A few days ago word went out that Microsoft is holding a June 18th gathering that will involve a major announcement of some sort. Shortly after that there was a leak of inside information that indicates this will be Microsoft’s first computer hardware offering. As early as tomorrow we may have some details about an upcoming Windows 8 tablet developed and manufactured by Microsoft itself. The big question now is what market they are shooting for. It might make sense for this to be a big push against the Kindle Fire.
Consider the situation that Microsoft has gotten itself into. They are trying to take over the tablet market from Apple while still maintaining dominance in the PC market. They are doing this by supporting everything in an attempt to create consistent experience. Tablets, PCs, video game consoles, phones, everything will have Metro on it sooner of later. Unfortunately this includes supporting multiple architectures, which has made the company split their project.
Windows RT is what they are calling the branch of Windows 8 that runs on ARM devices and it might be in trouble. While Microsoft is trying to create consistency, none of the applications that run on Windows RT will run on the rest of Windows 8, nor will the reverse be possible. This means that they can’t necessarily count on the hordes of existing Windows software developers to jump on board.
The reason this matters to Kindle Fire fans is mostly that this would be a great time for Microsoft to demonstrate how a well designed product running their software can perform. They’re already going to be pulling in a lot of people with touch interface experience for their app store.
The segment that is willing to concentrate specifically on tablet customers to the exclusion of desktops will likely be Android and iOS developers. As a result we might see something that can do everything the Kindle Fire can, with a similar integration into a large existing media ecosystem, running an admittedly better tuned OS. Amazon might end up with problems.
Pretty much only one thing makes this somewhat questionable. Microsoft has not shown any particular interest in going into the budget tablet market. They actually seem to want to disregard Android devices entirely and head straight for the top to knock down the iPad. Reports indicate that OEMs working on ARM tablets will be charged $85 per device just for the operating system. You can’t do that and compete with the Kindle Fire on price.
We will know more tomorrow afternoon. This could be big news, and explain a lot about Microsoft’s interest in the Nook line, or it could turn out to have no effect at all on Kindle customers. If not, it seems that there is nobody else on the verge of taking off until the anticipated Google Nexus tablet is finally finished. To be totally honest, a Kindle Fire vs Windows 8 tablet competition would be a much bigger thing to worry about.