PC vendors are not especially excited that Microsoft will be building its own tablet. We have known that for some time, but the tone that is used to criticize Microsoft is getting more serious and may be surprising.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Acer's CEO JT Wang gave us a taste what is going on behind the scenes between PC makers and the Windows company, something we usually can only speculate about:
"We have said [to Microsoft] think it over. Think twice. It will create a huge negative impact for the ecosystem and other brands may take a negative reaction. It is not something you are good at so please think twice."
There are several subtle messages that are buried in this statement. The translation: "Surface is killing our business. You have had your fun, but it's time to tell everyone that it was just an idea that will never see the light of the day."
Of course, Wang's note carries some of the fear that Surface could be turning into a success and become the iPad of the Windows world, leaving even fewer crumbs of a market that is being cleaned up by Apple. Even if his complaint sounds a bit like whining over a product that was really the PC industry's opportunity to lose, the justification for Wang's concern is that Microsoft has a big advantage - it can deal with Windows OEM licensing cost, even if unfair practices would most likely land the company in an antitrust case.
As silly as Wang's complaint may sound, and as much as PC makers have missed the chance to build a compelling tablet so far, the executive has every reason to send a careful warning shot in across Microsoft's bow. Microsoft's business is built on a large ecosystem that works in perfect harmony. Microsoft cannot afford any disruption, especially ahead of the critical launch of Windows 8.