Rumors are that Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) will release a tablet PC today. It will run a version of Windows Mobile designed to operate on ARM architecture. Most analysts of the tablet market believe that the product is as likely to fail as the Research In Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) Playbook and the Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) and Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) efforts. The prevailing wisdom is that Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) hold too much of the market, and that powerhouse Samsung has the only chance to present a challenge because of the success of its smartphones.
The market may have underestimated the resolve of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. He invested billions of dollars to best incumbents Sony (NYSE: SNE) and Nintendo in the game console market. And his chance to get market share for Windows Mobile through an alliance with Nokia (NYSE: NOK) was ruined by the market’s rejection of the new Lumia line of phones. A Microsoft branded tablet may be all Ballmer has left.
Douglas A. McIntyre