When Microsoft first announced the Surface series of tablets back in 2012, safe to say they took many by surprise. After all Microsoft has been thought of more as a software company these days, what with Windows 8 and Windows Phone, so it was quite a shock by many that Microsoft would launch their own hardware, at least as far as the mobile scene was concerned. Naturally many were wondering how this might affect Microsoft’s OEM partners, and instead of viewing the Surface tablet as a threat to their relationship with their OEMs, Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer believes that the tablet acts more as a supplement, rather than a competing product.
Speaking to Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet, Ballmer stated that the reason behind the Surface’s launch was to combat the likes of Apple in the hardware market, where he was also quoted as saying, “And our OEMs do great work, but there are places their brands and investments don’t travel. And so we wanted to supplement the work of our OEMs, hopefully make our OEMs stronger through the process, by making our overall competition with Apple.” At least one OEM partner was not too pleased about the Surface, although given how the Surface has been doing, on hindsight we guess they needn’t have been too worried.