For those of you who have had the opportunity to try the new Windows 8, with its slick Metro GUI, you are aware that this system has the strong potential to make a difference in the tablet market. Not only that, but it appears that Microsoft may have found a possible solution for incorporating both a tablet and desktop OS that could offer us a totally new experience when it comes to the Windows environment. However, one must wonder if Microsoft has waited too long to join the tablet fray, especially since Amazon and Barnes & Noble seem to have successfully already jumped on this craze.

Microsoft’s slow uptake into this market, however, could possibly be traced to the company’s historic dependence on the Windows operating system and Office products to line its pockets. As a consumer, one must admit that the company has dominated these two software markets and that this concept has basically worked very well for it over the last 20 plus years. However, now there are two alternatives already in place that tablet makers are using: Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. Their success in comparison to HP’s failed attempt to enter the tablet market with its webOS demonstrates how fickle consumers are about their tablet computers and the operating systems they use.

Has Microsoft Waited Too Long to Join the Tablet Craze?The next problem Microsoft will face is going to be the pricing for its Windows powered tablets, since the hardware requirements could demand a faster CPU and more memory for a Windows powered tablet to compete against the likes of the Apple iPad. This competition, from Apple, will be based on the great job — no, superb job — that Apple did in the creation of its iOS. That means that if Microsoft has to price its unit near that of the Apple iPad, its OS will have to be not just comparable but superior to what Apple is pricing for its popular units.

In addition, it is going to be forced to compete with the Amazon Kindle Fire, priced at $199, and the Barnes & Noble Nook tablet at $249; I doubt that Microsoft can meet these units’ prices. Part of Amazon and Barnes & Noble’s advantages are due to the fact that they are powered by variants of the Google Android operating system, and will rely on services to make their profits.

However, where Microsoft could remain competitive is in the production of tablets for the business environment. Most business companies are familiar with Windows and also Office. Windows paired with the Office suite comprise a comfortable environment for many, myself included, with the potential to compete in the higher end tablet marketplace. But while consumers have flocked in droves to tablet computers, will businesses follow in the consumers’ footsteps? It should be interesting to see how well Microsoft will do, once it finally gets Windows 8 to the marketplace.

Comments welcome.