Microsoft has a strong brand in Windows and despite some initial concerns about 'metro', it's reputation is only getting better among consumers and with the improvements to Hyper-V and other Windows Server technologies and licensing, it's rep among IT is also on the rise. I'm genuinely excited to start rolling out 2012 on my client's servers and Windows 8 where needed on my client's tablets and if possible, desktops and laptops. Acer, and I don't mean to offend anyone that likes Acer but in my opinion Acer builds the bottom of the barrel crap and the OEM's that Microsoft may be hurting have ALL flirted with alternative OS's whether it's Linux or Linux derivative Android, WebOS, etc so it turns into a bunch of companies pointing fingers at each other saying you 'cheated' first. It comes down to this...can Microsoft trust it's future to companies like Acer? There's no denying that support among OEM's has been crucial in building Microsoft up to where it is but tradition and history can stifle your future success if you don't take the next steps. Microsoft can continue work with OEM's but they have to work together as partners and right now, I don't see any real partnership with the OEM's. Dell is in the wind and who knows if they'll be around in 10 years, Lenovo has been a strong PC ally but it too has flirted with Android. HP bought a competitor OS, fire sale'd it's supply of tablets and then declared they were out of the PC game! From looking around, I can't really blame Microsoft for thinking they had to go it alone. You can say Microsoft is copying Apple by building both the hardware and the software but really it's all about the fact that Microsoft can't rely on a 3rd party to ensure it's own future. In business, you're on your own. If it makes sense for Microsoft to continue letting OEM's take the lead, they will, if it doesn't, they won't. Tradition is not going to hold them back and rightfully so. Can Microsoft afford to lose OEM's like Acer? Yes. Can Acer survive if it can't sell it's cheap equipment loaded with someone else's software? No. Acer needs a lifeline but sadly it can't come from Microsoft. It has to come from their own R&D department and they have to start selling quality products. If they had done that, Surface wouldn't be a threat as Microsoft would have never had to make it. As it stands now, I think the PC industry could stand to lose a few OEM's. The market's saturated.
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