Rumor: Microsoft may launch its own brand of Windows 8 tablets

The tablet market is quickly becoming congested as Android attempts to provide an alternative solution to the iPad. But Microsoft is not about to be left out as they recently unveiled their OS that they hope will claw its way into the market. 

New information is being reported by Digitimes (viw TNW) that Microsoft may be looking to create its own brand of tablets. Microsoft is not new to the hardware scene as they currently create the Xbox 360 and Zune. If Microsoft would create a tablet, it would help to provide instant brand recognition to their emerging tablet strategy. Digitimes states:

Microsoft is reportedly considering to launch an own-brand tablet PC that features Windows 8 by the end of 2012 with cooperation from Texas Instruments and Taiwan-based OEMs/ODMs.

​While the idea of a tablet branded by Microsoft is not a far fetched idea, if Microsoft waits until the end of 2012 as the rumor suggests, they will, once again, be late to the market. Microsoft does have the ability to produce top notch products in terms of functionality and quality, but if they nearly three years late to the market, getting consumers to adopt the new hardware may not be an easy task. 

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The rumor could be referring to a Surface running Windows 8. Its a slate too!
But I hope it's true. The Microsoft brand will sell big!

The end of 2012 is so far away, imagine where Android and Apple will be by then. Good luck to MS in getting their Version 1 slate out the door and selling well.

KingCrimson said,
Too little, too late.

Not really, everything out their is gimiky and to very productive...
W8 can change that drastically

I have doubts about this rumor. I just don't see the need for it, and I don't think they'd work with TI given their relationship with nVidia.

I think MS should build their own stuff from the consumer side. Zune and Xbox are great products along with mice/keyboards, cameras etc.

It's a tough balancing act but they could probably do well from just handling the consumer side internally as their OEMS have jumped in with Android (webOS) etc. While their at it, have their hardware branded outside of MS or Windows.

If the Zune brand is no longer going to be used for branding a media service. Use it to brand their own computing hardware. Zune PCs, Zune Tablets, Zune Convertables.... and Zune communication devices. Xbox can be for the Hub (server if you will) that glues all these togeterh.

Makes sense, hardware restrictions are one thing but to truly control the out of the box experience and deliver the best consumer experence they can they need their own device. Between the new hardware, tablets running on ARM chips and the interface im confident we have a new era of tablets dawning that are going to please both the historical tablet crowd and the ipad crowd.

The only way MS would disappoint is if they throw away all the investment they made in inking...no reason not to include it as an option still.

Osiris said,
Makes sense, hardware restrictions are one thing but to truly control the out of the box experience and deliver the best consumer experence they can they need their own device. Between the new hardware, tablets running on ARM chips and the interface im confident we have a new era of tablets dawning that are going to please both the historical tablet crowd and the ipad crowd.

The only way MS would disappoint is if they throw away all the investment they made in inking...no reason not to include it as an option still.

I agree that ink should remain but the chances of anyone releasing a tablet with a suitable screen (i.e. a Wacom screen) and a pen are pretty slim. Without the hardware to support it ink will die.

Do what you want MS, just don't delay the damn thing! You're incredibly late to this party as it is and you simply can not afford a delay in Win8 for tablets.

ahhell said,
What difference does it make that they are "late". As long as what they come out with is good, people will buy it.

Just like people bought the Zune right?

.Neo said,

Just like people bought the Zune right?

What about the Zune? It's ****ing awesome. MS just didn't release it in many markets. (still don't get why)

ahhell said,

What about the Zune? It's ****ing awesome. MS just didn't release it in many markets. (still don't get why)

Because they didn't want to release the hardware without the service to support it and the service hasn't spread out as quick due to ****ty licensing deals not going through I'm sure. Something like the Zune Pass is a tricky thing to work out otherwise if it was easy to do everyone else would have done it as well, but I don't see others really offering it.

And I also point to other companies that stream stuff basically unlimited with a monthly fee, like netflix, last I heard netflix finally made it to Canada but at the same time the Canadian store is way behind the US one. It's all the media companies that hold this stuff up.

zeke009 said,
Do what you want MS, just don't delay the damn thing! You're incredibly late to this party as it is and you simply can not afford a delay in Win8 for tablets.

