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Microsoft Corporation (MSFT)’s Final Mistake? Intel Corporation (INTC), Dell Inc. (DELL)

The first wave of hands-on reviews for Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)‘s new Surface with Windows 8 Pro is coming in.

It hasn’t been very flattering.

Tech reviewers seem to have mixed feelings about Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s second shot at standing out in the crowded tablet space. Yes, Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC)‘s Core i5 processor gives the device great processing power as it takes on traditional Windows applications. It also boots up surprisingly fast.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)However, the negatives appear to be outweighing the positives given the tablet’s stiff price tag that starts at $899 and quickly dives into four digits if buyers want the keyboard cover or enough storage capacity to make the device useful.

Tracking down a charging station
Surface Pro has a problem. It’s a tweener. It’s bulkier than most stand-alone laptops. Its battery life is clocking in at less than four hours for a couple of reviewers. For those scoring at home, that’s less than half as long as Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)‘s market-defining iPad can hold up between charges.

It’s also priced nearly twice as high as the entry-level iPad.

The bullish counter here would be that folks will be buying the Surface Pro when it hits the market on Saturday because it can be both a tablet and a slick ultrabook.

Yes, there’s a market for that. However, reviews claim that Windows 8 Pro software and recovery tools take up between 30 gigabytes to more than 40 gigabytes of the tablet’s capacity. Folks paying $899 for the 64 GB model will be in for a rude awakening when they see that they only have half of that storage capacity available to them. Unlike the iPad’s rigid platform, the Surface Pro can be expanded through a memory card slot, but all that does is bump the already high costs of ownership even higher.

Friendly fire
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is already treading on dangerous turf here. Surface is competing with hardware partners. Companies are shelling out for costly Windows operating system licenses for their tablets — knowing that open-source Android would cost them far less — and now Microsoft is a threat to that market share sliver.

The relationship status is getting more than merely complicated now.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s move to offer up $2 billion in Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL)‘s privatization efforts this week open up a new can of worms. How will other PC manufacturers feel about supporting Windows at a time when computer sales are already tanking and the software giant is playing favorites?