Microsoft announced last month that Dell and HP would soon be selling its Surface line of tablets. Redmond asked another big PC seller if it wanted in on this action, but that response was less positive.
Reported by The Register, Microsoft approached Lenovo more than a year ago to see if the world’s biggest PC seller wanted to sell Surface hardware. Lenovo president and COO Gianfranco Lanci said, “No I don’t see any reason why I should sell a product from within brackets, competition.”
Microsoft’s relationship with OEMs is undoubtedly more complex today than it was before the Surface line launched. What was once a software company that partnered with hardware firms is now also a hardware company that competes with them. Acer in particular was critical of Microsoft’s decision to launch the Surface, and the launch of the laptop-like Surface Book hasn’t helped matters. Asked about the Surface Book last week, Acer Chairman Jonney Shih said that the company was going to have to have a “serious talk” about Microsoft’s further encroachment into the hardware business.