Microsoft to announce Apple iPad rival in January
It may just be déjà vu, but we think we've done this story before - Microsoft announcing its tablet PCs will rule the world and beat Apple into a cocked hat. No hang on, we have - we've actually covered it twice before; in September 2009, Microsoft released a promotional video for their Courier project, while at the Consumer Electronics Show (CSE) in January, Steve Ballmer announced a joint venture with HP concerning their forthcoming tablet PC. Neither project has seen the light of day.
That may all change next month; a year on, Microsoft are rumoured to be returning to the CES in Las Vegas to launch a range of 'slate' PCs, manufactured by the likes of Dell and Samsung. According to the New York Times:
The Samsung device is described as “similar in size and shape to the Apple iPad, although it is not as thin. It also includes a unique and slick keyboard that slides out from below for easy typing.”
“The company believes there is a huge market for business people who want to enjoy a slate for reading newspapers and magazines and then work on Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint while doing work,” explained a person familiar with the company’s tablet plans.
Like Android handsets and the iPhone, the iPad will no doubt be outnumbered by tablets with other operating systems in the near future, simply because Apple's OS is only bundled with its hardware. Apple's seem content to create the mainstream tablet market, as it essentially did with both smartphones and apps - but it won't ultimately dominate it in terms of volume.
So if Microsoft are looking to provide the software for dozens of devices, then Apple isn't the enemy - Google and the Android OS is - and that's a very different fight for Microsoft to be picking.