Out of nowhere, Microsoft had an announcement to make. Nothing concrete leaked ahead of the event except that it would be tablet-related. Everybody was skeptical, myself included.

The presentation began and it seemed like more of the same. Don't call it a tablet -- it's the new "Surface"… boring. It's thin, but not much more than existing tablets. It has a kickstand... umm ok. A magnetic cover -- yeah, we’ve seen that somewhere before. Oh, and it doubles as a super-thin keyboard. Wait, what?

That's how the announcement went. Microsoft nailed it. The company used secrecy to build hype, a favorite tactic of Apple, and ultimately managed to surprise most onlookers. At least on paper, Surface tablets seem great. Here are some deeper thoughts on what Microsoft has done right so far and the challenges ahead.

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