In the world of personal computing, Microsoft has retained the formidable giant with its Windows operating system used by millions of people across the globe. However, trends in this market are continuously moving towards mobile devices with the increasing popularity of smartphones and tablets. Microsoft has struggled to gain a foothold in the mobile market segment. It's promising Windows Phone 7 has not yet become a match for the iPhone, Android or Blackberry devices. This could all change with the anticipated release of the next version of their operating system, Windows 8.

Due to be released in the fall of 2012, the new Windows 8 will boast a touch based interface that is prevalent in mobile devices. It's new user interface is sleek and user-friendly. It has the ability to run full screen HTML5 applications directly from the desktop. Users can switch applications with a single swipe. It is also back compatible with Windows 7 applications.

It can run on ARM chips that require less processing power with less battery consumption. This is a huge breakthrough for Microsoft as traditionally the Windows operating system has required a great deal of processing power in order to run effectively. The move towards operating with ARM chips puts it in a position to be a quality mobile device operating system. In addition, it is integrated with Microsoft's cloud based products like Windows Live and SkyDive. It is clear that Windows 8 is set to be Microsoft's answer to the post-PC world, keeping it relevant in the mobile market.

After the success of the iPad and other tablet devices, the market is still in its infancy and there is always room for competition. The biggest advantage that Microsoft will have if Windows 8 becomes a successful tablet operating system is that it would be compatible with native software like their Office suite or business applications built on the Windows platform. This fact is something that will not be easy for mobile hardware vendors to ignore. What better way to bridge the gap between desktop and mobile than with an operating system that is run on both.

Microsoft may be coming late to the tablet market, but it is strategically positioning itself to become a major player in the growing world of mobile computing. Only time will tell if they are able to successfully overcome the obstacles of entering the playing field already controlled by the iPad and Android tablets.