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It's Showtime for Apple, Microsoft, and Google

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The 2012 holiday season is almost besides the point. All three tech giants are going out on a limb for sales next year.

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Within a week, three of the world's biggest tech companies will have released the products they hope will help them dominate the mobile world in 2013. The Internet rumor mill being what it is, few surprises are likely. But anybody who tells you they know how this will turn out is lying.

On Tuesday, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) announced a smaller, cheaper iPad Mini, the 7.9-inch device it hopes will compete at the low end of the tablet market, which Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and its Kindle line now rules.

The only real question remaining was starting price, and it turned out to be $329. There's a worry here that they may just cannibalize their own sales of higher priced iPads.

Next Monday, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is expected to release a new version of its Android mobile operating system, and showcase its capabilities on a variety of devices. Based on early reports and leaks, Google will show a next-generation smartphone made by LG, and a 10-inch tablet made by Samsung.

Also on Monday, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) will release Windows 8, the multipurpose operating system that it hopes will finally win it a real place in the mobile device marketplace. And it will start fulfilling pre-orders on its new tablet, the Microsoft Surface.

Of course, the timing is about the 2012 holiday season, but it's a lot more than that.

Google has to prove that it can continue to dominate Internet advertising even in the mobile world. That's a point of some urgency since last week, when it announced earnings that fell short, due mainly to the lower prices that advertisers are willing to pay for mobile placements. That's an issue that many other companies face, but it's the guts of Google's business.
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