Microsoft to Launch Windows for Tablets Only by Q3 2012

Despite rumors of Microsoft working feverishly on a Windows tablet launch in 2011, it seems that Microsoft’s answer to Android and iOS for tablets won’t be ready until Q3 2012. A recent report by Business Week says that Microsoft won’t launch a tablet version of Windows until the 2012 back-to-school season, which by all measures will be too late for the software giant.

“If 2011 is the year of the tablet wars, Microsoft will be awfully late suiting up for that battle,said Michael Gartenberg, a New Jersey-based analyst for research firm Gartner Inc. It’s not a good position to be in.”

It has already been over an year since Apple unveiled the iPad and in less than a week, the iPad 2 will be available around the world. Android has also entered the tablet race and is poised to become the leading tablet platform soon, thanks to manufacturers like Motorola, Samsung and HTC rushing to launch tablets running Android.

Even HP’s webOS tablets and RIM’s Blackberry Playbook will be available by the end of 2011. Microsoft will likely be the last major entrant into the tablet arena, and it will probably be too late for it to gain a foothold of the market then. The only hope for Microsoft is if it is able to leverage the huge Windows market share in PCs and the power of the vast library of Windows software already available.

The tablet market is set to explode in the coming years, as consumer focus shifts from personal computers to tablets. By the time Windows tablets are launched, we will probably see the iPad 3 and the third generation of Android tablets in the market. The future of Microsoft’s tablet OS seems very bleak.

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