Reports indicate Microsoft didn’t give its long list of OEM partners much of a heads up before announcing its foray into full hardware production with the Surface tablet earlier this week. But even though this means the likes of Dell, Acer, Asus, HP and others will have to go into direct competition with Microsoft, perhaps they shouldn’t be too worried. At least according Acer co-founder Stan Shih, who claims the move is temporary, with Microsoft using a branded product to lead the way for other manufacturers before stepping back.
Speaking to Taipei-based Digitimes, the executive assured that Microsoft "has no real intention to sell own-brand tablet PCs" because it wouldn’t bring as much profit as simply licensing its software products. Shih claims the software giant is just looking to boost adoption of Windows 8 tablets and help expand market demand for the product line, but “once the purpose is realized Microsoft will not offer more models.”
We’re not sure if he has actual knowledge of Microsoft’s plans or if that’s just wishful thinking. Microsoft seems to have put a lot of effort into designing the Surface and went out of its way to keep it secret until the last minute to avoid upsetting their partners — why would this be an issue if they are pulling out eventually?
That said, it wouldn’t be a completely unheard of move in the industry. Google, for example, has done the same in the past with their Nexus family of smartphones and is expected to release a tablet soon. In their case however, they always partner with an OEM to design and produce the hardware.