The tablet market isn't the most forgiving of places – it certainly doesn't have much respect for reputations, as both HP and RIM will attest to name just two examples.
So why would Microsoft, with next to zero hardware experience beyond peripherals, decide now's the time to get involved with the Windows 8-powered Surface? Acer boss JT Wang for one certainly doesn't know.
In fact, in an interview with the FT (subscription-only), Wang suggests the move is a massive mistake, not just in terms of Microsoft's chances of success, but also in how it will affect its relations with existing hardware partners in both the tablet and PC spheres.
“We have said think it over. Think twice,” Wang is quoted as saying. “It will create a huge negative impact for the ecosystem and other brands may take a negative reaction. It is not something you are good at so please think twice.”
The argument in favour of the Surface is that it should serve as a clarion call to Microsoft's Windows 8 partners, existing as a kind of best-of-breed templates to show them – and the buying public – what the platform is capable.
But it does seem there's the possibility of a no-win situation here: if the Surface is rubbish, Microsoft and Windows 8 will look bad (which in turn will make Windows 8 OEMs look bad). If it's good, they'll simply lose sales.
Yes, there's the Nexus example over at Google, but that's a (moderately) successful idea mainly because it has been executed from Android's position of strength. The Nexus S, for instance, doesn't seem to have hurt Samsung's smartphone sales too badly. Especially since it actually makes it, but that's not the point.
Is Microsoft being stupid here? Brave? Brilliant? We all have our opinions – and feel free to share yours below. But when the world's biggest PC maker tells you to think twice, it might be worth listening to.