The new tablet Microsoft introduced, the Surface, would not blow off its longtime PC manufacturing problems. Surface is just a reference design that is meant to show off what Microsoft is capable of. It is a design which they are planning to compete with other companies but will still remain as a reference design.
During the Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference, CEO Steve Ballmer reassured PC manufacturers that even they are exploring on the hardware business, they won’t be out to supplant them.

Surface is just a design point,” Ballmer said. “It will have a distinct place in what’s a broad Windows ecosystem. And the importance of the thousands of partners that we have that design and produce Windows computers will not diminish. We have a mutual goal with our OEM partners to bring a diversity of solutions, Windows PCs, phones, tablets, servers to market. And what we seek to have is a spectrum of stunning devices, stunning Windows devices. So, every consumer, every business customer can say, ‘I have the perfect PC for me.’ … We’re excited about the work our OEM partners are doing on Windows 8.

Microsoft is using another way of introducing Windows 8 to the public. It will also be a good opportunity for Microsoft’s partner to sell Windows 8 hardware. It is just one of Microsoft’s creative strategies. They are just simply taking advantage of opportunities thus leading towards the creation of a ‘stunning device’.
Microsoft will always stay as what they used to be. They won’t be going elsewhere as they are just exploring paths which other companies are already exploring. Exploring won’t hurt them as it didn’t hurt their rival companies as well. It all just depends on how Microsoft will play it out and how they will compete with companies such as Apple and Google. And we all know that Microsoft is always a competitive company which uses different ways to outsmart rival companies. With their moves, other companies are imitating them thus it means that Microsoft is doing a good move on their ventures.