It’s about that time of year. Window will unveil its new generation today at the Microsoft Build Conference. The new operating system is Window’s latest attempt to catch up to Apple, which has caught up and passed Microsoft in the race of the world’s most valuable company. Ironically it’s not MacBook or even Mac OS X Lion, which has been touted as Apple’s weapon…but the big, bad, scary iPad.

I have to admit that I was on the skeptical side with its launch. I dismissed the iPad as an iPhone for fat fingers. My apologies. It is now on my “to buy” list. Thanks to a low starting price and a strong marketing launch, over 25 million units were sold in only a year and a half. It created its own product genre, one that it plans to dominate for a while.

It inspired a number of products by competitors. We saw HP’s TouchPad, the RIM Playbook and a variety of Android tablets. No one has been able to live up to the hype. The sleek design and cool kid clout doesn’t hurt. (Might even help your klout…hehe) Of course, Microsoft has seen this as both a problem and an opportunity. One more false step like letting Apple dominate with desktop OS and Microsoft will slip right through the technology world cracks.

Hats off to whoever can create a legitimate alternative. The tablet market is growing fast, and whatever company succeeds will be in a strong position to succeed. Mashable mentions a three-fold success outcome– investors at ease, greater profits and ultimate future growth. Microsoft has put a lot of faith in Windows 8. The OS software will not only work on PCs but tablets as well.