Earlier today, Microsoft sent out a mysterious invite to the press fraternity for an event in Los Angeles scheduled for Monday, June 18th 2012. The invite just says “expect a Major Microsoft announcement” without revealing much details.
But this report from TheWrap quotes a Microsoft insider saying
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.
What really interesting to note here is that Microsoft has traditionally stayed away from getting into hardware side of things, and has mostly let the device makers make the announcements themselves. If at all these reports of Microsoft branded tablets are indeed true, then we can expect a lot of unhappy reactions from the OEMs like Dell, HP, Asus and others. Only recently, it was disclosed that Microsoft will be charging a whopping $85 per tablet running Windows 8 RT, which must have irked a lot of manufacturers already.
The Verge’s Dieter Bohn added a new spin to the rumors by bringing in Nokia to the mix. He asks “Could a Nokia-made, Microsoft-branded 7-inch tablet be a possibility?”. I say “Why not?”.
Just yesterday, Nokia minced no words when they said “Microsoft is giving us ‘specific support’ to compete with Android at even lower prices”. Considering this, we might indeed see a Nokia manufactured and Microsoft branded Kindle Fire competitor on Monday. It remains to be seen if it runs a customized version of Windows Phone 7 or a full fledged Windows 8 RT. Whatever it is, I just hope and pray the major announcement is not anything to do with Microsoft buying a stake in Nokia.
Update: Latest reports point out at a Microsoft branded tablet in conjunction with Barnes & Noble. Another report says that XBox Live streaming is on cards as well.