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Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is expected to unveil a new tablet device at an event in Los Angeles on Monday. Citing sources familiar with the matter, TechCrunch earlier reported that the tablet will be an e-reader developed under Microsoft’s recent partnership with Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS), while All Things D and The Wrap reported that Microsoft will unveil its own branded tablet. The tablet will likely run Windows RT, a version of Windows 8 approved for ARM-based processors.
The reports may vary on the specifics of the device, but they both agree on one thing — Microsoft is developing both the hardware and software on the new device in a move that clearly takes a page from Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) playbook. But if the new device is expected to make a play for the part of the market now dominated by Apple’s iPad, an e-reader isn’t going to cut it. And while Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) made a fair showing with the Kindle Fire tablet, no lower-end tablet has been able to compete with the iPad, which means Microsoft needs to come out with a higher-end tablet to make any kind of dent.
Of course, the e-reader domain is now dominated by Amazon and Barnes & Noble, with the Kindle and Nook, respectively, and Microsoft would certainly have a better chance of breaking into that space than wresting market share from the seemingly unstoppable Apple.
Whatever Microsoft has up its sleeve, market watchers won’t have to wait long, as doors to the expected launch open at 3:30 p.m. PDT on Monday, with the event itself expected to start at 4 p.m. sharp.
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