Is Surface a ploy?
Acer founder Stan Shih recently leveled quite an accusation at Microsoft. According to Shih, Microsoft has no intentions of getting into the hardware business with its Surface tablet. He says that Surface tablets are nothing more than a ploy to sell Windows 8. Shih points out several valid observations as reasons why he doesn't believe Microsoft will enter the hardware business.
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One of the observations is that the hardware realm has lower profit margins than Microsoft is used to from its software licensing model. Another valid observation is that Microsoft has no system for handling after sales support of hardware. I'm not sure what to think about this, I could see Microsoft farming out after sales support for sure. I don't think many would put it past Microsoft to use the threat of launching its own hardware to urge partners to build tablets of their own and license the software.