|By Maureen O'Gara||
|June 25, 2012 07:45 AM EDT||
Surface has reportedly made Microsoft OEMs edgy about competing with their usual ally, especially since Microsoft designs are more like Ultrabooks than rival tablets are.
Acer founder Stan Shih thinks Microsoft is using its branded tablets to prod its followers into making their own Windows 8 tablets. And once they do, it will withdraw its own, according to what he reportedly told DigiTimes.
Sort of like Google and the Nexus but perhaps also like Google and Motorola Mobility.
Selling its own hardware would be less profitable to Microsoft than licensing its software, Shih said, and anyway it will have difficulties with marketing, production management, distribution and after-sales maintenance services.
It's true nobody knows where the Surface components are coming from.
Microsoft, however, may figure it can bring laser-like focus to the game against Android and Apple - at least on the design side. At the unveiling the other day Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer tore a page out of Steve Jobs' book when he said, "We believe that any intersection between human and machine can be made better when all aspects of the experience - hardware and software - are considered and working together."
On the other hand, Microsoft said the widgets will only be sold in its retail stores and on its web site. It didn't say a word about licensing the design. Apple didn't do badly going that route to start. It's got more retail stores and retail partners like Best Buy and the carriers now.
There are also reports Microsoft wants to make its own phones so we could be witnessing a new strategy here.