Lucy van Pelt has nothing on Steve Ballmer.
After assuring the tech press that Microsoft would not let a single market be left without one of their embarrassing consumer electronic offerings, Stevo took his football on stage at Microsoft’s
Battered Spouse Support Group Worldwide Partner Conference to tell his OEMs that the tablet Microsoft designed and commissioned to compete against them was not that big of a deal (tip of the hat to reader @brianmmonroe).
Surface is just a design point. It will have a distinct place in what’s a broad Windows ecosystem. And the importance of the thousands of partners that we have that design and produce Windows computers will not diminish.
This is what OEMs should have heard:
Despite our having thousands of partners, when we chose to (finally) enter the market that many are saying is the future of computing, we couldn’t trust one of you to design something yourselves that wasn’t a total shitpile with all the corners cut. By pulling the Surface’s manufacturing under Microsoft’s umbrella in an attempt to copy everything Apple does, we are competing directly against you. But since we still need you to carry out our Windows 8 schizophrenic deathwish of an OS, we need to tell you some bullshit fairy tale while we’re fucking you with a bone saw. Not only did we not think enough of you to tell you what we were doing, once it’s launched, the Surface will enjoy an unprecedented level of support (since we made it), will be the darling of Microsoft’s tablet marketing push and will be featured in all our retail stores.
But really: what other choice do you have? Ubuntu? (maniacal laughter)
I imagine they had to haul the monkey out of his cage to say something, but that doesn’t make his actually mouthing the words any less hilarious. Using the term “reference design”, maybe Fester meant “reference device”, something that Google uses to push its molestation-free stock Android experience with devices like the Galaxy Nexus. The difference obviously being that Google gives Android away for free, while Microsoft makes OEMs pay for the privilege of squealing like a pig. I wonder if Microsoft passed out Surface-branded donut pillows to soothe the thoroughly ravaged backsides of OEMs while they got their “pep talk”. I bet a lot of them still have their PlaysForSure pillows from the 2007 Partner Conference.