When Microsoft came out with their Surface tablets, one of the things that the company went out of their way to point out was that this new device was in no way going to impact their relationships with PC hardware manufacturers.
Essentially, the Surface tablet was meant to be a reference design, one that was to provide guidance during the design process. In fact, Steve Ballmer at the Worldwide Partner Conference went out of his way to reinforce this point by saying that the “Surface is just a design point”. Well, it would seem that Microsoft is now changing their public tune on this topic and have gone on the record to confirm that their development of a tablet may in fact affect relationships with PC makers.
This change came to light during Redmond’s annual report during the Risk Factors presentation when they quite clearly stated that their Surface tablet will in fact be a competitor to other tablets developed by OEM partners and as such, it may impact these partners commitment to Microsoft. For a few weeks now, Microsoft has been going around in circles, trying to avoid coming out with a blunt statement such as this, but we know now that internally, the company does recognize that there are risks in their choice to proceed with a tablet design of their own.