Likely insulting hardware partners -- and perhaps jeopardizing future relationships -- Microsoft reportedly kept them in the dark about its competing tablet computer, Surface. In fact, some long-time collaborators learned of the new gadget only days before its unveiling, earlier this week, sources tell Reuters.
The sneaky move marks a departure from Microsoft's tradition of working closely with hardware companies to test and fine-tune every new product, according to Reuters. “It also underscores how Microsoft is starting to take pages from Apple Inc's playbook, keeping its cards close to the vest as it works to reinvent its Windows franchise and jump into the hardware business.” Say sources, the earliest that Microsoft's personal computing partners were told about Surface was last Friday -- just three days before it was shown to the media at an event in Los Angeles.
Windows chief Steven Sinofsky reportedly made a round of telephone calls, but gave only the barest details on Friday. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told reporters the company had informed its largest hardware-manufacturing partners about the tablet.