Microsoft (MSFT) faces significant risks with the transition to Windows 8.
In case you missed the disclosure at the bottom, I am short Microsoft stock. That's because I think it's more likely than not that Microsoft will take a beating from Google (GOOG) and Apple (AAPL) in the wake of the Windows 8 launch.
That said, as a consumer who uses multiple Windows PCs and multiple Windows phones, I would like Microsoft to succeed, both for the sake of the products and as a check on the increasing competitive dominance of Google and Apple.
First, let's look at the three versions of Windows 8 that Microsoft is expected to launch on or around October 26:
1. Windows 8 for x86 computers: This is the traditional PC version for desktops, laptops, and tablets. Intel is the main chip supplier here, and AMD (AMD) is presumably is the second source.
2. Windows 8 for ARM (ARMH) processors: This new version will look a lot like the x86 version and will initially be available for tablets, some of which will be "convertible" into laptop-style devices with detachable keyboards. In February, Microsoft said it will make this version, which is known as "RT," available for traditional laptops and desktops, but it now appears that this iteration will come later than the initial launch. The chip vendors for this version are Nvidia (NVDA), Qualcomm (QCOM), and Texas Instruments (TXN).
3. Windows Phone 8: The first phones from Nokia (NOK) and Samsung (SSNLF) were shown recently, although not with final or working software. The only chip vendor, at least initially, is Qualcomm, although one might surmise that Nvidia and Texas Instruments may be added in 2013 or 2014.
I have a "backdrop" theory as to how the market is geared up for Windows 8.