To be honest, even if Microsoft was on time to the tablet OS party, it still wouldn't make a mark. The reason for this being that Windows 8 has the same interface (metro shell) that WM7 has, and we already know how poorly WM7 phones are selling. This in itself is an indication of user apathy toward Microsoft's tile interface. I've talked to people who have tried it to see what they thought, and the overwhelming response was that it reminded them of Windows 3.1 and other archaic systems, was unattractive, and was missing many core features. If Windows 8 follows the same path, it doesn't bode well for the future of Microsoft's mobile strategy.

ahhell said,

What about the Zune? It's ****ing awesome. MS just didn't release it in many markets. (still don't get why)

If it didn't succeed in the US and UK markets, what makes you think it could elsewhere?

Flawed said,

If it didn't succeed in the US and UK markets, what makes you think it could elsewhere?

yeah, what a failure, second biggest PMP in the US with a damn good margin, which means quite a few units moved. While it had a lower market share than iPod, it was definitely a success.

it's like calling any MMO other than WoW a failure because it doesn't have 12 million subscribers.

HawkMan said,
yeah, what a failure, second biggest PMP in the US with a damn good margin, which means quite a few units moved. While it had a lower market share than iPod, it was definitely a success.

It was such a success that Microsoft decided to release it world-wide and continue developing it. Oh wait...

Flawed said,

To be honest, even if Microsoft was on time to the tablet OS party, it still wouldn't make a mark. The reason for this being that Windows 8 has the same interface (metro shell) that WM7 has, and we already know how poorly WM7 phones are selling. This in itself is an indication of user apathy toward Microsoft's tile interface. I've talked to people who have tried it to see what they thought, and the overwhelming response was that it reminded them of Windows 3.1 and other archaic systems, was unattractive, and was missing many core features. If Windows 8 follows the same path, it doesn't bode well for the future of Microsoft's mobile strategy.

Wow, you didn't pay attention to the important stuff. Like the new UI being 'combined' with the existing Windows UI and shell seamlessly, and working rather unique because of the WDDM/WDM video model that is exclusive to Windows.

You also missed the part about NT moving to ARM and other processors (like the 90s) except this time it is to replace WinCE, and not only runs amazingly well, but is pulling off the seamless running of x86 applications on these low end CPU technologies and devices. (The where running Windows 8 on an ARM based tablet that is slower than the iPad 2, and yet had regular Excel, Word, and Photoshop available on it, and running nicely. Which is not only cool, but gives perspective to the Tablet and OS industry when iOS with the iPad or iPad2 has trouble running freaking Numbers without putting the user to sleep just trying to open a spreadsheet that is a bigger than a couple of columns. Let's see Apple running full blown Photoshop, like OS X runs, on an iPad and have it run well, heck even have it run at all...

The last one there alone is enough to crown them winner.

I am still a bit frustrated with this considering that we already had a tablet in the works but as usual we ended up not releasing it. As to the partner issue, we had a partner in HP until they decided to go and buy a company to make their own tablet OS. Currently we (Microsoft) do not have a partner successfully putting out a viable tablet so I don't think we would be offending anyone. If Nokia or anyone else had a tablet released with a Windows based OS then it would be an issue but right now we do not.

The issue is that no one wants to put a repackaged Windows 7 OS on a tablet only to get maybe 5 hours or less of battery life. We have to step back and not try to slap a full desktop OS onto a device designed for long usage and surfing/media consumption. At this point, I would love for us to release our own product to show what can be done right with the correct planning and implementation.

And before someone responds with some kind of anti-MS hate or Apple is great comment, I own an iPad so I am looking at it from both an employee and a consumer.

Well, Courier was a coo, awesome even, product. but it had no market. geeks would have bought it, but they're a small market, some students would have, but it's use was to limited, when another tablet would offer the student reading and note abilities not as good, but good enough, but at the same time with other features beyond what courier offered.

It was killed because as cool as it was it had no market, and it would fragment a market where MS is trying to unify.

grendal said,
I am still a bit frustrated with this considering that we already had a tablet in the works but as usual we ended up not releasing it. As to the partner issue, we had a partner in HP until they decided to go and buy a company to make their own tablet OS. Currently we (Microsoft) do not have a partner successfully putting out a viable tablet so I don't think we would be offending anyone. If Nokia or anyone else had a tablet released with a Windows based OS then it would be an issue but right now we do not.

The issue is that no one wants to put a repackaged Windows 7 OS on a tablet only to get maybe 5 hours or less of battery life. We have to step back and not try to slap a full desktop OS onto a device designed for long usage and surfing/media consumption. At this point, I would love for us to release our own product to show what can be done right with the correct planning and implementation.

And before someone responds with some kind of anti-MS hate or Apple is great comment, I own an iPad so I am looking at it from both an employee and a consumer.

