If you haven't heard of Microsoft's Surface tablet that was recently announced, you must have no been on the internet much at all in the past couple days. It really looks like it will be a solid tablet, albeit a little on the expensive side. All of the features and the design of the Surface really help put Windows 8 into perspective. My impressions from using the Release Preview were that it's not such a great desktop OS, but it'd be a great tablet OS. In the past Microsoft has almost always been about software (majority of their revenue is from software licensing), which makes their announcement of their own tablet a little odd. Stan Shih, who is the founder of Acer, thinks the Surface is a ploy, which makes everything a whole lot more interesting.
According to Mr. Shih, Microsoft will only make the Surface for a short time. The entire purpose behind their announcement and release of the tablet is to drive Windows 8 adoption within the industry, and after that happens Microsoft will stop selling the Surface. The tablet gives OEMs like Acer, Dell, and HP an idea of what to do with Windows 8. Microsoft, according to Shih, will make more money from licensing software than from selling hardware (the Surface), and the Surface will drive adoption so Microsoft can make more money off of Windows 8. He said that OEMs should be happy with this strategy, as Microsoft's marketing for Windows 8 will help them out as well.
If this is indeed Microsoft's strategy with Surface, it's ingenious. What better way to make OEMs make products better than you want them to than to make them compete with a product that's exactly what you want? Competition is king, and the Surface will surely drive it.