In June 2012 in front of an audience of journalists, Microsoft's then-CEO Steve Ballmer was in philosophical mode, pondering how important hardware was to Microsoft, a company best known for its software.
"At our foundation, Bill Gates and Paul Allen made a bet - a bet on software," Ballmer said. "At the same time, it was always clear that our unique view of what software could do would require us to push hardware sometimes in ways that even the makers of the hardware themselves had yet to envision. That's the nature of the dynamic between hardware and software."
Ballmer was about to make another bet on software and hardware with a new tablet device called the Surface, running a new operating system.