Microsoft to feel Surface heat from PC makers

If one of the Microsoft's goals was to light a fire under the PC industry, mission accomplished, said one source.

Surface will spur PC makers to compete against the Microsoft design.
Surface will spur PC makers to compete against the Microsoft design. Josh Lowensohn/CNET

Microsoft's Surface tablet has got PC makers hopping mad. So, they're going to do something about it.

"[PC makers] are pissed off and they are looking for strategies now to not only counter the iPad but counter Surface," said a source at a large company that's part of the ecosystem -- the component suppliers and device manufacturers -- that does business with PC makers.

Separately, Roger Kay, principal analyst at EndPoint Technologies, told CNET last week that there was no shortage of "teeth gnashing" among PC executives and managers in response to the Surface launch.

Microsoft announced the Windows 8-based Surface tablet -- the first Microsoft-branded PC device in the company's roughly 40 year history -- last week to a generally favorable reception.

Surface marries a physical keyboard and trackpad with a tablet in a way that preserves the light weight and portability of a tablet.

And, in this sense, Surface is having a positive effect, said the source, spurring PC makers to innovate even more to counter Microsoft.

Of course, it's too early to know how PC makers' ire will manifest itself in new products but there is a sentiment emerging to "compete and differentiate" with Microsoft, the source said.

Microsoft, some say, was left with little choice but to throw down the gauntlet to PC companies.

"If Microsoft had seen compelling enough plans from [PC makers], they wouldn't have needed to do this," Patrick Moorhead, president of Moor Insights & Strategy, told CNET earlier in the week, referring to the Surface launch.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.


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