing the software for tablets and selling it to partners to actually creating tablets of its own, Reuters reported. The move would also make a rival out of former partners Hewlett-Packard and Samsung.

The venture into a Microsoft brand tablet is seen by some industry analysts as a way to open the market for Windows tablets using ARM processors, Reuters reported. Microsoft had been charging hardware makers $50 to use its software in machines, making it hard for them to compete with the lower-priced iPad. But making its own tablets would eliminate that cost and allow Microsoft to lower its costs.

“It suggests to me that they’ve struggled to get OEMs (hardware makers) on board to bring the prices down, so they feel they have to subsidize these products to get them out of the door, at least in the first iteration,” said Al Hilwa, an analyst at tech research firm IDC, in the Reuters report.