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Microsoft and Intel Teaming Up, Plotting to Take Down Apple

It's probably now a given that Microsoft and Intel are working together to produce top-notch Windows 8 tablets and touch-based Ultrabooks. Both have high standards when it comes to the consumer experience, and are bringing to first-tier device manufacturers their requirements and expectations. But Taiwan-based ODMs are claiming the duo are looking to reduce the iPad's 70-percent global market share down to below 50-percent by the middle of 2013.

What will be their secret weapon? Windows 8, of course. They'll also be coming after Apple on two fronts: tablets and hybrid Ultrabooks that can "fold" into a tablet. While the latter is still in a prototype stage, manufacturers are already lined up to offer Windows 8 tablet by the end of the year including Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Lenovo, Acer, Asustek Computer and Toshiba.

Sources claim that Lenovo and Acer plan to release both high-end, mid-range and entry-level Windows 8 tablets. The high-end and mid-range products, priced between $300 and $1000 and probably includes hybrid Ultrabooks, will compete with Apple's iPad 3 and the next-generation iPad. The low-end models sold below $300 will compete with the rumored iPad Mini, Android tablets and models offered by China-based white-box vendors.

The sources also claim that Intel has a certain interest in Lenovo because the manufacturer has a strong status in educational and business-use tablet PCs in the China market. This trait is seen as a key in driving the global market share for Windows 8 tablets. Meanwhile, Microsoft will continue its war on Apple on the ARM front thanks to the release of Windows RT (Real Time) which is slated to launch alongside if not shortly after the x86/x64 version this fall.

Will Intel and Microsoft be successful in claiming tablet marketshare from Apple? Both Gartner and IHS iSuppli report that Apple's share won't drop below 50-percent until 2015 or 2016. Even more, Windows 8 is expected to fall behind both iOS and Android for the foreseeable future. But that could certainly change once Windows 8 hits the street and iPad owners -- who likely run a Windows-based desktop -- will see how a Windows 8 tablet or Ultrabook will extend their desktop experience.