Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), the world’s biggest software maker, unveiled mice and keyboards to work with its Windows 8 software for tablets and personal computers as it prepares its own device to compete with Apple Inc.’s (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPad.
The wireless Wedge Mobile Keyboard, which costs $79.95, features a protective cover that doubles as a stand for a tablet, Microsoft said in a statement. The company will also sell a pocket-size wireless Wedge Touch Mouse for $69.95. Both use Bluetooth to connect to a computer or tablet.
Microsoft is releasing Windows 8, the next update of its flagship software, in October to run on PCs and tablets, including its own machine, Surface. The latest software, mice and keyboards are designed to combat Apple’s lead in the tablet market and boost sales of Surface when it goes on sale later this year.
The Redmond, Washington-based company also said it will sell a Sculpt Touch Mouse for $49.95 and full-size Sculpt Mobile Keyboard for the same price. Both products use a Bluetooth connection.
Revenue in the Windows division fell 13 percent to $4.15 billion in the three months ended June 30, falling short of the $4.44 billion average analyst estimate, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That was the fifth time in seven quarters that the unit has fallen short.
Apple’s iPad will to remain the global tablet leader through at least 2016, even as it loses some market share, according to researcher Gartner Inc. The iPad will account for an estimated 46 percent of shipments in 2016, down from a projected 61 percent this year, Gartner said. Tablets running Google Inc.’s Android software may have 37 percent by 2016, a gain from 32 percent.
Microsoft, which had zero percent of the tablet market last year, is expected to nab 12 percent by 2016. That number may increase because the Gartner report was issued before Microsoft unveiled its Windows-based tablet.