LOS ANGELES -- Microsoft wanted some Apple mojo.
That's the consensus of analysts and online pundits as to why the software giant threw a secretive event in Hollywood on Monday.
The flashy event with CEO Steve Ballmer was staged to boost its Surface tablet computers -- minus a release date or pricing information.
"They wanted to make a splash," says Brian Marshall, an analyst with ISI Group. "They wanted to pull some momentum away from Apple."
The Microsoft Surface is the Windows software maker's take on the tablet, a market Apple dominates.
Big differences: The Surface is a touch-screen tablet with computing power and peripherals. Unlike the iPad, the Surface has a USB port and supports Flash software. The detachable cover for the Surface doubles as a keyboard.
And the "Pro" version of the Surface will run such powerful software as Adobe Photoshop and is expected to fetch $1,000, Marshall says.
Was Microsoft successful in what it was trying to achieve?
Investors liked what they saw: The stock rose 86 cents, or 2.9%, to close at $30.70 on Tuesday.
But analysts weren't overwhelmed.
Microsoft has a large base of 1 billion consumers who use Windows PCs in their work, Marshall says.
"But by and large, it won't be able to dent the growth dynamics of Apple."
Apple doesn't need worry, says Charles Wolf, an analyst with Needham & Co.
"If it (Microsoft) achieves some success, it will most likely cut into Android's pitiful share of the tablet market rather than iPads, which invented and own this market."
The Apple playbook is to announce products that are either available that day, or within weeks, and give pricing. Why would Microsoft trumpet a new product that's only rumored to be available in October?
One reason: To plug Windows 8, the coming upgrade to its operating system, which could be losing steam as more consumers turn away from computers to tablets.
"It wanted to show other manufacturers what could be done with tablets, and to get them on board," says Al Hilwa, an analyst with IDC.
By Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY