Microsoft’s recent announcement that it would enter the PC hardware market with its own branded tablet was not well received by its longtime PC manufacturing partners. Most weren’t told of the company’s plans for Surface until the last minute, and on Monday they discovered like everyone else that Microsoft has developed internally the tablet it didn’t trust its partners to build. So it’s understandable that some might lash out at what appears to be not only a thrown-under-the-bus betrayal, but a competitive poke in the eye as well.
First out of the gate, Acer, which went on record today saying Surface will fail and damage Microsoft’s working relationship with its partners in the process.
“I don’t think it will be successful because you cannot be a hardware player with two products,” Oliver Ahrens, Acer’s senior VP and president for Europe, Middle East and Africa, told Reuters. “Microsoft is working with two dozen PC vendors worldwide, including the local guys, whereas Apple is alone, it can more or less do what it wants. Microsoft is a component of a PC system. A very important component but still a component.”
To suddenly strike out on its own like this at a time when Windows 8 is in the offing is a strategic misstep, said Ahrens. Microsoft is effectively stepping in front of its own customers and disrupting the hardware ecosystem at the time of a pivotal OS launch.
“Instead of enhancing the user experience for Win 8 … they open a new battlefield,” Ahrens said. “I worry that this will lead into a defocus internally for Microsoft, and then we have to suffer because we are working with their products.”