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A Microsoft tablet? Likely. An iPad killer? Doubtful [Video]

June 18, 2012|By David Lazarus

All we know for sure is that it's going to be major. We know that because Microsoft says so.

"This will be a major Microsoft announcement -- you will not want to miss it," the company said in an email to reporters. The major announcement is scheduled for 3:30 Monday afternoon.

So what's in store? Pretty much everyone agrees it's going to be a tablet of some sort. But what kind of tablet? That's where the agreement ends.

Some analysts are predicting that Microsoft will unveil a would-be iPad killer running the new-fangled Windows 8 operating system. That's entirely possible. It's clear that Microsoft, like Google and all other tech powerhouses, would love a taste of Apple's lunch.

But some analysts say it's too soon for an iPad-like device. The more likely gadget, they say, is some sort of e-reader, perhaps in conjunction with Barnes & Noble's Nook. Microsoft announced a $300 million, 17.6% stake in Barnes & Noble's e-book business in April.

Under this scenario, a revamped Nook might feature more Microsoft Xbox bells and whistles, such as easier streaming of movies and TV shows, plus some gaming potential.

All I know is that it's going to be a tough fight for Microsoft no matter what the company unveils. It's tried again and again to crack Apple's secret sauce, and has consistently come up short. (Raise your hands, all you Zune users out there.)

So my pre-major-announcement prediction is this: Microsoft will hopefully have learned its lesson and will have put some serious work into making a gadget that doesn't just have me-too appeal. If so, the company might get some of its mojo back.

If not, I suppose it could always use its new tablet for coasters or serving trays.

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