Microsoft Joins Apple in Rumors About New Tablet PCs

 
 
By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2009-09-21 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Microsoft is said to be working on both a tablet PC and a sidekick-like smartphone code-named Pink. Media reports say Microsoft intends to release both after Apple actually discloses plans for its own long-rumored tablet device. So far neither company is confirming whether there is a grain of truth in the rumors.

Like rival Apple, Microsoft is supposed to be working on a tablet PC, Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet is reporting.  

According to her "sources," J Allard, Microsoft's chief experience officer, is leading the effort, which is now said to be part of something called "Alchemy Ventures," along with an exec from Microsoft's Surface computer team. Foley expects Microsoft will wait to show off its tablet until after Apple reveals what it has behind its magic curtain. 

While netbooks propped up the ailing PC market, Apple was said to be instead working on a 7- to 10-inch tablet device. "We expect Apple to fill the gap between the iPod Touch and the MacBook with a new tablet device (not a netbook) priced at about $500-$700," Gene Munster, a lead analyst with Piper Jaffrey, wrote in a May 21 research note. 

"We are anticipating a new category of Apple products with an operating system more robust than the iPhone's but optimized for multitouch, unlike Mac OS X. The device's OS could bear a close resemblance to Apple's mobile OS and run App Store apps, or it could be a modified version of Mac OS X." 

Apple has been mum on the topic, however, and apparently so is Microsoft. "Microsoft isn't corroborating or even commenting on Pink or the new tablet. This is purely from sources," wrote Foley. 

Pink is yet another project that Foley reports Microsoft has in the works. Ad Week reported in July that ad agency McCann Erickson was chosen by Microsoft for a Pink ad campaign, making Pink seem the more likely and more timely of the two.  

Foley reports that Pink is being built on the Windows Mobile 7 operating system - which is not expected to arrive until late 2010 - that it will be Microsoft branded, though not Microsoft manufactured. In its design and intended demographic it's likely to resemble the Sidekick, which was developed by Danger, whose team has since been acquired by Microsoft and reportedly assigned to Pink's development team, Foley reports. 

Nodding to Palm's decision to discontinue its use of Windows Mobile, in favor of concentrating on its own webOS, Foley says Microsoft has a plan to work more closely with fewer vendors. For this reason, she says, Microsoft is creating a "very detailed chassis spec and then [allowing] partners to bid on making devices that comply with the spec." 

Microsoft did not respond to a request for comment.

 

 
 
 
 
Michelle Maisto has been covering the enterprise mobility space for a decade, beginning with Knowledge Management, Field Force Automation and eCRM, and most recently as the editor-in-chief of Mobile Enterprise magazine. She earned an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University, and in her spare time obsesses about food. Her first book, The Gastronomy of Marriage, if forthcoming from Random House in September 2009.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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