Microsoft will enter the tablet market directly, rather than rely on hardware partners such as Dell, HP, Acer and Lenovo, in hopes of winning market share from Apple's popular iPad, sources told Web sites AllThingsD and The Wrap.
Traditionally Microsoft has only made software, with the exception of the XBox 360 gaming console that the company puts its name on.
In the computer arena it has long been content to leave hardware to its partners under their own brands, but by making both the hardware and the software for a Microsoft tablet the company could achieve better integration between the two, informationweek.com reported Thursday.
This would follow the path set by Apple, which owns both the software platform and hardware aspects of the iPad, which makes it fully integrated with Apple's entire line of devices and its software.
What's not clear, analysts said, is how Microsoft will differentiate its tablet products from the Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets being made by its partners, who could have second thoughts about Microsoft competing directly with them.
Microsoft said it will be making the announcement in Los Angeles.
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