HP isn't planning a Windows RT tablet

So that might be why Microsoft was so eager to release its own ARM-powered tablet. According to Bloomberg, HP has gone on the record to say it won't offer an ARM tablet based on Microsoft's next operating system. Instead, HP is cooking up an x86 slate—and that device will purportedly be aimed at business users, not consumers.

Word comes from HP spokeswoman Marlene Somsak, who told Bloomberg HP's decision to focus on x86 "was influenced by input from our customers." She added, "The robust and established ecosystem of x86 applications provides the best customer experience at this time and in the immediate future." Somsak clarified that the decision predates the launch of Microsoft's Surface tablet.

Quoting "people with knowledge of the matter," Bloomberg says HP considered making an ARM device. The firm even received early access to the code for Windows RT, the ARM version of Windows 8. In the end, however, the PC maker reportedly "opted to focus elsewhere first."

Considering HP is the world's biggest PC vendor by volume, that's kind of a big deal. Perhaps the company got cold feet after the whole webOS debacle, which saw HP's TouchPad tablet discontinued ahead of its time, with remaining units promptly shoved in the bargain bin. Or maybe other factors influenced its decision, as Somsak said. Either way, Microsoft has lost a key ally in its upcoming battle against the iPad.

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