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WIll Microsoft Unveil Winnable Tablet?

Rumor has it that Microsoft will use today’s press event to showcase a tablet developed and built with Barnes & Noble. The obvious question, therefore, is whether Microsoft and B&N have what it takes -- particularly from a hardware perspective -- to take it to Apple.

Sources tell TechCrunch that the device will likely serve as a rival to the Kindle Fire rather the iPad, and will emphasize entertainment, possibly offering Xbox Live media content streaming.

Unlike Microsoft’s previous hardware missteps, AllThingsD says failure is no longer an option for the company. This time around, the stakes are much higher,” it writes. “We’re no longer talking about a peripheral but rather the future of computing [i.e., mobile] and the core of Microsoft’s business.”

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VentureBeat sums up the pair’s perceived prospects in its headline: “Microsoft’s big announcement: Loser + Loser = Winner?” Regarding the partner’s content riches, ZDNet writes: “A tablet could be just the convergence device to focus all this into one place. But everything has to be right.”

What’s more, “a tablet can only part of the equation,” ZDNet adds. “Hardware is nice, but content is king, and as Apple and Amazon have demonstrated, it can make the difference between success and failure.”

“In April, the two companies announced a strategic partnership whereby the software giant would invest $300 million in the retailer's Nook business,” PCMag recalls.

In fact, “In an April 30 filing with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission, Barnes & Noble noted that Microsoft might create something called ‘Microsoft Reader,’” ComputerWorld notes. “It's still very much unknown if there will be any hardware at all, although decisions to host the event in the media capital of Los Angeles and detach the invitation from any existing Microsoft division provide at least indirect support for the notion,” Engadget writes.

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