Ahead of E3 earlier this month rumors spread like wild fire about Microsoft’s SmartGlass – some claimed that the brand will turn out to be some sort of service that supplements the Xbox, while other sources said it could be a tablet. It turned out that SmartGlass is in fact an application, although this week we also learned that Microsoft did have something else up its sleeve after all.
A few days ago the software maker debuted Surface, a new tablet device that aims to compete with Apple’s iPad and comes in two different versions. Both run the upcoming Windows 8.
The move begs a number of questions, and most notable are the implications on the company and its ecosystem. First there’s the fact that Microsoft is a software vendor at its core, and pulling off a successful tablet story will require a momentous effort. More important though is Surface’s potential impact on the company’s ecosystem: it’s likely to raise more than few eyebrows.
According to spokespeople representing Dell and HP however, that is not the case. When Google acquired Motorola for $40 a share a lot of concern was expressed for similar reasons, but most of it came from the blogosphere and not actually from Android OEMs. It seems that it’s the same case for Microsoft.
While HP isn’t commenting on Surface “we will have a full range of Windows 8 machines,” HP spokesperson Marlene Shostack told Forbes.
Dell had little to say as well. “Microsoft is an important partner to Dell and we look forward to delivering a full slate of Windows 8 products – including tablets – later this year,” according to Matthew Hutchison, Dell’s director of global product PR.
So Microsoft probably won’t lose two of its biggest partners in the near future. But there’s still the matter of selling the Surface to the masses, and that will most likely prove to be quite a challenge.