incrediBILL - 1:06 am on Aug 1, 2010 (gmt 0)
Just look at gaming console sales and you'll know why MS wants into the tablet and phone niches.
Worldwide sales figures [en.wikipedia.org]
1. Wii – 70.9 million as of 31 March 2010
2. Xbox 360 – 41.7 million as of 23 July 2010
3. PlayStation 3 – 38.1 million as of 30 June 2010
Compare that to the current adoption of smartphones [en.wikipedia.org]:
According to a study by ComScore, in 2010 over 45.5 million people in the United States owned smartphones and it is the fastest growing segment of the mobile phone market, which comprised 234 million subscribers in the United States
With just the US market estimated at of 45M and growing out of a total subscriber base of 235M - even 10% of the gross total is worthwhile, then think worldwide numbers.
Tablets are just another part of that 3G connectivity world, a part MS is losing that was just recently dominated by low end Win XP netbooks now being replaced by much cooler tablet toys.
Imagine in a year when there may be over 10M iPads (or more) and MS is losing all those customers to the competition.
If they can incorporate some of the cool features and software they did with Surface technology into a tablet it would blow the doors off the market.