Meanwhile, Microsoft's longtime hardware partners are probably feeling like somebody struck them upside the head with a blunt instrument (which is, by the way, another great name for a heavy metal band). Some of them got a heads-up call from Windows jefe Steve Sinofsky late last week; others were treated like mushrooms, as TechEye's Nick Farrell puts it -- fed s*** and left in the dark.
In any case, as InfoWorld's Galen Gruman notes, it's a sharp stick in the eye to the Wintel cartel, some of whom have been cuddling with the Redmond Reprobates for more than 30 years. Apparently they were just staying together for the kids. Now that the nest is empty, it's time for a new trophy spouse.
I can't imagine the folks on the Windows Phone team are all that happy about the timing of the announcement either. As I type this, they are revealing Windows Phone 8, which would have been the biggest tech news story in quite a while, if Surface hadn't stolen the show.
So why announce this now, at least four months before anyone can actually buy one? Because they were afraid the news might leak out otherwise? Because Google is planning to announce its own branded tablet sometime in the next couple of months? Because Ballmer really is planning to retire soon so he can strap on his ax and hit the Highway to Hell?
Yet more mysteries, lingering just under the Surface.
Would you buy a Surface tablet? And if Steve Ballmer does start a heavy metal band, what should he call it? Post your thoughts below or email me: email@example.com.
This article, "Questions lurk below Microsoft's Surface," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.