Lost in the fracus about Microsoft and its relationship with its partners is the new partner relationships that invariably are going to emerge. Microsoft has always been a partner focused company and will always be. But the partners do change quite a bit. Some people think that the partner ecosystem has a churn rate of as much as 30% per year.
Long time partners of Microsoft including HP and Acer have been quoted recently saying that were mystified about the move by Microsoft to develop the Surface and not consult them first. Many have predicted, including me, that partners will ultimately produce most of the Surface devices. The partners just may not be the ones that we think.
Apple did not start cold with the iPad. First came the iPhone and more importantly, the iPod Touch. In fact, according to the account in Isaacson's book, the iPad idea came before the iPod Touch and the work done on the iPod Touch was necessary to prove that the iPad idea was even viable, and of course to ensure that the product was insanely great.
Microsoft's OEMs might be frustrated with Microsoft's moves on the Surface, but they really should be looking at Samsung and HTC and maybe even Nokia. They are the ones with the expertise to build a Windows 8 tablet that could compete with the iPad.
PC Mag reported this week that Samsung may be working on its own operating system just in case it needs it to compete with Microsoft and Google in the tablet market. That is crazy talk.