Microsoft expected to launch competitive Windows tablet tonight

Microsoft is expected to unveil its own tablet running a new version of Windows today (Monday 18th June).

Invitations for an event in Los Angeles this evening were sent out to the media on Thursday by Steve Ballmer’s company. The invitation was vague on the exact location details but stated, “this will be a major Microsoft announcement – you will not want to miss it.”

Microsoft has fallen behind Apple and Google in the fast-growing tablet market. This market is gradually catching up with the PC market (which is slowing in western countries), and is already 12.5% of the PC market size.

However there is also speculation that the new product will be in more direct completion with Amazon’s Kindle Fire rather than Apple’s slate. According to a TechCrunch report, the new product has been developed in association with Barnes & Noble and will focus on entertainment. Xbox streaming is also expected for the tablet according to another source.

Microsoft, who saw sales surge following their release of the Xbox, are now hoping to see similar improvements with the new tablet. They have sold 67 million Xbox 360s in seven years on the market, making it the most popular game platform. However, success for the tablet is not guaranteed. Pricing is thought to be a main problem, with estimates at around USD599.00 per tablet. According to Bob O’Donnell, an analyst at IDC, “when you look at that pricing compared to Apple, it’s a non-starter […] It appears pricing is going to be a lot higher than people thought. From a tablet perspective, that’s going to be a challenge.”

Doors for the expected launch event will open at 3.30PM pacific time.

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