What does the head of HP's PC business, Todd Bradley, think about Microsoft's first PC?
So not impressed.
He had some pretty sharp things to say about the Surface to Citeworld's Matt Rosoff, insisting that the press has "made a bigger deal out of Surface" than it deserves.
"I'd hardly call Surface competition," Bradley told Rosoff. "One, very limited distribution. It tends to be slow and a little kludgy as you use it .... It's expensive."
Historically, Microsoft has not made its own PC hardware, working instead with partners like Dell and HP which license its Windows operating system. So the Surface's mere existence is controversial in the industry.
Obviously, Microsoft sees it otherwise. CEO Steve Ballmer called the Surface an example of a "best-of-all worlds" device that gives Microsoft an "innovation opportunity" with the "seam between hardware and software," he said to interviewer Reid Hoffman, the LinkedIn cofounder and venture capitalist, at a Churchill Club event Wednesday night.
Ballmer also said that there are about 400 million Windows PCs sold worldwide each year and most of them will continue to be sold by Microsoft's partners.
In other words, Microsoft wants to act like Microsoft and have its partners build PCs. And it wants to act ike Apple and offer a device that works better with Microsoft's cloud and other Windows devices, like smartphones.
As to how Ballmer plans to balance the two competing goals?
"Carefully," he said on Wednesday. That means being upfront with partners and giving them all the same software that the Surface team gets, he explained.
But clearly the trash talk from at least one of Microsoft's big partners about the Surface PC has begun.
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