Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is jumping into the closed-ecosystem world of Apple, Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) by entering the tablet market with its new Surface tablet with the new Windows 8 operating system. So with Microsoft looking to make its own mark in the tablet market, what will happen to the company’s hardware partners, who have been so loyal in installing Windows operating systems into their laptops, desktops and notebooks?
Well, as one of those partners say, there seem to be some feelings hurt. J.T. Wang, CEO of Acer Incorporated, one of the prominent hardware partners for Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), decided recently to fire a shot over the bow of Microsoft when he commented, “We have said [to Microsoft] think it over,” he told the Financial Times. “Think twice. It will create a huge negative impact for the ecosystem and other brands may take a negative reaction. It is not something you are good at so please think twice.”
That does lead to the question – if Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is producing its own hardware-software ecosystem to direct compete with Apple, Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), then what does happen to the hardware partners of Microsoft? Will Microsoft continue to use them, expandig their Widows 8 universe beyond the limits of what Microsoft can manufacture in its own tablet, or will those companies have to look for other options? There is no definitive word on that – and that could be due to the fact that Microsoft hasn’t introduced its retail price for its tablet. The company has only said it would be “priced competitively.” Whether the price will be competitive with other name brands – like Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL), Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) or even Apple, Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) – or similarly to “value” brands like Acer or ASUS, remains to be seen.
In the meantime, Microsoft’s partners are looking into other options – which are generally unproven in tablets and laptops – like Linux or Google, Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) Chrome operating system, which hasn’t quite caught on as the scaled-up version of the Android OS for smartphones. Maybe inadvertently, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) could be setting up a whole new competition for an effective operating system – maybe it will encourages the evolution of Google Chrome or Linux and viable medium-scale (and perhaps cheaper?) alternatives to the iOS or Windows systems.
In the meantime, there is a question whether Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) will still have these partners if the Surface tablet fails in the market. Who would be willing to install Windows 9?