Microsoft is sending out minimalist invites to the media for a secret event on Monday; no location and no idea on who will be presenting or what they'll show. What could it be? We'll find out on Monday, but until then, let's guess.
Get Ready to Rumble
UPDATE: Naturally, this wasn't going to stay secret for long, the word on the Web suggests that MS is showing off a Windows RT-powered tablet as some sort of rival to the iPad. Good luck with that. Not only will it have to be super cheap to generate any market headway, but come with a collection of coherent services and media offerings that Microsoft simply doesn't have.
Is the Seattle company buying Yammer, or Nokia, or someone else? Is it launching a media-themed product (makes sense in Los Angeles) or unveiling some magical new product to take on Apple or Samsung?
The hottest tip would be the Yammer acquisition, already discussed, but these deals are usually announced via a press release, and are unlikely to require a full court press for the media, yet alone any secret invites.
A Nokia acquisition has been mooted following the phone company's recent round of redundancies, poor results and fair-to-positive sales of Windows-powered smartphones. However, Microsoft has had plenty of time to buy the company before now and not dived in.
A more left field option would be to acquire Research in Motion, more for the messaging software than its mobile business, but why Los Angeles for a fairly business focused deal? Finally, there is Microsoft's recent move into social networking with So.cl. But, that's already out in the wild, and hardly worthy of the secrecy.
Beyond Phone Coverage
Leaving software and smartphones out of it, other options are new Windows hardware, possibly a western showing of the best devices unveiled earlier in the month at Computex in Taipei. There were endless tablets, ultrabooks and other systems on show there that would help focus Microsoft's drive to Windows 8.
An off-shoot to Windows 8 is the arrival of Windows RT which will need a differentiated launch and marketing to the bigger OS. This event could be the official unveiling of the OS and the machines that will run it.
Heading to Hollywood
Of course, Los Angeles is close to Tinseltown, and the event could be to show off a new type of Xbox or Kinect offering. Microsoft recently announced a $99 Xbox deal with an Xbox Live subscription, which opens up users to Netflix, web radio, music services and other media options. Perhaps the company's engineers have combined it with set-top box technology to make it a complete home entertainment solution?
See that little logo, from the movie Real Steel? That's all the world has seen of Xbox 720
Finally, there is the next-generation Xbox, the Xbox 720. Microsoft refused to talk about it at the recent E3 games show, but needs to get a march on Sony and their PlayStation 4. An early break from cover would give Microsoft first mover advantage.
Any and all of these possibilities are out there, or the event could showcase something completely different, what's your take.