On Microsoft's Surface Strategy
What if Microsoft's strategy is to create two very specific devices - one to go head on with the iPad and the other with the Macbook Air? Both of which are arguably the two biggest threats to its PC business. Outside of these two form factors (Surface RT and Surface Pro) they will rely on their partners to build.
If you need a 15" ultrabook or or a 17" laptop get a Dell, HP, Samsung etc.. If you need an all in one 27" desktop? Same story. Basically anything other than a 10" Surface like device you could find from one of their partners.
There is no denying Microsoft gets the best deal out of this setup but their partners don't really have a choice. It is not their "ball" to take home. What's key about this scenario is that Microsoft can now have its cake and eat it too. They can define a very clear and simple family of products, ala Apple that will give them high profit margins - but at the same time they will license their Windows OS for their partners to build everything else outside of that product line.
For example Apple has recently made the decision to discontinue the 17" Macbook Pro. Apple users who want this now have no where to go. In the case of Microsoft they will have a healthy bunch of alternatives. For every 17" laptop sold they'll collect on licensing fees. Not a bad place to be I think. What do you think?