Microsoft to launch Windows 8 tablet by 2012?

Sources are speculating that Microsoft is preparing to launch an own-brand Windows 8 tablet by the end of 2012.

Microsoft, which has trypically partnered with smartphone and electronic companies to push its Windows products on mobile and PC devices, could change the way it operates in the tablet market in an attempt to compete with Apple’s iOS platform and dominant App Store marketplace.

Microsoft is thought to be copying its branding strategy from product lines including its Xbox 360 and Zune products, helping draw more consumer attention in a growing tablet market.

A move into launching its own products could potentially upset vendors working with Microsoft to push products powered by Microsoft software.

Microsoft has not commented on rumours.