It's becoming increasingly apparent that Microsoft's OEMs are irked by the software giant's decision to compete against them by introducing the Surface, a tablet computer that combines Microsoft's operating system and for the first time Microsoft-made PC hardware.
J.T. Wang, CEO of Acer, was quoted in the Financial Times newspaper as saying Microsoft should "think it over" before launching the Surface. "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."
Another Acer executive, Campbell Kan, president of personal computer global operations, went further in the Financial Times article: "If Microsoft â¦ is going to do [a] hardware business, what should we do? Should we still rely on Microsoft, or should we find other alternatives?"
As far as Microsoft rethinking Surface in the wake of Acer's complaints, that train has left the station. The Surface is going to go on sale Oct. 26 at Microsoft's own chain of stores and elsewhere.
But Acer's reaction isn't the only sign that OEMs are worried that Microsoft is going to be grabbing shelf space from them with its own tablet.
Hewlett-Packard didn't publicly blame Microsoft Surface for the decision, but a few weeks after the June 18 unveiling of Surface, it announced it was suspending a plan to launch an HP tablet running an ARM-based processor and instead said it would solely focus on launching an x86-based processor tablet. At the time, eWEEK also reported that Dell may follow HP in abandoning plans to market an ARM-based tablet. Dell has yet to reply to a request for comment for this story and its only public statements to date are that it plans to develop both ARM and x86 tablets.
Pricing of the Surface is going to be the determining factor as to whether or not Microsoft drinks the OEMs' milkshake in the tablet market. Rob Enderle, principal analyst with the research firm Enderle Group has said in the past that if the Surface comes in with a high price tag-and rumors put the price at $1,000 to $2,000-OEMs could come in below that and sell a more affordable tablet below $1,000.
As it is, Apple iPads start at $499 and even the most expensive one with a data plan and 64GB of memory tops out at $829. Meanwhile, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 with a 7-inch screen is priced at $249.99 and the model with a 10.1-inch screen sells for $399.99. As an aside, the Galaxy 10.1 can't be sold in the United States, pending the outcome of a patent suit brought by Apple against Samsung in U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif.