Microsoft unveiled Surface after seeing partners' designs, says analyst

Surface saga continues: PC guys are mad at Microsoft for another reason: not only because Microsoft is now competing against them.

Microsoft Surface.
Microsoft Surface. Microsoft

How many ways can Microsoft tick off its partners in the wake of the Surface tablet announcement? Well, here's another.

At issue is Microsoft's access to PC makers' designs, said Patrick Moorhead, president of Moor Insights & Strategy and formerly an executive at Advanced Micro Devices.

"Microsoft looked at what the [PC makers] were doing, seeing if it could meet their Windows 8 needs and then took action based on that," he said in a phone interview, citing conversations with -- and the sentiment of -- senior level executives at top-tier PC makers.

Moorhead continued. "If Microsoft had seen compelling enough plans from [PC makers], they wouldn't have needed to do this," referring to the Surface launch.

The problem, of course, is that Microsoft received that confidential information about partners' products before announcing that it would, in essence, compete against those very same companies.

Information that could potentially be used to Microsoft's advantage.

Hardware partners include companies like Acer, Asus, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Toshiba, and Sony.

Moorhead also addressed this in a blog today. "Privately, PC OEMs are enraged about Surface and not necessarily why you may think," he wrote.

Moorhead continued. "Apparently, a few weeks ago...Microsoft held executive-level reviews with Windows 8 tablet OEMs to get even further details on OEM launch and marketing plans and pricing."

Then a few weeks after those meetings, Surface was launched, the first time for Microsoft to bring out a PC device in its roughly 40-year history.

A Microsoft spokeswoman declined to comment.

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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