Microsoft knew it would be stepping on the toes of its partners when it announced plans to make the Surface tablet computer — competing with Windows 8 tablets from the major PC makers. And now we have some public evidence of one of those partners feeling bruised.
In an interview with the Financial Times, the chairman and CEO of Acer, JT Wang, warns that the move will be a “negative for the worldwide ecosystem” of computing. He says Acer has told Microsoft to think twice about what it’s doing.
“It will create a huge negative impact for the ecosystem and other brands may take a negative reaction,” the paper quotes him as saying. “It is not something you are good at so please think twice.”
Microsoft acknowledged in a recent regulatory filing that its Surface tablet lineup “will compete with products made by our OEM partners, which may affect their commitment to our platform.” The company, which will start by selling Surface solely in its own retail and online stores, has said it wants to create a showcase device for Windows 8 as the operating system hits the market.
Surface is part of a broader effort by Microsoft to compete with the iPad and Android tablets. The company has never before developed its own full-fledged computer. It’s widely viewed as a case of Microsoft taking matters into its own hands after Windows tablets from its partners haven’t caught on.
The big question is what the PC makers would do if they decided to pare back or abandon Windows in their lineups. Android? Ubuntu Linux? It’s a difficult situation for them given the widespread usage of Windows, especially inside companies.
We’ve asked Microsoft for comment on Wang’s remarks, and we’ll update this post depending on what we hear back.