With just a few hours away for the launch of Surface tablet, Microsoft's Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer has confirmed his desire to build more devices.
"Is it fair to say we're going to do more hardware? Obviously we are. We did our first piece of non-Xbox hardware when we launch the Surface. Where we see important opportunities to set a new standard, yeah we'll dive in," Ballmer told BBC.
Earlier, though the Redmond-based devices and services company had confined its hardware production to Xbox gaming consoles and Kinect gesture sensors, now it appears to be planning the launch of a host of devices. This announcement gains credence as the company is seen gradually distancing itself from traditional handset partner Nokia as it eyes partnership with rival firm HTC.
Though Ballmer has not made any statement about the Surface phone, when queried about the device he quipped: "We have committed ourselves on a path where we will do whatever is required from both a hardware and a software perspective -- and the cloud innovation perspective -- in order to propel the kind of vision that [Microsoft] has."
While some partners expressed their discontent over the hardware aspirations of the Redmond giant, a few appeared to be nonchalant. Previously Acer's Chief Executive Office JT Wang warned Microsoft to "think twice" when Microsoft first unveiled the Surface tablet in June.
"If Microsoft is going to do hardware business, what should we do? Should we still rely on Microsoft, or should we find other alternatives?" Wang fumed.
But other PC makers including Dell that had moved from the tablet market for a brief period re-entered the market in 2012 in the run up to the launch of Windows 8.
Lenovo too appeared unconcerned by the Surface stating that it will make "better hardware," CNET has observed.
Lenovo chief executive Yang Yuanqing told CNET during the firm's first quarter earnings call: "To be frank, we're not that worried about [Surface]. Microsoft is still our strategy partner. We are very optimistic on the Windows 8 launch so we will fully leverage that to launch our new products."