Software giant Microsoft will not make its move into the already-ripe tablet devices market until late 2012, according to an insider.
Citing people knowledgeable about the company's plans, Bloomberg reports that Microsoft won't launch a rival for Apple's iOS and Google's Android tablet operating systems until late 2012 when the back-to-school season begins.
The new tablet-oriented version of Windows will be put to public testing with partner manufacturers and customers by the end of this year, Bloomberg sources reveal. The new Windows for tablets will be optimised for touch screens, size and battery life of tablet PC devices.
A late 2012 entry into the smartphone market by Microsoft would let rivals Apple and Google establish themselves firmly in the market, as they did in the smartphone market, in which Microsoft also made a late entry with the Windows Phone 7 platform.
Windows Phone 7 now has to compete with the staggering market shares Apple and Google have amassed. According to recent figures from a study by Nielson, Android has a 29 per cent share in the smartphone market while Apple's iOS has a 27 per cent share. Windows Phone 7 is to be found struggling at 10 percent.
Michael Gartenberg, an analyst with Gartner, told Bloomberg, “If 2011 is the year of the tablet wars, Microsoft will be awfully late suiting up for that battle. It’s not a good position to be in.”