According to news from Bloomberg today, Microsoft won't release its iPad tablet competitor until fall 2012. This is according to "people with knowledge of the plans," the report says, so take that as you will. But assuming it's accurate (which would fit into Microsoft's typical MO of entering a market late, then attempting to dominate it by throwing millions of dollars at the problem), one wonders: can Microsoft ever hope to succeed in tablets now?

That's not as simple a question as you might think. Of course the iPad has momentum, and is the market leader. Google's Android platform is in second place. This will likely remained unchanged for many months, if not years. That puts Microsoft in the position of fighting for the number three spot against its own disenchanted partner HP plus RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook - and, who knows? - by 2012, there may be others still attempting to enter this space.  But can Microsoft ever make a comeback? Or is it too late to ever have a chance in this market? Give us your feedback in this week's ReadWriteMobile poll!

A gut reaction to reading this news, from many folks: Microsoft is way too late to the game. By 2012, Apple and Google will have had time to "strengthen their hold on the market," says Bloomberg. The article also quotes analyst Michael Gartenberg as saying, "if 2011 is the year of the tablet wars, Microsoft will be awfully late suiting up for that battle."

My personal opinion? I'll it leave out of this post, because the weekly poll is about YOU, ReadWriteMobile readers, not ME.

I'll just present the counterargument for your consideration.

Harry McCracken of Technologizer probably argues it best in his post today, "No Windows Tablets Until Late 2012? That Could be Disastrous. Or a Pretty Good Idea." Referring to Microsoft's delays which will position its first-generation Windows 8 tablet against 3rd-gen iPads and devices from RIM, HP and others, he says, "it sounds like a recipe for futility."

But then he argues:

"But I’m not sure whether it’s any more dicey a proposition than the one other Apple rivals are pursuing, which is to get into the race sooner rather than later. It’s now eleven months since the iPad shipped, and the products arriving to compete with it still feel a bit like they’re still pulling on their running shorts as they enter the race....The first round of iPad challengers are dealing with a major gotcha: Apple, too, is running as fast as it can. Now that the company has revealed the iPad 2, we know what it’s been focusing on: making the tablet thinner, lighter, and slicker, so it feels less like a computer and more like the “magical” device it’s been talking about all along. End result: RIM’s PlayBook and HP’s TouchPad, which looked a little less polished than the iPad from an industrial-design standpoint, have fallen further behind before they’ve even shipped.

Microsoft could hastily knocking out something that looks like it was hastily knocked out. Or it could bide its time, building a version of Windows for tablets that’s ambitious and impressive from the get go. At this point, the latter strategy seems at least as reasonable as the first one."

Does that counterargument change your opinion? Or do you so wildly disagree that you have to head to the comments and shout about how wrong it is? Either way, we're betting you feel strongly about this one. So let us know in the poll below: too little, too late? Or just in time for a major disruption?