Sat, Mar 05, 2011 - Page 11 News List

Microsoft plans Windows release for tablets in 2012

TOO SLOW?Microsoft’s announcement raised concern that the late release would give Apple and Google more time to strengthen their positions in the tablet market


Microsoft Corp, the world’s largest software maker, won’t release a competitor to Apple Inc and Google Inc’s tablet operating systems until next year’s back-to-school season, people with knowledge of the plans said.

Public testing of a new version of Windows will begin at the end of this year with partners and customers, said the people, who declined to be identified because the plans haven’t been disclosed publicly.

Microsoft is working to update its Windows 7 operating system with features more tailored to the touch screens, size and battery life of tablet computers to win a place in the surging market for the devices.

The longer it takes Microsoft to release its operating system, the more time Apple and Google have to strengthen their hold on the market.

“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.”

A 2012 debut for Microsoft would likely put it up against a third-generation iPad from Apple and second and third versions of devices based on Google’s Android system, Gartenberg said.

Hewlett-Packard Co and Research In Motion Ltd will probably also release second-generation tablets by then, he said.

Mark Martin, a spokesman for Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft, declined to comment.

Competition among tablet makers is mounting, with more than 100 new designs entering the market this year, according to In-Stat.

The market for tablets is expected to grow to 118 million units by 2015, the Scottsdale, Arizona-based consulting firm said in a report on Thursday.

Apple introduced its second iPad version on Wednesday — less than a year after the original went on sale. Apple sold 14.8 million units of the first iPad through December.

“Battle lines are being drawn, land is being grabbed, users are being evangelized and spending money,” Gartenberg said.

Timelines for new versions of Windows often shift as the firm develops and tests the product. Windows Vista came out more than two years late, while the current version, Windows 7, was a few months early.

In response to the iPad’s popularity, Microsoft said in January it would make a version of the next Windows software that works on ARM Holdings PLC technology for the first time.

That technology, the basis of chips made by Qualcomm Inc, Texas Instruments Inc and Nvidia Corp, dominates smartphones and is in tablets that run Google’s Android operating system. Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc and Samsung Electronics Co have used ARM-based chips in tablets to take on the iPad.

Microsoft’s operating systems power more than 90 percent of the world’s PCs. Apple, meanwhile, has more than 90 percent of the tablet market, chief executive officer Steve Jobs said when he introduced the iPad 2 on Wednesday.

Microsoft rose US$0.12 to US$26.20 on Thursday in NASDAQ Stock Market trading. The stock has lost 6.1 percent this year.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top