Well MS has launched the Surface running Windows RT and it is a pretty cool machine. There has been a bunch of noise about how Microsoft is sticking it to its partners by jumping into the hardware business. I think this is another case of the media inventing a fight because it is good for the media.
In two and a half years Apple has sold 100M iPads. In the same amount of time Microsoft has grown the Windows 7 user base to more than 600M -- just about all of those were sales of new machines. It is just about impossible for anyone to imagine the MS Surface outselling the iPad. It is not hard to imagine the Windows 8 user base to grow at 300M units per year.
In other words, there is plenty of room in the market for everybody. Microsoft's partners are going to sell hundreds of millions of Windows tablets in the years ahead.
Microsoft and its partners, that number in the hundreds of thousands, solve business problems for their customers. Armed with the Surface, Windows 8 RT, Windows 8, and every shape and size of hardware imagineable from a legion of capable hardware makers, these partners are going to have so much to offer their customers that it is going to take years for the market to absorb it all.
Next week we get the new Windows 8 Phone. Partners are going to embrace that new device too.