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Microsoft pegs tablets for 2013 win - should it be scared?

Microsoft reckons tablets are going to outsell desktop PCs next year. But will Microsoft be part of that success?

Microsoft reckons tablets are the wave of the future. Specifically, it thinks shiny slate-shaped devices will outsell desktop PCs in 2013.

Microsoft's vice president for Windows web services, Antoine Leblond, made the bold claim at a conference in Amsterdam, PC Pro reports. "Next year, tablets will outsell desktop PCs," the magnificently named Leblond predicted.

"Touch is coming to PCs and that's going to change the way UIs are designed very dramatically, just like the mouse did."

The claims might sound like navel-gazing from two years ago, but Microsoft has invested heavily in the growing tablet market, having recently lifted the lid on its own touchscreen effort -- the Microsoft Surface.

Powered by Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 software, this tablet sports an intriguing fold-out keyboard, slick Metro interface and a painfully uncool kickstand that pops out the back.

It goes up against Apple's frighteningly popular iPad, the latest version of which shifted 3 million units in its first three days on sale.

Microsoft could seek to oust the iPad by wooing businesses. Surface's Windows 8 software could prove popular with IT departments who are fussed about networking and security, leading to bulk purchases that see snappily dressed business folk conducting big business from a Microsoft slate.

On the other hand, Microsoft's tablet-specific software is massively late to the party, and it remains to be seen whether it can catch up on over two years of uninterrupted Apple dominance, during which time anyone with even a passing interest in buying a tablet has had ample time to do so.

Microsoft's prediction that tablets will outsell desktops next year could well be on the money. But can Microsoft benefit from that change in computing, or will we look back at 2013 as the year Apple stuck a great big nail in Microsoft's coffin? Answers on a postcard, or in the comments below. Or on our Facebook wall.