Microsoft to take on the Apple tablet?

With the hype around Apple's near-certain upcoming tablet PC seemingly cooling off, our attention now turns to Microsoft--as the company is rumored to be preemptively working on its own Apple-tablet-killer.

With the hype around Apple's near-certain upcoming tablet PC seemingly cooling off, our attention now turns to Microsoft--as the company is rumored to be preemptively working on its own Apple-tablet killer.

ZDNet's Mary-Jo Foley reports that Microsoft plans to create a tablet, which is based in part on the technology behind the company's Surface project and has been developed under code names including "Oahu" and "Alchemy Ventures." In charge of the project--Chief Experience Officer J Allard, who was the main guy behind the Xbox brand for several years.

But don't look for it any time soon. Mary-Jo says she "wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft is waiting for Apple to show its Tablet hand before trotting out its revamped Tablet."

A key difference between a Microsoft tablet and an Apple one would be that Microsoft would design the basic spec, and let hardware partners build the actual devices--allowing MS to sit back and enjoy revenue from Zune-like subscription services, rather than be in the hardware-manufacturing business (and judging from the Xbox 360's high failure rate, that might not be the worst idea).

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