HP, Acer, Samsung Angry Over Microsoft Tablet?

Dennis Faas's picture

While the prospect of Microsoft manufacturing its own tablet computer will bring about a number of firsts for the software giant, one in particular will present an unusual dilemma: this will be the first time Microsoft competes against its very own hardware partners.

Here's the issue: Microsoft will be trying to sell its Windows 8 operating system (OS) to hardware makers at the same time it will be trying to convince consumers to buy its Surface tablet computer, instead of PCs and slate devices made by those same hardware partners.

As shown in a recent product unveiling, Surface will come in two initial versions, both with screens measuring 10.6 inches diagonally.

One model will run on phone-style chips with limited computing power, while the second (more expensive) model will run on Intel chips and will be capable of running standard Windows 8 applications.

Partners Unhappy with Competition Prospect

Not surprisingly, many analysts believe Microsoft's hardware partners are unhappy with the prospect of competing against the giant company's Surface.

What started as a tablet computer war, intended to combat the still-increasing popularity of Apple's iPad, could very well lead to a falling out between Microsoft and the various hardware partners it is counting on to pre-install Windows 8 on tens of millions of their newest devices. (Source: fool.com)

Fortunately, Microsoft can look to see how others have dealt with this complex issue.

Google Keeps Partners "At Arm's Length"

Google, for example, currently finds itself in a similar situation.

The company makes the Android OS (which powers most of the iPad's competitors). But the search giant also owns Motorola Mobility, which makes Android tablets and phones.

As a result, Google now sells hardware that competes directly against its OS customers, like Samsung and HTC.

Google has managed to dodge several bullets by making clear that Motorola is a separate business. That's a viable business strategy, but Microsoft has yet to take a similar stand. (Source: telegraph.co.uk)

When approached about Microsoft's announcement of the Surface, Microsoft partners Hewlett-Packard Co., Acer and Samsung declined to comment. With major rifts thought to be almost a certainty now, many observers suggest that their silence speaks volumes.

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