Microsoft claims Surface tablet is "just a design point"

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is attempting to reassure jittery vendors that Redmond’s recently unveiled Windows 8 Surface tablet is simply a “design point” – rather than a competing device.

Ballmer’s remarks were made in the wake of reports that PC vendors – including Hewlett Packard (HP) – were up in arms over Redmond’s recent decision to enter the lucrative tablet market with its indigenously designed Surface devices.

“It will have a distinct place in what’s a broad Windows ecosystem,” Ballmer told attendees at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference. 
”And the importance of the thousands of partners that we have that design and produce Windows computers will not diminish.”

Ballmer also emphasized that Redmond has “a mutual goal” with its OEM partners to bring a diversity of solutions, Windows PCs, phones, tablets, servers to market.

“What we seek to have is a spectrum of stunning devices, stunning Windows devices… So, every consumer, every business customer can say, ‘I have the perfect PC for me.’ We’re excited about the work our OEM partners are doing on Windows 8,” he added.

It remains unclear if Ballmer’s above-mentioned remarks will assuage vendor  concerns. Indeed, Acer founder Stan Shih recently weighed in on the controversy, opining that Microsoft should stick to coding software instead of attempting to break into the tablet space.

“I think Microsoft’s getting involved in the hardware business is designed to promote its Win8 [operating system],” Shih said over the July 4th weekend.

“But I sincerely recommend they withdraw from the hardware market when they get what they want.”

According to Shih, Redmond’s Surface tablet will compete with devices introduced by various hardware manufacturers – which are also Microsoft’s business partners.  

“I think they will [ultimately] consider and decide the best solution for themselves,” he said.