Microsoft Confesses: Surface Tablet Could Impact Partner Relationships
In the latest Microsoft report issued to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Microsoft actually opened up and admitted the obvious: that the Surface tablet may “weaken support for Windows among Microsoft’s partners in the PC industry, known as original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs for short.” That’s according to the New York Times, who also quotes Microsoft as saying that its Surface devices “will compete with products made by our OEM partners, which may affect their commitment to our platform.”
Those lines are just a couple in a document that is around 100 pages long, but it’s meaningful. Microsoft is being open about the fact that the very partners it relies on to sell Windows-based laptops and desktops will now be competing with Microsoft in the tablet race. It certainly won’t be comfortable, and you can bet that Microsoft will have a lot of explaining to do, and perhaps even some concessions to give to ensure steady relationships going forward.
Will it be the end to some of those OEM Windows-based laptops and desktops? Probably not, but you can bet some behind-closed-doors discussions will go down. Perhaps Microsoft will offer Windows licenses for less to partner companies that agree to compete gracefully on the tablet front. But what if one or two companies go renegade, drastically undercutting the Surface in terms of price? Fireworks galore, we’d imagine.