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Microsoft Unveils New “Surface” Tablet Computer

Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

Microsoft may still be the reigning champ in the personal computer world, but its entry into the smartphone market couldn’t hold a candle against Apple’s wonder child, the iPhone. Now, Microsoft is throwing its hand into a new ring: the tablet computer market.

Yesterday, Microsoft made a bold announcement with the introduction of its new tablet computer: the Surface. What’s so bold about a new tablet? It’s the first computer that Microsoft will design, develop and sell all on its own.

Microsoft introduced its own tablet line on Monday, dubbed “Surface,” breaking with a 37-year tradition of never competing directly with the hardware partners that have helped make Windows the most successful operating system ever.

The company did not name prices for the two tablets it plans to launch or a definitive timeline, although it said the first would debut around the time Windows 8 and Windows RT go public. The second will go on sale about three months later.

At a Los Angeles event — a hastily-called press conference whose invitations were sent out just days ago — CEO Steve Ballmer, top Windows executive Steven Sinofsky and others took the stage to unveil the 10.6-in. Surface, which comes in two versions, one that runs Windows RT on ARM, another that runs Windows 8 Pro on an Intel-chip.

It’s certainly a bold move for Microsoft, but could it put Microsoft back in the game? I’ve mentioned before how Microsoft is in desperate need of a comeback, and people are already treating this new tablet as the “silver bullet” that will solve all the company’s ails. But we still haven’t seen how it’ll stack up against Apple’s iPad. Remember, Windows and their Windows Phone tried to go toe-to-toe with the iPhone, and it failed miserably.

For now, I’m treating this announcement with “cautious optimism,” I’d like to see Microsoft get back in the game, but it remains to be seen how well it will fare against Apple.

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