This week, the Internet has been flooded with rumors that Microsoft is going to build and release its own Windows 8 tablet sometime in 2012. The rumors started on Wednesday when DigitTimes reported that Microsoft was working with Texas Instruments and some Taiwan-based ODMs on building its own branded slate.
However, Microsoft has not commented on the rumor and many industry watchers doubt that the company, which has a long history of licensing its operating systems to others, will try to compete with its partners in the hardware space. "I'd think the company would be taking a big risk as far as alienating its OEM partners is concerned," wrote ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley. Foley speculated that Microsoft is more likely to be preparing a reference design or a test unit it could give to developers rather than a consumer product to sell under its own name.
Paul Thurott of Paul Thurott's Supersite for Windows also doubts Microsoft would sell its own slate. "My gut feeling is that Microsoft won't release its own tablet," he wrote. "The PC market is Microsoft's best and most successful partner ecosystem and in doing so, Microsoft would never risk alienating its closest partners."
While Microsoft has never sold its own computers, the company has a long history of selling hardware products, from its mice and keyboards to the Xbox 360 gaming console. While some of these products have been successful, the KIN phone and Zune media player are two significant failures.
What do you think? Should Microsoft build and sell its own tablets?