3 Reasons A Microsoft-HP Tablet PC Would Trump Apple

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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is expected Wednesday night to unveil a new multimedia tablet PC made by Hewlett-Packard, according to a report by The New York Times.

Ballmer is expected to unveil the eagerly awaited touch-screen, slate-style tablet computer during his keynote speech at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

The HP tablet, powered by Microsoft's operating system software, would be a direct strike against Apple, which is expected to unveil its own tablet computer in the next several weeks. Here are three reasons a Microsoft-HP tablet PC would trump an Apple offering.

1. The Microsoft-HP Tablet Will Be A Better Value Than The Apple Tablet: You don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure out which tablet PC offering will be the best buy for consumers and businesses. Microsoft teaming with PC makers such as HP has always provided a better value than Apple.

Apple may have beat Microsoft to the punch with a graphical user interface that made computing fun. But Microsoft brought GUI-based computing to the masses and at a price a working person can afford.

My bet is the Microsoft-HP offering will offer robust slate computing functionality that will be priced starting at well under $1,000 and that the Apple tablet will offer a great user experience but will be overpriced for what it brings to the table. Look for the Apple tablet to be priced at well above $1,000.

2. The Microsoft And HP Machine Will Have More R&D Backing Than Apple: The emerging tablet technology segment is all about research and development. The Microsoft and HP R&D budgets dwarf the Apple R&D effort.

Microsoft spent a whopping $9.0 billion in R&D in fiscal 2009. And HP spent $2.81 billion in fiscal 2009. Compare that to Apple, which spent $1.3 billion in R&D in its last fiscal year.

Apple can crow all it wants about its ability to innovate. Its true genius lies in marketing its products as the new status symbols of the 21st century. Forget status. Pay for value.

Do you really think that the extra dollars you spend for the Apple tablet will make you more productive? Think again. That's just Apple marketing mumbo jumbo.

3. Microsoft And HP Have More Multimedia Muscle Than HP: Microsoft and HP combined have much more multimedia muscle than Apple. All you have to do to see just what kind of multimedia experience Microsoft offers in comparison with Apple is look at Windows 7.

Windows 7, by all accounts, represents an order of magnitude improvement in multimedia stability and functionality. Multimedia is all about video and that is where Microsoft has made the biggest gains with Windows 7.

It's no small matter that Windows Media Player now supports playback of unprotected content purchased from the Apple iTunes store.

As for HP, the computer giant has made huge strides in the past several years in bringing consumers and businesses innovative multimedia computers at a great price. Combine HP's multimedia tablet design innovation and Microsoft's big advances in multimedia software functionality and you have a slam-dunk offering that will leave Apple pulling up the rear.

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