As Microsoft takes on well-entrenched leader Apple in the tablets market with the launch of Surface, Windows 8 tablet, an inopportune knife appears directed at its long time hardware partner, Nokia, as the Finnish mobile maker also plans to launch a Windows 8 tablet.

Nokia's tablet has to contend with long time partner Microsoft's very own Surface. The Finnish mobile maker, which is bogged by sagging fortunes, is in dire need of a success story with either Windows 8 OS or Windows Phone 8 mobile OS to buck the trend, The Verge has reported.

Prior to the unveiling of Surface, Windows 8 excitement relied more on companies that were well-equipped to build the hardware for the OS. Nokia was touted as a legitimate competitor to Apple's iPad. Though Asus, Acer, and Lenovo could also attack competition, the closest rival that could take on the Cupertino technology company was tipped to be Nokia.

However, with the debut of Surface range of tablets, the Redmond team has taken the thunder away from Nokia, The Verge has noted.

The Surface tablet has increased the pressure on Nokia with its superlative reference point. And for Nokia, which is deeply invested in manufacturing at least one Windows 8 tablet, there is no question of looking back, according to The Verge.

The only saving grace in the Microsoft-Apple slugfest happens to be that Microsoft is looking at a limited release of the Surface at the beginning. Besides, the Redmond giant is cautious in limiting the product to physical stores in the U.S. and making it available to through "select" online stores.