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Bill Gates to PC makers: Don’t be mad about Surface

July 3rd, 2012 at 2:00 PM

Microsoft may be going it alone in making its first tablet but company chairman and founder Bill Gates says that Windows PC original equipment manufacturers shouldn’t feel spurned. As Julie Bort of Business Insider notes, Gates was interviewed by PBS’s Charlie Rose on Monday night and was asked about the advantages of a software company building its own devices versus relying on third-party OEMs. Gates said that one approach doesn’t necessarily preclude the other.

“I actually believe you can have the best of both worlds,” Gates explained. “You can have a rich eco-system of manufacturers and you can have a few signature devices that show off, wow, what’s the difference between a tablet and a PC?”

In other words, just because Microsoft is making its own tablet as a sort of show-off device doesn’t mean it plans to abandon its strategy of courting OEMs as partners anytime soon. Gates went on to praise Microsoft’s new Surface tablet series for bringing the productivity functionality of PCs to a mobile, touchscreen form factor for the first time.

“You can have everything you like about a tablet and anything you like about a PC all in one device,” he said. “This is a seminal event of taking the best of two worlds and bringing them together, I can’t wait until it’s shipping and everybody can sit and play with it because that’s the only way you can understand what we’re trying to say with it.”

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