Funny thing is, it doesn't matter what Microsoft does, if they stay out of the hardware market they get hate, if they enter the hardware market they get hate. The real problem isn't Microsoft, it is the Apple and Google fanbois that think Microsoft is some sort of boogieman that is going to eat your children. Microsoft has done more to unify the IT industry into a single entity than anyone. You can buy any machine from any vendor anywhere in the world, or build it yourself from parts with a million combinations and it all just works. That is what people really want and that is why ten times as many PCs are sold than iPads.
So a tablet comes along, the iPad, which looks good and does what it does very well. Problem is what it does is very limited and essentially is a toy. A PC can do everything an iPad can do and more.
App Store? 650,000 apps
PC Software? Over 6 million
So Microsoft wants to get into the tablet market, traditional business model is to wait for hardware vendors to make some good hardware and you roll out Windows and collect licensing fees. But this time around the hardware vendors have stabbed Microsoft in the back, they have all gone with Android tablets because it is free, but essentially they have created another toy, but in the majority of cases it is a cheap tacky toy made from shitty plastic. The very few tablet with Windows are either also clunky and cheap or so expensive that they have priced themselves out of the market. Top that, Microsoft also know that their traditional partners in the hardware sector have nothing lined up and giving a free pass to Apple and are content to fight for the scraps in the low-end toy tablet sector where with a few exceptions they are all clones with nothing to distinguish them from the competition.
So Microsoft is in a quandry, does it continue to stay out of the hardware market and slowly become obelete through no fault of its own as an insipid laziness overcomes the industry? Or does it make its own hardware and risk alienating their hardware partners? I think we know the answer to that. Microsoft has been stabbed in the back so it owes nothing to these companies, that same companies that have made their own billions because they all agreed to be part of a singular interoperable platform, that spun on the axis of Windows.
Microsoft has done the only thing it could do and push out it's own hardware and my god it is beautiful, if this had been released by Sony then the forums would be saturated with positives and thumbs ups everywhere. But instead people are nitpicking on things they either have no knowledge of, making things up, or fielding a personal negative opinion on something that a different person would find as a positive
No 3G / Wifi only? Initially yes, maybe, but most people will have a smartphone with a dataplan, I really don't want to have to sign up to a second data plan, I would really rather tether, other people have their own opinion and they are afraid to use it.
Battery life? - You don't know
RAM? You don't know
All these things will come in time and when they do you can comment, till then you just need to STFU
Price? You don't know
And frankly I don't care, if someone wants something they will justify any expense, the iPad is a classic example. A toy that cost a rather large amount of money and is almost totally incapable of being used for a serious business use. So it becomes a media consumption device. Windows 8 will do everything the iPad can, with more software, will be able to run your enterprise and be a workstation, but also feed you media in the manner it was intended, be that movies in widescreen or internet pages that still use Flash.
So doing it themselves had to be done, if the backstabbing vendors change their minds and come back with their own beautiful creations then I am sure Microsft will forgive them, but if it were me at Microsoft i would use this as an opportunity to clean house.