BIG NEWS AT MICROSOFT SO DO YOU KNOW WHAT'S UP? L.A. Confidential: what does Microsoft have up its sleeve?
So what possibilities are left? Here are my speculations:
- The location suggests an entertainment tie-in. Has Microsoft finished putting together its top-tier pay TV service to go with the Xbox Live (nee Zune) music service? If so, that would be a big deal. A Very Big Deal. After Steve Jobs supposedly told his biographer that he had “cracked the code” for the next generation of Apple TV, everyone’s been waiting for Apple to deliver on that bold promise. So maybe Microsoft gets there first, with a device that’s already in lots of living rooms.
- The timing hints at a full reveal for the first generation of Windows RT tablets. It’s likely that Microsoft will release Windows 8 and Windows RT to manufacturing around the end of July. That’s only about six weeks away. The traditional PC industry needs a few months to get its inventory together. The OEMs producing ARM-powered Windows RT tablets—an exclusive club, to be sure, with only Nvidia, Qualcomm, and TI allowed to play—have fewer such constraints. In theory, those devices could be ready to ship as soon as (or shortly after) the OS software is ready, which would mean an on-sale date in August or early September.
- Wishful thinking has some people dreaming of a Microsoft-branded tablet device, perhaps a Kindle Fire competitor or even an Xbox tablet. It’s not a completely implausible idea: the Xbox 360 and the Zune players have already established precedent for the concept. If such a device were to appear, it could be sold via the Microsoft Store, online and in its small number of physical locations.
- I wouldn’t be surprised to see the first glimpse of a new Xbox, with a full Metro interface that mirrors Windows 8 perfectly. Start screen instead of dashboard. Identical music and video apps on both platforms. Full SkyDrive integration. Timed to ship same day and date as Windows 8 devices.
- Tim Cook might appear onstage and announce that Apple is using its cash stockpile to acquire Microsoft and he’ll be the new CEO. OK, I just threw that one in to see if you were reading or just skimming.
Or (drum roll, please): Maybe all of the above (except for the Tim Cook bit, of course).
Ina Fried (former CNET, now WSJ) is convinced the answer is behind door number three and that the Monday event will “center around Microsoft’s tablet strategy”:
Sources say that Microsoft concluded that it needs its own tablet, with the company designing both the hardware and software in an effort to better compete against Apple’s strengths. Microsoft’s tablets may include machines running ARM-based processors as well as models running on traditional PC processors, sources said.BIG SECREAT
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