Analyst Sees Hope for a Microsoft Tablet Play

Microsoft has several new products coming out later this year, including a new operating system, new versions of its Office programs, and a tablet. But one of Microsoft’s most important steps, says one analyst, is the Ultrabook Touch.

Photo by: Robert Scoble

The Ultrabook Touch will use Microsoft’s new Windows 8 operating system and feature a touch screen. That, Nomura Securities’ Rick Sherlund told CNBC, will put Microsoft into the growing tablet market segment.

While the tablet market is dominated by Apple’s iPad, Sherlund said Microsoft’s new tablet would likely get a foothold. A Microsoft tablet may be a good fit for those who frequently use Microsoft’s Office programs.

“I don’t think you’re going to see Office on the iPad, so there’s a natural inclination to adopt a Microsoft tablet,” he said.

“For Microsoft to sell a tablet, you’re going to have to have an edge over Apple, and that’s Office,” Sherlund said. He believes that the competing tablets will segment the market, rather than it being winner-takes-all. Those who need Office compatibility will choose Microsoft’s tablet, and those who do not would opt for an iPad, he suggested.

Sherlund rates Microsoft a “buy.”

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Nomura Group expects to receive or intends to seek compensation for investment banking services from the issuer in the next three months.