There’s a ton of speculation around what Microsoft will be announcing on Monday in Los Angeles. Both the Wrap and ATD claim the event will showcase a Microsoft built Windows RT/Windows 8 tablet. According to folks with knowledge of the situation, they’re somewhat right but mostly wrong. We’re being told that a tablet/e-reader built in conjunction with Barnes & Noble is on tap and that it will be entertainment driven.
Before we get to that, let’s go over the brief chain of events starting with timing and location. Invites for the event went out on Thursday with zero flair and zero info causing some ire amongst the press. (At least Apple has the courtesy to give us a weeks notice.) And they expect us to show up in LA four days later? I don’t think so.
The majority of Microsoft’s “major” press conferences the last few years have come with specific product group (Xbox, Windows Phone, Windows, etc.) branding. This invite was plain text.
If it were a Windows 8/RT tablet announcement, it wouldn’t be made in LA and it wouldn’t be made this early. That type of announcement screams developer conference. (Don’t get me wrong. Windows 8 and everything it entails will be huge for Microsoft but don’t expect anything this early.) Imagine the blowback from the press about such a stale and boring preview anyway? Again, why would that happen in LA on such short notice?
Sources tell me that a new tablet will be announced on Monday with Barnes and Noble. The two companies announced a “strategic partnership” in late April with Microsoft investing $300M into the joint business dubbed “Newco” for a 17.6% equity stake and Barnes and Noble owning 82.4%.
The event would be the first public showing of what the two have been working on and may answer the question of why the invite was so bare – because they haven’t announced anything yet and the joint operation has yet to be named. Another source says the tablet may be the first non-Xbox device to gain Xbox Live streaming capabilities, which might explain the location of the event.
Other than the time of the event – 3:30 PM local – Microsoft has yet to announce the venue and will apparently do so tomorrow at 10AM local.