Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer gave a widely reported interview a couple of days ago about the Surface tablet and going head to head against Apple.
In it, Balmer boldly said that "we are trying to make absolutely clear we are not going to leave any space uncovered to Apple," adding, "not the consumer cloud. Not hardware software innovation. We are not leaving any of that to Apple by itself. Not going to happen. Not on our watch."
Then focusing specifically on Microsoft's new tablet, Balmer explained, "Right now we are working real hard on the Surface. That's the focus. That's our core,"
So how does Microsoft plan on selling the Surface? Through its stores and website. Yet this is not how businesses - a core market for Microsoft - tend to purchase equipment and software from the company. Many of them, from schools and hospitals to retailers and financial businesses, depend on Microsoft's resellers to assemble a hardware/software solution which they then buy. In turn, resellers ordinarily get Microsoft products at a discount and can sell them for a little profit.
Unlike previous Microsoft products that tend to be aimed at business and consumers, Balmer's comments show that Microsoft's core target buyers for the Surface are going to be consumers. Which just happens to be the Apple iPad's core territory.