Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) recently launched the Consumer Preview version of Windows 8, and will presumably launch the final version by mid 2012. We expect it to be a major hit as it will target two markets already dominated by Microsoft – desktop and notebook – and the notebook market, in which Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is the only serious competition, followed by Google (NASDAQ:GOOG).
Most major notebook manufacturers like HP (NYSE:HPQ) and Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) have already announced that they are working on Windows 8 notebooks and tablets. According to a new report, even Nokia (NYSE:NOK) may be planning to launch a Windows 8 tablet by the end of the year. 
Tablets: The Next Frontier for Microsoft
Given Nokia and Microsoft’s partnership in the smartphone space with Windows Phone, Nokia was a natural fit for Microsoft’s tablet plans. Nokia has apparently outsourced the production of its Windows 8 tablets to Compal Electronics, a Chinese ODM, with the first batch of shipments coming up to 200,000 units. It will run on Qualcomm’s dual core platform – possibly Krait. We expect Samsung, HTC and other tablet manufacturers to launch their Windows 8 tablets, following the launch of the OS.
Since Windows is one of Microsoft’s most valuable businesses, and the tablet market is a rapidly growing one which Microsoft has a good chance of capturing a significant market share of, this is a significant achievement for Microsoft.
Nokia is one of the largest smartphone makers in the world with one of the best global distribution networks. Windows 7 sold more than 550 million licenses to date, and Windows 8 has a good chance of selling even more, given the much larger market it targets.
Windows accounts for around 27% of Microsoft’s $38 Trefis price estimate, which stands nearly 15% above its market price.Notes: