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Move Over Apple—Microsoft Shows Off Own Tablet

Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft Corp., speaks at a news conference launching the company's tablet computer Surface at Milk Studios in Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Bloomberg | Getty Images
Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft Corp., speaks at a news conference launching the company's tablet computer Surface at Milk Studios in Los Angeles, California, U.S.

In a move to take Apple's iPad and its reign in the mobile market, Microsoft unveiled its own tablet Monday evening at a Microsoft press event in Los Angeles.

The Microsoft Surface tablet will run on Microsoft's new operating system Windows 8.

"Windows is heart and soul of Microsoft," CEO Steve Ballmer said at the event. "Much like Windows 1.0 needed the mouse, we wanted to give Windows 8 its own companion hardware innovation-a whole new family of computing devices."

The software maker, which has traditionally shyed away from manufacturing hardware, may have timed the release of its tablet to help boost demand for its new touch-friendly operating system Windows 8, which is slated to launch this Fall.

The Surface tablet is 9.3 millimeters thin, weighs under 1.5 pounds and has a 10.6 inch widescreen display. It also has front and rear cameras.

There will be two versions of the tablet, one will run on traditional Intelchips and another using ARM Holdings. A cover that folds out to become a keyboard will come with both versions.

There were no details regarding price of the tablet.

The device is a "tablet that's a great PC — a PC that's a great tablet," said Steven Sinofsky, the president of Microsoft's Windows division.

But, in a world that is increasingly becoming more Apple and Android centric in the mobile world, the question looms if there is really room for a Windows tablet.

"I think there is a place for Microsoft in the enterprise. I don't think consumers will necessarily flock to a Microsoft tablet. But I think in the enterprise it could be interesting," said Brian White of Topeka capital Markets on CNBC's Closing Bell.

Apple is the major player in the tablet space, holding about 60 percent of market share, and consumers will continue to choose Apple's iPad over a Windows tablet, said White. But there may be potential for the tablet in the enterprise market, he said.

"This is make or break for Microsoft. They are watching the PC market, which they have dominated with Windows for the last 25 or 30 years, evaporate in front of their very eyes," said Porter Bibb of Mediatech Capital Partners on CNBC's The Closing Bell. "They've got to have a piece of hardware and the tablet is it."

email: tech@cnbc.com

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