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Lenovo says it's not scared of Surface, will beat Microsoft

PC maker Lenovo says it's not intimidated by Microsoft's own-brand tablet and reckons it can make better hardware.

PC maker Lenovo has said it's not scared of Microsoft's Surface tablet, and reckons it'll be able to build hardware that outstrips the software giant's in-house efforts.

Speaking on an earnings call, Lenovo head honcho Yang Yuanqing said "although we don't like Microsoft providing hardware, for us, it just adds one more competitor", CNET reports.

Speaking in response to an analyst's query, Yuanqing went on to assert, "we are still confident that we are providing much better hardware than our competitors including Microsoft".

Lenovo's reportedly building a Windows RT version of its folding Yoga tablet that would directly compete with the kickstand-sporting Surface.

Yuanqing's words make Lenovo another PC maker to speak out about the Surface, which will put Microsoft in direct competition with its own partners once Windows 8 launches later this year.

Acer's boss recently said he had urged Microsoft to "think twice" about its own-brand tablet, warning the introduction of such a nefarious gadget could have a negative impact on the industry.

Speaking on behalf of Lenovo, Yuanqing said Microsoft is "strong in software, but [we] don't believe they can provide the best hardware in the world".

"Lenovo can," he added, going on to comment that "Microsoft is still our strategy partner".

The Lenovo boss was speaking on an earnings call, so a bit of bluster is to be expected. The company also reported strong sales, so it perhaps has the right to speak confidently. Nevertheless, it's clear that Microsoft's decision to make its own hardware has created unrest among its PC partners, who will have been plotting Windows RT tablets of their own.

I can't fault Microsoft's decision though. Looking at Android's example, Google's choice to build an own-brand tablet led to the excellent (and dirt cheap) Nexus 7, which succeeds where manufacturers like Samsung, LG, Acer and Motorola have struggled for years.

Other Windows partners may not like it, but Microsoft wading into the fray could be a big plus for ordinary shoppers. As well as getting one more tablet to choose from, more competition generally means lower prices across the board.

I'll be interested to learn how much the Surface costs. Recent (and highly) optimistic rumours point to it costing as little as the Nexus 7, but we won't know for sure until Microsoft pipes up with some official pricing.

In the meantime, let me know whether you think Lenovo can really beat Microsoft in the comments or on our Facebook wall.