Mobile

Is there any hope for a Microsoft-branded tablet?

You’d think the first Microsoft tablet worth getting excited about would be coming from Nokia, but AllThingsD’s Ina Fried is reporting that Microsoft is gearing up to launch its own iPad competitor at a Los Angeles event next week.

Of course, this doesn’t make very much sense. Microsoft has traditionally struggled to find success with its own branded hardware (the Xbox 360 is one exception, but even that took billions before it became profitable), and we know Nokia is working on a Windows 8 tablet. (Entertainment website The Wrap separately reported something similar last night.)

“Sources say that Microsoft concluded that it needs its own tablet, with the company designing both the hardware and software in an effort to better compete against Apple’s strengths,” Fried wrote. “Microsoft’s tablets may include machines running ARM-based processors as well as models running on traditional PC processors, sources said.”

The pitfalls are obvious. Microsoft is already building up Windows 8 and Windows RT to be strong tablet operating systems, but it will need support from hardware manufacturers to truly make them a success. By building its own tablet, Microsoft would be directly competing against other Windows tablet makers — something that didn’t work out too well for Microsoft’s “Play for Sure” device partners when the Zune was released.

And with Microsoft dumping tons of cash into Nokia as part of its Windows Phone partnership, wouldn’t it make more sense to push Nokia’s eventual Windows tablet as the Microsoft flagship? Nokia actually knows how to make killer hardware, as the recently released Lumia series of Windows Phones shows.

Photo: Dylan Tweney/VentureBeat

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