Microsoft did not directly address timing or cite statistics claiming that huge swaths of customers are clamoring for a tablet that replaces a notebook. But it was telling that Nadella felt it necessary, two years after the Surface's debut, to defend the mere existence of a hardware effort, the devices half of his predecessor's "devices and services" plan.
"The question that needs to be asked and answered is: Why hardware?" Nadella asked last week. "We are not building hardware for hardware's sake."
No? Then what is it doing?
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