Microsoft “announced” that they will be producing their own, Microsoft-branded tablets. I say “announced” because it seems they forgot to mention a few things – like price, battery life, actual availability dates…
If you’re a Microsoft partner, like Dell or HP, you’re looking at another possible Zune scenario. You might remember how thrilled the partners in Microsoft’s music store at the time were when the Zune was announced. Realistically, if you are in the market for a Windows 8 tablet, why wouldn’t you buy the Microsoft one over some OEM version? Which one is less likely to have piles of crapware on it? Which is less likely to not have weird, hard to manage drivers?
Of course, since this is Microsoft, they have to make things confusing. While the ARM version of the tablet will have Office included, it is a version licensed for home/student/non-commercial use only – so you can’t use it at work. The more expensive Intel version of the tablet won’t come with Office, since you can buy a normal copy at retail. Guess they are worried about Office sales.
The whole thing seems like a bit of a desperation move – “don’t buy an iPad, we have our own pad coming! Really!” Personally, I’m not a fan of companies announcing products so far in advance that they can’t even price it for you. Get back to me when you have something you can sell me.