Microsoft Corp. is expected to release a preview of a tablet computer to rival Apple Inc.'s iPad at an event today in Los Angeles.
Sales of the iPad are expected to reach $78.7 billion this year, according to Bloomberg, and the product has shut out competition from tablets released by Research in Motion Ltd., the maker of BlackBerry devices, and Hewlett-Packard Co.
The Microsoft tablet is expected to run Windows 8 and have Windows Office features such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, but not Outlook, according to Bloomberg.
An industry analyst told Bloomberg that Microsoft may have a hard time competing with Apple's prices. Currently, iPads sell for $499. Microsoft may use Windows RT software, a version of Windows 8, on the tablet, and Bob O'Donnell, an analyst for IDC, said in an interview with Bloomberg it will be hard for Microsoft to sell them at less than $599.
In April, Microsoft partnered with Barnes & Noble Inc. to develop a new type of e-reader.