Actually I disagree: a Tablet is not just a device to surf the web or play with Facebook; a real Tablet, like the ones I owned and enjoyed since 2002, although with some issues at the time of XP Tablet OS, are FULL computers with handwriting capabilities.
Eventually we will need two categories of devices:
Tablet
Tablet PC

grendal said,
I am still a bit frustrated with this considering that we already had a tablet in the works but as usual we ended up not releasing it. As to the partner issue, we had a partner in HP until they decided to go and buy a company to make their own tablet OS. Currently we (Microsoft) do not have a partner successfully putting out a viable tablet so I don't think we would be offending anyone. If Nokia or anyone else had a tablet released with a Windows based OS then it would be an issue but right now we do not.

The issue is that no one wants to put a repackaged Windows 7 OS on a tablet only to get maybe 5 hours or less of battery life. We have to step back and not try to slap a full desktop OS onto a device designed for long usage and surfing/media consumption. At this point, I would love for us to release our own product to show what can be done right with the correct planning and implementation.

First things first, there never was a physical Courier device. It was all in-theory. A cool one, but that has to be said. Did you miss the meeting where they showed off Windows 8 running on ARM? By [supposedly] limiting the hardware that OEMs use and using ARM, they can limit the number of variations you guys have to write, so that it's more like a Mac in that respect (which does get better battery life, although it's not a truly fair comparison because on a MBP they provide no means to turn off the discrete graphics within Windows, while it is an option in OS X) while running on a CPU that only sips power, unlike current x86 line-ups, including AMD's Fusion.

Personally, I was skeptical until I saw the 30 minute demonstration of Windows 8. Now, I am excited and no longer waiting for the iPad 3 (I have an iPhone 4, so didn't really want a larger screen with a lower res).

grendal said,
I am still a bit frustrated with this considering that we already had a tablet in the works but as usual we ended up not releasing it. As to the partner issue, we had a partner in HP until they decided to go and buy a company to make their own tablet OS. Currently we (Microsoft) do not have a partner successfully putting out a viable tablet so I don't think we would be offending anyone. If Nokia or anyone else had a tablet released with a Windows based OS then it would be an issue but right now we do not.

The issue is that no one wants to put a repackaged Windows 7 OS on a tablet only to get maybe 5 hours or less of battery life. We have to step back and not try to slap a full desktop OS onto a device designed for long usage and surfing/media consumption. At this point, I would love for us to release our own product to show what can be done right with the correct planning and implementation.

And before someone responds with some kind of anti-MS hate or Apple is great comment, I own an iPad so I am looking at it from both an employee and a consumer.

The biggest issue Microsoft has in "partnering" in the tablet space is that the OS they are offering partners comes at considerable cost compared to the competition: iPad has ZERO cost for iOS. Android tablet makers have ZERO cost for the OS. HP buying Palm for WebOS - will lead to a tablet that has ZERO cost for the OS. The OS cost I am referring to is royalty cost paid to a 3rd party.

ls_dragons said,
The biggest issue Microsoft has in "partnering" in the tablet space is that the OS they are offering partners comes at considerable cost compared to the competition: iPad has ZERO cost for iOS. Android tablet makers have ZERO cost for the OS. HP buying Palm for WebOS - will lead to a tablet that has ZERO cost for the OS. The OS cost I am referring to is royalty cost paid to a 3rd party.

oh noes. developing something in house and supporting it yourself is always cheaper in the long run than paying someone a per unit licensing fee. I'm fairly certain the hidden costs of these zero OS costs you tout will prove to be a fallacy in the end.

grendal said,
And before someone responds with some kind of anti-MS hate or Apple is great comment, I own an iPad so I am looking at it from both an employee and a consumer.

I'm not racist I have a black friend.

HawkMan said,
Well, Courier was a coo, awesome even, product. but it had no market. geeks would have bought it

Microsoft just isn't a cool, innovative company like Apple, or Google, that's why no one would have bought it. Microsoft has a serious image problem, and all these spurious patent attacks on Android aren't helping either.

Flawed said,

Microsoft just isn't a cool, innovative company like Apple, or Google, that's why no one would have bought it. Microsoft has a serious image problem, and all these spurious patent attacks on Android aren't helping either.

yeah sure, another smart comment from you /s

sometimes i dont know what are you doing typing crap, when you dont like the company but oh well

EmilyTheStrange said,
sometimes i dont know what are you doing typing crap, when you dont like the company but oh well

Meh ignore it, that's all he does here, hit-and-run trolling on anything related to Microsoft, no matter how uninformed it is.

efjay said,
Build in some tight Xbox integration and call it the XPad.
Could be turned into a WiiU like controller for the Xbox as well as being a Windows Tablet.

philcruicks said,
Could be turned into a WiiU like controller for the Xbox as well as being a Windows Tablet.

