The Surface product line is fascinating in that it resulted, much like the Microsoft phone and Zune, from a problem that the firm was having that should have been resolved another way.  But, unlike those other two products, the Surface products have been surprisingly successful — while both the Zune and Microsoft Phone are showcase examples of why those that supply parts shouldn’t sell solutions in the same space. 

Now the problem in all three cases was that Microsoft was upset that the OEMs couldn’t compete with Apple, that Microsoft believed it could do a better job, and that Microsoft was wrong in the first two instances because they couldn’t.  So, I’d like to look at two things, why this generally doesn’t work, and why Surface (and later Hololens) uniquely worked while Zune and the Microsoft Phone were massively expensive failures. 

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