On a wonderfully bright Monday afternoon in Hollywood, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive officer, appeared at an art and film studio to deliver what looks like Microsoft’s finest, most controversial product in ages. In fact, it’s a family of products—a line of “Surface” tablet computers aimed at both consumers and workers.
As it does with the Xbox, Microsoft has opted to make the Surface tablets—both hardware and software—on its own. This stands as a huge affront to Microsoft’s longtime PC partners. Making matters worse, the Surface products look far better than anything else the PC makers have shown to date on the tablet front. Even Apple has been put on notice, if the hoots and hollers from the event were any indication.