A Microsoft-Branded Windows 8 Tablet? Doubt It.

Published on June 8, 2011
by John Paczkowski

Microsoft is considering another run at the hardware business, this time with a tablet PC of its own making.

That’s the rumor, anyway.

Supply chain sources tell occasionally reliable Taiwanese trade mag DigiTimes that the company has approached Texas Instruments and a few other OEMs about manufacturing a Microsoft branded Windows 8 tablet. It’s not clear whether this would be a reference design or a full blown consumer offering, though given Microsoft’s mixed success in the hardware market and appetite for OEM licensing fees, I’d argue its probably the former.

The latter is simply too risky. Microsoft has had a number of high-profile failures in the hardware market already and there’s certainly a chance of adding another with an ill-starred run at the increasingly competitive tablet market. Add to that the fact that doing so would irk–if not alienate–the hardware vendors from which it hopes to collect licensing fees and the entire excercise seems foolhardy at best. It’s never wise to compete with your customers.

Microsoft hasn’t commented on the rumors, though spokesman Frank Shaw had this to say in an early morning tweet today: “Nothing like starting the day with a hot steaming cup of speculation.”

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