"I'm super-glad we did Surface," Ballmer said. "I think it is important--and not just for Microsoft but for the entire Windows ecosystem--to see integrated hardware and software."
Ballmer later explained that Microsoft is trying to lead the way for other hardware makers with devices like Surface. The Surface Pro's use of a stylus is one example. "I think it's fair to say we've been talking about pen computing for years, but it was hard to do that with OEMs who were not equally incentivized," Ballmer said. "Now we're trying to lead a little bit with Surface Pro."
I like the idea that Microsoft can show OEMs how to make interesting hardware. The first crop of Windows 8 hybrids only proved that more innovation was necessary.
The question is whether traditional PC makers have enough incentive to follow along. Looking at AdDuplex's stats, you'll see that no other Windows hybrids or convertible laptops are on top of the list, while cheaper, more typical laptops are getting significant share. PC makers could end up experimenting less, focusing more on traditional laptops and desktops, and letting Microsoft carve out most of the Windows tablet market on its own. You have to wonder how Ballmer would feel about that.