Did Microsoft come up with Surface after seeing partners' designs?

When Microsoft first announced the Surface tablet last week, the company's CEO Steve Ballmer told members of the media that its many hardware partners for Windows 8 and Windows RT were informed of the tablet before the official reveal. Ballmer would not go into details about what Microsoft told its hardware partners, nor their reaction to the Surface news.

Now a former AMD vice-president claims that Microsoft decided to launch the Surface tablet after first getting information from its Windows 8 hardware partners about their own design plans. Patrick Moorhead, currently the president of Moor Insights & Strategy, claims in a new column on Forbes.com:

I am told Microsoft had early access to OEM’s Windows 8 physical designs, so they reportedly knew exactly what OEMs were to launch.  Apparently, a few weeks ago I am told, Microsoft held executive- level reviews with Windows 8 tablet OEMs to get even further details on OEM launch and marketing plans and pricing.  Then a few weeks afterward, the Surface launch occurred which to most industry observers looked professional, but rushed. Is this just a coincidence?   I’ll let you be the judge of that.

The implication is that Microsoft got a lot of insider information about what the company's possible future competitors had planned for their Windows 8 tablets and decided to use that information to come up with the design of the Surface. It also implies that Microsoft's OEM partners may not be able to trust Microsoft anymore.

If true, this would seem to somewhat contradict an earlier report that claims Microsoft made the Surface tablet in response to the failures of HP's WebOS-based TouchPad tablet and the Windows 7-powered HP Slate 500.

Source: Forbes.com

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