HP was one of the few that applauded Microsoft for taking initiative and building their own Windows 8 tablet in 2012. Executive John Solomon said he believed Redmond was making a leadership statement by showing what is possible in the tablet space. But now just a little over a year later, that's all changed as the two companies are transitioning from partners to outright competitors according to CEO Meg Whitman.

During HP's recent annual financial meeting, Whitman said Wintel-based devices (Windows / Intel) are being displaced by ARM-based PCs and mobile devices. PC sales continue to slide while mobile devices like tablets are on the rise, she noted.

To that end, HP has been working more with partners like Google to produce Chromebooks. The most recent effort was unveiled just a couple of days ago - the Pixel-inspired Chromebook 11 powered by Samsung's dual-core Exynos processor.

It's all a bit ironic as HP may have been directly responsible for Microsoft building Surface hardware in the first place. Last year, the New York Times ran a story that claimed Microsoft was unhappy with HP using inferior parts in their failed Slate 500 tablet. Executives reportedly found the tablet was thick and the Intel processor made it run hot. What's more, the software and touch screen didn't work well together. The rest, as they say, is history as Microsoft's second generation tablet is scheduled to launch on October 22.

A host of manufacturers voiced their concern about Surface before its launch. For example, Acer said they were given little warning of Microsoft's intentions and believed launching it would have a negative impact on the worldwide computer ecosystem.