At the moment, the tablet market consists of Apple’s iPad 2 and everyone else. Apple runs iOS and everyone else runs Android, alongside the odd occurrence of Windows. There is no stronger brand out there in the tablet market than Apple and iOS, though.Microsoft has realized this and is now apparently considering launching a tablet that carries its own name. So instead on a collaboration with someone like HP or Asus that sees a tablet running Windows but sporting the partner’s name on the device, this would be a purely Microsoft hardware and software product just like iPad 2 is for Apple.AdChoices广告The rumor this is going to happen has come from “the upstream supply chain,” meaning those who work in the hardware industry and see the deals being done for future product manufacturing runs. Apparently, Microsoft is set to team up with Texas Instruments primarily to make this happen. The final product will be a tablet running Windows 8 and released in 2012.Such a move would see Microsoft basically copy Apple’s hardware, software, and revenue model pretty closely. The Microsoft tablet hardware would run Microsoft software and apps would be bought through the new Windows Store that is shipping with the new OS. Microsoft even has its own stores to act as huns for showing off the device, just like Apple.The project is meant to be low profile and by no means set in stone at the moment. However, the fact that Microsoft is considering this route shows just how successful Apple’s model has been.Read more at DigiTimesMatthew’s OpinionImitation is the best form of flattery, and in this case, it is the right thing for Microsoft to do in my opinion. Apple has shown the lock-in of producing your own hardware, system software, and a controlled app ecosystem works well enough to put billions in the bank.The fact Microsoft isn’t the first to do this means there is no chance of some form of anti-trust lawsuit to rear its head again. Competitors are doing this so Microsoft has every right to follow them.The big losers in all of this will be Microsoft’s Windows partners. How can a HP or Acer compete in the Windows 8 tablet market when Microsoft is producing its own? Imagine Apple allowing other manufacturers to use iOS on their tablets. It just wouldn’t work. But then we are assuming Microsoft can produce a tablet to the same standard as Apple, which may not happen.