@PaoloM:

Right. Especially since there were/are no OEMs building game consoles based on Microsoft's OS.

Games console is a funny business. My point was that Nintendo decided to make a profit on each Wii. And Microsoft decided to take a loss on each Xbox. Just so that the Xbox can be popular. It is not a reach to think Microsoft can do the same thing with the tablets.

Why?

Did you miss the part where the OEMs had the chance to build "beautiful hardware" since, like, forever, and they've ALWAYS squandered it?

If in the future they'll come out with decent offerings, we can thank the Surface kick in the pants for that.

Until the iPad, no one knew what beautiful means. Just imagine before they held the first ever Miss America Pageant. There was no standards of beauty. Until the first Miss America set the standard.

Now that we have the iPad, no tablets can succeed unless they approach its beauty. The OEMs know this now, and they won't make an ugly tablet. But they cannot succeed if Microsoft always undercut them in price.