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Should Apple Fear Microsoft's Coming Tablet Assault?

Alienating struggling customers comes at a cost and without strong revenue and margins, may result in a serious embarrassment for the Seattle company. The challenge of convincing new manufacturers to support Windows, and invest R&D dollars into the platform is likely to increase too. The concept appears full of peril with a heads-I-break-even-tails-I-lose type of outcome.

Dell, once an Intel-CPU-only computer producer, made news in 2006, when it shifted production to include AMD chips. It would not be surprising to see Dell hedge its market position with Android-platform tablets.

Even if Dell doesn't, other smaller hardware manufacturers are certain to consider the costs and benefits of using Windows 8 in a world that Microsoft is competing in.

A tighter integration with hardware and software may have its benefits, but I believe Microsoft should continue working on its core competency and leave hardware research and development to proven hardware manufacturers.

If Microsoft does enter the tablet hardware space, expect another press release in about two years announcing the sale or discontinuation of the program. Fortunately, Microsoft is smart enough to not bet the farm, and I remain a strong bull in its stock.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned.
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