Stay tuned Monday for big announcements from Microsoft

June 16, 2012

Stay tuned Monday for big announcements from MicrosoftWell Apple had its World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) earlier this month and unveiled its new line of MacBooks and iOS6.  Monday it is Microsoft’s turn.  We may get to find out more information about the upcoming Windows 8 tablets that are expected to launch later this year.

According to The Wrap, Microsoft is going to announce that it is going to release its own branded tablet to compete with Apple’s iPad.  The device is supposed to run on an ARM processor and sport Windows RT. Windows RT is the Windows 8 version specifically for the ARM processor.  If so, Microsoft would be creating its own product that would compete with tablets made by manufacturers that have been making Microsoft products for years. The Washington Post says that Hewlett-Packard and Samsung will be releasing their own Windows RT tablets.

Not everyone is convinced that Microsoft is going to be releasing a tablet.  Mary Jo Foley at CNET is predicting a Microsoft eReader that would rival the Kindle and Nook.  Rather than a tablet running Windows RT what if it is an eReader running Windows Phone?  It would be a direct competitor against the Kindle, Nook and other small readers as well as being able to play music and watch movies.  Rather than a full blown high priced tablet, plenty of which will be made by Microsoft’s traditional manufacturing partners, it would be a more wallet friendly “entertainment/consumption device.” Here’s her recent thoughts on the issue.

As a few of my readers have noted, there’s no reason this device couldn’t be a Windows RT tablet — even if it is positioned as a Kindle Fire competitor.

It could run the Metro-fied Windows RT (Windows on ARM) operating system; be built by another company (Nokia or other); powered by the B&N Store on the back-end; and labeled as a "Microsoft tablet." (Microsoft doesn’t technically manufacture the Xbox, either, though it is considered a Microsoft device.)

Apple produces its own products without licensing its operating system.  Google recently completed its purchase of Motorola leading to speculation that it may begin producing its own branded products while still leasing its operating system, Android.  Now speculation has Microsoft going down a similar road, creating its own branded product(s) while licensing its next operating system and its ARM derivative.

Will Microsoft really be creating its own branded products this go around rather than just providing the operating system to licensees?  Will it only be producing a low end branded product to compete against the Kindle and Nook? How will Microsoft’s manufacturing partners react to Microsoft branded products, if indeed it happens?

All of these questions and more should be answered Monday, June 18th at 3:30 pm in Los Angeles.

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