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Microsoft’s slow creep back into mobile

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This post was also published on TechCrunch.Despite an early lead with Windows Mobile and Windows CE — and spending billions on Nokia’s mobile business — Microsoft has been on its heels in the mobile device market since the one-two punch of iPhone and Android launching in 2007.Over the past five years, Microsoft has staked out a strong position in the pro tablet segment with its Surface Pro. Microsoft is aggressively expanding its Surface line into the notebook and desktop segments. The upcoming introduction of x86-compatible ARM chips and the rise of progressive web apps could drive a return to the mobile market for Microsoft.Microsoft’s foothold in the pro tablet marketBack in 2012, Microsoft entered the tablet market in full force. While the ARM-based Surface RT failed spectacularly in the tablet market due to lack of apps, Microsoft invented a new category of pro tablets that were as powerful as laptops. Microsoft has had a very straightforward play with its pro tablets: set the ex…