MICROSOFT has announced plans to launch its own tablet style computer to rival the iPad - confirming rumours which have been flying around the tech community.
Although Bill Gates was an early believer in the possibility of a tablet style computer it was not until Apple launched the iPad in 2010 that the appeal of such a device became clear.
According to some analysts the market for tablet computers is now worth $79bn a year and with its new Surface device Microsoft now plans to move into the market.
CEO of Microsoft Steve Ballmer announced the new product in Los Angeles yesterday saying it will be an entertainment device “without compromising the productivity that PCs are uniquely known for.”
A key feature of the new device is a built-in folding keyboard - which will allow Surface users to create content more quickly and easily than iPad users.
Microsoft say the device will sell for a similar price to the iPad - but are unable to say exactly when it will come onto the market.
The launch is a major departure for Microsoft, which has always specialised in software - relying on other manufacturers to produce the devices on which its products will run.
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