June 18, 2012

Microsoft launches Surface tablet to fight iPad


Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer holds the new Surface as it is unveiled in Los Angeles, California, June 18, 2012. Microsoft Corp unveiled a tablet called Surface on Monday, in a move to rival Apple Inc's massively successful iPad. - REUTERS

LOS ANGELES: Microsoft Corp unveiled a tablet called Surface on Monday, in a move to rival Apple Inc's massively successful iPad.

The world's largest software maker is on track to launch its touch-friendly Windows 8 operating system this autumn and wants to make a big impact with its own device to kickstart demand.

The tablet will come in two versions, one running on traditional Intel Corp chips, and another using ARM Holdings . Both will have a fold-out cover that becomes a keyboard.

A prototype was demonstrated by Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer at an event in Los Angeles. The tablets will be available when Windows 8 ships later this year, according to a Microsoft statement.



No details on pricing were mentioned, except that it would be "comparable" with current ARM tablets and Intel-powered Ultrabooks.

Microsoft shares rose slightly in after-hours trading. They closed down 0.6 percent at $29.84 in the regular Nasdaq session.

Launching its own tablet potentially throws Microsoft into direct competition with its closest hardware partners such as Samsung Electronics Co Ltd <005930.KS> and Hewlett-Packard Co .

Sales of tablets are expected to triple in the next two years, topping 180 million a year in 2013, easily outpacing growth in traditional PCs. Apple has sold 67 million iPads in two years since launch. - Reuters
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