Report: Microsoft Kept Surface a Secret from Partners

When rumors of a Microsoft tablet first started doing the rounds, one of the bigger arguments against the idea was that Microsoft was a software company with a healthy pool of hardware partners. How could it snub its partners by coming out with its own hardware? As you might have noticed, Microsoft did just that -- the company announced two Windows 8 tablets earlier this week, one based on Intel technology and another based on ARM and running Windows RT.

In the aftermath of Microsoft's announcement, talk has turned to how Microsoft broke the news to partners that it was working on its own device. According to some reports, Redmond didn't actually tell its partners until the tablet was finished and ready to be unveiled. Reuters is reporting that Microsoft kept its hardware partners in the dark until as late as Friday, just a couple of days prior to its mystery event in LA. The news outlet cites people with knowledge of the matter that say Microsoft's Steven Sinofsky made a round of telephone calls to partners on Friday afternoon but didn't give away much. Reuters' source says Sinofsky didn't reveal specs or the name, giving partners only the barest of details.

The fact that Microsoft has decided to take things into its own hands when it comes to tablets speaks volumes about the company's ambitions for Windows 8 in the tablet sector. Redmond is obviously eager to see the Windows 8 tablet done right and the Surface could be seen as Microsoft's attempt to lead by example.

Numerous companies have plans for ultrabooks or convertible devices based on Windows 8. These devices will be released towards the end of the year, when Windows 8 is released and around the same time as Microsoft's own Surface devices.

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  • ethanolson
    Microsoft was showing that hardware makers like Dell don't know how to design awesome stuff as well as they do. That's a sad bit of news to break, but it had to be heard. Microsoft, you're awesome and I applaud your bold effort. I'm totally buying one of each of these! I hope you sell a hundred million of these things.
    15
  • vic20
    "The fact that Microsoft has decided to take things into its own hands when it comes to tablets speaks volumes about the company's ambitions "

    No. It speaks volumes as to how its hardware partners have been dropping the ball since the release of the iPad.

    There. Fixed that for you.
    12
  • Other Comments
  • vic20
    "The fact that Microsoft has decided to take things into its own hands when it comes to tablets speaks volumes about the company's ambitions "

    No. It speaks volumes as to how its hardware partners have been dropping the ball since the release of the iPad.

    There. Fixed that for you.
    12
  • soo-nah-mee
    Unless the price of Ultrabooks come down quite a bit, I'm not sure how they can compete with the x86 version of the Surface. It looks like the x86 Surface is everything an Ultrabook is with the addition of a touchscreen and the ability to use it as an "undocked" slate. Intel is probably okay with that since the Surface is supposed to have an i5, but I imagine the Ultrabook manufacturers are going to be a bit screwed.
    1
  • back_by_demand
    Good on Microsoft, vendors have done a piss-poor job of producing quality alternative, so far all we have after 3 versions of iPad is a competition based on a slew of identical Android tablets made of cheap plastic
    ...
    Remember the old saying "if you want something doing properly, do it yourself"
    7