Lenovo's Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) division head Gianfrano Lanci said on Thursday that Microsoft's forthcoming Windows 8-powered Surface tablet will be a good addition to a competitive market.
Lanci welcomed the tablet at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin on Thursday, despite criticism from other Microsoft partners, notably Acer.
Following the recent unveiling of Microsoft's Surface tablet, the company recently acknowledged that the new product range will be in direct competition with it's OEM partners. Microsoft stated in its annual 10-K report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission:
Our Surface devices will compete with products made by our OEM partners, which may affect their commitment to our platform.
However, the recently appointed head of Lenovo's EMEA division does not appear to believe the product launch will alter the firms' relationship in a significant way. Lanci said:
For sure it's not going to change the partnership. I think it's very welcoming if other people, including Microsoft, come with Windows 8 tablets. I think it's also proof that they really believe that with Windows 8 they can become a serious player in the tablet arena. And to have Microsoft doing that, I think it's a good advertisement for us and other OEMs. [The company is] not negative at all about this move.
It has not been Microsoft's usual style to compete with OEM partners, as the company relies on a good relationship in order to agree the launch of new operating systems as they are developed. This could be seen a means to potentially fracture the bonds between Microsoft and its OEM partners, but Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer has disregarded the possibility.
At Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference which took place last month, he defended Microsoft's decision, saying:
"[W]e have been very good about supporting our OEMs. Very good. There is nothing that we can build that our OEMs can't build with their own energy, innovation and the like."
Lenovo previously said it was fine with the Surface, despite Acer's whimpers. ZDNet editor-in-chief Larry Dignan said at the time the tablet market needed disrupting, calling Acer's position "laughable."