Rumored Microsoft tablet may involve Barnes & Noble, Xbox Live

Microsoft logoMicrosoft's "major announcement" is less than 24 hours away, and Ars is going to have live coverage of the event. But it's fun to speculate beforehand, and the latest consensus from the always reliable Internet rumor mill points to a collaborative tablet/e-reader with Barnes & Noble.

Today, TechCrunch reported there was a shred of truth in all the tablet rumors from the weekend. The site spoke with "sources" who claim Microsoft plans to announce an entertainment-driven tablet/e-reader, which may include Xbox Live streaming capabilities.

We don't know just what Microsoft will reveal tomorrow—it may not even be a tablet. But out of the rumors so far, the Barnes & Noble one makes a bit of sense. After all, Microsoft typically doesn't build its own hardware, instead relying on OEMs. And Barnes & Noble already has a strategic relationship with Microsoft, with Redmond investing $300 million in the Nook business. In that agreement, Microsoft took a 17.6 percent stake in a newly formed subsidiary that handles B&N's digital and college bookstore businesses. That partnership would also result in a Nook application for Windows 8. A Nook-ified Windows 8 tablet isn't so far from the realm of possibility (even though the current Nook Tablet is Android-based).

Barnes & Noble Nook

Invites to tomorrow's LA-based Microsoft announcement surfaced late Thursday. Speculation began immediately that the event would result in a tablet. All Things D reported the company would unveil a Microsoft designed hardware/software combo that would directly compete with the Apple iPad. Microsoft's recent partnership with Nokia led to some speculation at Wired that perhaps the announcement was another collaborative Windows 8 device (potentially with some unique features to help distinguish the Nokia partnership from other tablets).

Whatever is announced, Microsoft's strategy for Windows 8 on tablets will be hugely important for the company as Windows 8 is just months away from being released. Tomorrow evening's event will end all the discussion, taking place at 6:30 pm EST. Follow along as Ars' Microsoft editor Peter Bright will be on hand to confirm or deny all this speculation.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Microsoft, tablets, Windows 8

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