Remember when Microsoft surprised the tech world with the announcement that it would release its own tablet? It was such a surprise that original equipment manufacturers (OEM) around the world gave a unifying, “What the…?” Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer even went so far as to tell attendees at the Worldwide Partner Conference that the Surface was little more than a “design point.”
He was basically saying that the Surface was just a sample of what the rest of the Windows-based tablet world should get their design ideas from.
Today, Reuters is reporting that Ballmer spoke at a tech industry event in Santa Clara, CA recently, where he told attendees that Microsoft is just scratching the surface (excuse the pun) of what will be a hardware manufacturing future for the software company.
Ballmer told attendees he expects that the company’s OEM partners will build “the lion’s share” of Windows devices over the next five years, but that Microsoft would be doing a disservice not to explore hardware manufacturing.
“It is absolutely clear that there is an innovation opportunity on the scene between hardware and software and that is a scene that must not go unexploited at all by Microsoft,” he said.
According to Reuters, Microsoft is moving toward becoming a “devices and services” company that would develop its own hardware in certain instances. There is even a rumor that Microsoft is looking into creating its own mobile phone. However the software giant has not confirmed anything.
Microsoft will have to tread lightly into its new hardware endeavor. Producing tablets, PCs, and phones puts the company into directly competition with some of its biggest partners, like HP, Acer and Lenovo, who all use Windows software in their devices.