Turning a Win8 tablet into a Xbox controller isn't hard to do really, and if that's what MS wanted it could work it out pretty quickly. Hell I expect some Xbox control/integration coming to WP anyways, and that's a smartphone, a tablet is easy.

GP007 said,

Turning a Win8 tablet into a Xbox controller isn't hard to do really, and if that's what MS wanted it could work it out pretty quickly. Hell I expect some Xbox control/integration coming to WP anyways, and that's a smartphone, a tablet is easy.

They already announced WP as a future control method for the Xbox, currently dubbed WP Kinect

efjay said,
Build in some tight Xbox integration and call it the XPad.

why? why the damn "pad" thing? TabletPC was here for years and I don't see why this should change, especially considering that Windows 8 won't be dumbed down version for tablets.

I'm not sure how this would work, would Microsoft offend other OEM's by competing with them, what about Nokia? I would think that they would be a more natural fit to make a Microsoft tablet,Nokia branded and close to what Microsoft would concider great specs and execution.

I would look this little bit of info pertaing two some future Xbox branded product.

Joe05 said,
I'm not sure how this would work, would Microsoft offend other OEM's by competing with them, what about Nokia? I would think that they would be a more natural fit to make a Microsoft tablet,Nokia branded and close to what Microsoft would concider great specs and execution.

I would look this little bit of info pertaing two some future Xbox branded product.

They wouldn't offend any OEMs if all they do is pay one of them to make the hardware and put MS's name on the back, you know, like how Google paid HTC to make the Nexus One and so on.

Flawed said,
If the Zune is anything to go by, I doubt it will be successful enough to pose a threat to other OEM's.

Microsoft has a history of making hardware to fit a void or to show the industry something new that they were unwilling to adopt.

Looking back:

The original Microsoft Mouse - it was created to fill a void, as PC mice were freaking rare.

The Microsoft Sound System - Creative and other companies were still sticking to their old crap that didn't offload the sound processing effectively. Creative was selling the Sound Blaster Pro, a dual Sound Blaster to achieve stereo from the 80s with 8bit sound. The Microsoft Sound System was CD Quality, took the load off the system, had a standard driver model, and also introduced Voice command technology to the general public.

The Microsoft Joystick - Controllers - Again, Microsoft couldn't get anyone to produce a joystick or gamepad with force feedback capabilities, especially at a high quality level. They also couldn't anyone to product a gamepad with enough buttons. It was during this time they introduced the Microsoft Sidewider (motion) Game Pad, that reacted to the tilt and speed of its movement, rather than just buttons.

The Microsoft Zune and ZuneHD - a springboard for a new music server platform that used a subscription model, yet offered features not on other MP3 devices of the time. Heck the iPhone won't even get WiFi syncing until iOS 5, and Zune was doing this a long time ago. The ZuneHD set the stage of what WP7 became, using a tight WinCE core, and introducing higher quality gaming along with 'touches' that are now 'common' in most phones and MP3 devices. (Like Gorilla Glass, etc.)

There is a far bigger list, from the Microsoft keyboard from the mid-90s that was unique to the GPU in the Original XBox and the Xenos in the XBox 360, that defined the last two GPU generations in the computing world.

(Microsoft hardware engineers designed the PS/VS design and the shader code language that was copied from DirectX to OpenGL, and the Unified shader GPU model in the XBox 360 that all computer GPUs are based on to this day. They did something new, and let it go, ironically being 'open' with their hardware technology.)

So Microsoft has never been about making money off of hardware 'in general' as the Mouse and Keyboards are still good money makers. The Cameras are also doing well for now, but were to be a loss, as they just wanted everyone to stop slapping 1.3mp cameras in WebCams, and move to real 720p and 1080p.

Instead they see a need in the industry or quality remain stale and if they can't push anyone else to produce a product to fit the need they do it themselves, until everyone is doing it. (Notice iPhone4 is using a generic version of Gorilla Glass, and Apple is trying to add Zune Pass like features to iTunes?)

greenwizard88 said,
Bi-winning?

Hahah could you imagine. Someone see's you playing on a mysterious pad, "Hey what are you doing"....."I'm Bi-Winning!" hahah

But seriously, I'd get one of these tablets for sure.

Neobond said,
They could call it the WinPad

That could become a running joke if it fails to make an impact like the Zune or WM7.