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Apple's iPad is a major revenue generator. The last thing Apple needs is for any company to swoop in and steal significant market share. However, with a slew of Windows 8-based tablets slated for release later this year and early 2013, Apple's iPad might be in serious trouble.

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The App Store

When Apple decided to launch the Mac App Store last year, the company changed how developers offered programs and consumers acquired them. Now, Microsoft is planning to offer its own application marketplace in Windows 8. And when it does, the company could coax many developers to its side and eventually hurt the Mac App Store.

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New Design Ideas

Take a look at Windows 8 and one will find a host of design changes to the operating system, including the so-called "tile" layout. If that design choice pans out, Microsoft could very well force Apple to respond with something similar in Mac OS X. And Apple is one of those companies that doesn't like having its hand forced by any competitor.

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Mac OS X Is Growing

Apple's Mac OS X platform is growing like a weed. For the last few years, an increasing number of people are buying Macs, and Apple's market share is gaining. But if Windows 8 proves as popular as some analysts expect, it might be able to stem Mac OS X's growth.

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Might iOS Be Negatively Affected?

Apple's iOS platform could also be negatively affected by Windows 8. Sure, Microsoft's upcoming operating system will be ready for desktops and laptops, but it'll also be running on tablets. There's also a chance-though no one knows how good of one-that Windows 8 could come to large smartphones. It's something for Apple to keep in mind.

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The Security Lead Might Be a Problem

There's talk of Windows 8 becoming the most secure operating system Microsoft has ever offered. In fact, users might only need Windows Defender to keep their computers secure. If that's the case, Apple will have no choice but to put an end to its claims that its operating system is more secure than Windows. That's a huge selling point for Mac OS X that Apple could lose.

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The Windows 7 Lead-In

Windows 8 will benefit from one, important function: It's being led into the market by Windows 7. As with anything else, having a product that was successful come before another is a good thing for companies. Windows 8 has the fine lead-in from Windows 7. Apple had a similar lead-in with the iPad and iPhone. Lead-ins are everything in today's market, and Microsoft is capitalizing on that fact.

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ARM Support

Prior to Microsoft announcing ARM support in Windows 8, the software giant was only partnering with Intel and AMD. That partnership proved to be extremely harmful to its mobile business, since ARM-based devices offer better battery efficiency and power. Apple saw that coming and capitalized on it. And it has been benefiting over the years because of it. Now, Microsoft is moving in, and there's no telling how it will impact Apple.

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Enterprise, Anyone?

The corporate world was once Microsoft's playground. But over the last several quarters, Apple has been making inroads with both iOS and Mac OS X. Now that Windows 8 could appeal to enterprise users with desktops, laptops and tablets, Apple's corporate gains could lose ground.

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It's No Google in the OS Space

Apple must remember that Microsoft isn't Google. Remember last year when Google launched Chrome OS? The company seemed to believe that it could take on iOS, Mac OS X and Windows-and win. But it couldn't. The operating system was misunderstood by consumers and enterprise users, and lacked the functionality they needed. Chrome OS is floundering now. Windows 8 might be a major risk, but Microsoft knows operating systems. That's a problem for Apple.

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