Ballmer: “Surface Is Just a Design Point”

Published on July 10, 2012
by John Paczkowski

By designing and building the Surface tablet itself, Microsoft is not blowing off its longtime PC manufacturing partners. And PC makers shouldn’t take it that way. Surface is a reference design meant to show them what’s possible. A reference design against which they’ll compete, but a reference design, nonetheless.

During the opening day keynote at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference, CEO Steve Ballmer reassured PC manufacturers that, while the company is here to stay in the hardware business, it’s not out to supplant them.

“Surface is just a design point,” Ballmer said. “It will have a distinct place in what’s a broad Windows ecosystem. And the importance of the thousands of partners that we have that design and produce Windows computers will not diminish. We have a mutual goal with our OEM partners to bring a diversity of solutions, Windows PCs, phones, tablets, servers to market. And what we seek to have is a spectrum of stunning devices, stunning Windows devices. So, every consumer, every business customer can say, ‘I have the perfect PC for me.’ … We’re excited about the work our OEM partners are doing on Windows 8.”

In other words, Microsoft’s partners have a good opportunity to sell Windows 8 hardware, even as Microsoft introduces Surface; they’ve just got to come up with some “stunning devices” to take good advantage of it.

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