Microsoft to announce new tablet today - Report

An unexpected new player on the scene may be looking to give Apple yet another tablet challenge. Forget Google, forget Samsung, I'm talking about Microsoft.

Though people often refer to the tablet market as an all-encompassing industry comprised of many major players, the reality is that the tablet market is effectively dominated by Apple. Yes, there are an assortment of Android-based tablets out there, but even when you look at them cumulatively, they have gained very little traction. And I know, the Amazon Kindle Fire is doing pretty well sales-wise, but the market still remains Apple's to lose.

And to that end, an unexpected new player on the scene may be looking to give Apple yet another challenge. Forget Google, forget Samsung, I'm talking about Microsoft.

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According to a report that surfaced last week at The Wrap, Microsoft later today will announce a brand new product, a tablet to be specific - and not just any ole' tablet, a tablet with hardware from Microsoft.

But an individual with knowledge of the company said that Microsoft would introduce a Microsoft-manufactured tablet at the event, marking a foray into a new hardware category that would put the company in direct competition with giant rival Apple.

Hard to believe given that Microsoft has always been one to focus on software at the expense of hardware, but the report has since been corroborated by TechCrunch which claims that the anticipated tablet will be announced as part of a "strategic partnership" with Barnes and Noble.

Sources tell me that 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” for a 17.6% equity stake and Barnes and Noble owning 82.4%.

Apple's Tim Cook has said repeatedly that the tablet market will eventually supersede the traditional PC market and given that Apple continues to make money hand over fist with the iPad, it makes sense that Microsoft wants in on the action and, at the same time, realizes that solely licensing out Windows to tablet manufacturers is a losing proposition if it truly wants to compete.

Looks like we'll know for sure in just a few hours.

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