Rumor: Microsoft prepping Windows 8 tablet for Monday launch

Microsoft and Apple have one of the longest-running and fiercest rivalries in the modern technology industry.

Indeed, the rivalry goes back decades to a time when both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were just starting their respective companies. However, a new battlefield has emerged in recent years. Mobile – where Redmond and Cupertinio are going head-to-head in a brave new world of smartphone and tablets.

Apple currently fields the most popular tablet with its slick iPad, and the iPhone is one of the most popular handsets. Obviously, Microsoft wants some of the action.

According to industry sources, Microsoft is reportedly preparing to unveil a new tablet on Monday in a new attempt to challenge Apple.

Microsoft will supposedly debut the tablet at an event Monday at 3:30 PM in Los Angeles. Official invites only mention time, date and location – without specifying a reason for the event.

So what do we know about Redmond’s supposed iPad killer?

The device – indigenously designed by Microsoft – will run Windows 8 RT, which is a version of the company’s flagship operating system made for ARM processors. Traditional Windows operating systems have typically been paired with Intel and other x86 chips.

A rumor surfaced last week that Microsoft is charging handsomely for licenses on Windows RT, as the average price supposedly paid by manufacturer per license is set at a cool $85. With hardware costs and software costs combined, so far it seems as if Windows RT tablets will be at least as expensive (and likely even more costly) than Apple’s iPad.

Personally, I won’t be surprised if this rumor turns out to be true. Microsoft has attempted to compete directly with Apple in the past with the ill-fated Zune and failed. Then again, Microsoft just doesn’t seem to understand it can’t enter the market with a device that boasts similar features and the same price as an Apple product and expect to beat Cupertino.