Will You Buy a Windows Tablet?

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Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) executives will take to the road next week to talk up a tablet version of the Windows operating system, Bloomberg reported yesterday. The news came a day after The Seattle Times reported that one of Mr. Softy's original tablet architects -- Otto Berkes -- submitted his resignation after 18 years at the company.

So we know someone else other than Berkes will be leading the effort to produce a Windows tablet. What we don't yet know is how it will look and what it will feature. If Bloomberg's right, we'll hear more about that during next week's All Things D conference.

Expect partners to be interested regardless of what Microsoft says there. At January's Consumer Electronics Show, Motley Fool Rule Breakers colleague Karl Thiel and I saw a mockup of a Windows tab from China's BYD. Representatives there said the company built a reference design in hopes of winning business as a manufacturer of mass-market Windows tabs. Suddenly, that strategy looks quite smart.

Yet there are good reasons to remain skeptical. Berkes, also a co-creator of the Xbox, had reported to Ray Ozzie before he left Microsoft, casting a cloud over Mr. Softy's cloud computing strategy. Berkes' departure is only slightly less troubling.

Call it another instance where a known tech visionary, quite literally the guy who built the tablet PC Bill Gates showed off in 2005, is leaving for something different. Disgruntled investors can only hope that he doesn't end up with Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) or Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) .

Do you foresee that occurring? Should investors care if it does? You tell us. Please vote in the poll below and then leave a comment to tell us whether you're interested in Mr. Softy's tablet dabbling.

What should the Windows tablet do that the iPad and Android tabs don't? Let us know using the comments box below. You can also add Microsoft to your watchlist to get more Foolish analysis of this stock.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team. He owned shares of Apple and Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Microsoft, and Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple, BYD, Google, and Microsoft, as well as creating a bull call spread position in Apple and a diagonal call position in Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


Read/Post Comments (13) | Recommend This Article (3)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On May 27, 2011, at 6:21 PM, theHedgehog wrote:

    Vote option: No, I do not buy Microsoft products.

  • Report this Comment On May 27, 2011, at 6:25 PM, timeinthewind wrote:

    I've yet to see a need to own a tablet at all. Maybe I'm too old to want to. I seem to like having a keyboard on anything bigger than a phone. My Macbook Air + Android phone don't leave enough of a gap in between to want a tablet too.

    That said, it'd be a whopper of a way to counter some on this week's Balmer bashing is Steve (B, not J) could stand on stage next week and show Windows 8 running on an iPad and doing it somehow better than iOS and inviting Windows developers to that party. That's not likely to be what happens but imagine the buzz.

  • Report this Comment On May 27, 2011, at 6:58 PM, mode66 wrote:

    Can anyone say . . . Freeze . . . CTRL ALT DELETE . . . on your tablet! NO WAY!~

  • Report this Comment On May 27, 2011, at 7:55 PM, Oldfool103 wrote:

    Ctrl Alt Del?? Ctrl Alt Del? That all seems so last century.

  • Report this Comment On May 27, 2011, at 8:13 PM, normcf wrote:

    Why doesn't that survey ask the right question which theHedgehog alluded to. Or, even the choice, "No, I plan to buy something else". The results will be skewed towards Microsoft because many of us will not be able to answer.

  • Report this Comment On May 27, 2011, at 8:26 PM, rfaramir wrote:

    Agree with Hedgehog. I voted "No: iPad" because I have one, but even without that Christmas gift, I would never run an MS OS that I could avoid.

  • Report this Comment On May 27, 2011, at 8:28 PM, Morgana wrote:

    Category Missing: How about asking if we are Apple users? I am, and I am devoted. I will buy an I-Pad soon. Just bought a new Mac book pro quad processor--two thirds of it with American Express points. The last Mac book lasted seven years (single processor) and is still functioning beautiously but I needed a new one that would accommodate Photoshop. Love the MACs!

  • Report this Comment On May 27, 2011, at 9:10 PM, hunglk wrote:

    I'll buy the windows tablet because my windows apps will work without problems

  • Report this Comment On May 27, 2011, at 9:21 PM, melegross wrote:

    Hunglk, it's already known that Win 8 on an ARM tablet, which is what is being discussed here, will NOT run Windows programs.

  • Report this Comment On May 27, 2011, at 9:24 PM, daveshouston wrote:

    The mathematical odds that Microsoft will come out with a product that equals or exceeds the current iPad are approximately zip squat to the tenth power.

  • Report this Comment On May 28, 2011, at 12:17 AM, thethreestooges wrote:

    after 18 years tinkering with the tablet, Otto failed to deliver. And you worry him joining Apple? What, to suceed Steve Jobs? Microsoft should start firing those managers, starting from the top for fumbling the tablet that was envisioned long before ipad.

  • Report this Comment On May 28, 2011, at 8:32 AM, kariku wrote:

    The right answer is: "No. I am interested in tablets, but Windows is not the right OS". We've seen already Windows tablets long before the iPad. They suck.

    It's all about software.

  • Report this Comment On May 29, 2011, at 9:26 AM, deemery wrote:

    The interesting fight that -could- shape up is between a Windows Tablet and RIMM's Playbook. Either would be targeted to businesses and pitched not to end users but to CIOs.

    That being said, I have zero interest in either. My wife has an iPad as do most of my friends, selected because -they- (and not their CIOs) want them. The likely fight for the consumer market is clearly between Android and Apple, and both MSFT and RIMM are -so far behind- the only way they'll be successful is by selling them in bulk to corporations and OEMs for specific functions; they're just not competitive in an end-user driven market.

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