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Microsoft to PC Partners: We Still Love You

Following Monday's launch of the Surface Book, Microsoft has been trying to show its love for PC makers by showing up at events around the globe.

The Verge

After introducing its own phones, tablets and first-ever laptop on Tuesday, Microsoft has been taking pains this week to show that it still loves all the other companies that make Windows devices.

 Windows Chief Terry Myerson helps Asus launch the new line of Windows 10 gaming PCs.
Windows Chief Terry Myerson helps Asus launch the new line of Windows 10 gaming PCs.
Ina Fried for Re/code

Microsoft held an event with HP in Barcelona, one with Dell in New York and on Friday took part in the San Francisco launch of new gaming PCs from Taiwan’s Asus, including a high-end vapor-cooled laptop.

“We talked about some Microsoft devices earlier in the week,” Windows chief Terry Myerson said at the event. “The devices we are talking about here complement those devices in every way.”

Standing just feet away from Myerson after the formal remarks, though, Asus Chairman Jonney Shih didn’t seem so thrilled with the expansion of Microsoft’s Surface line.

“I think we are going to have a serious talk about that,” Shih said.

In an interview, Myerson acknowledged that he still had yet to talk to Shih about Microsoft’s latest devices and said the company made the decision not to talk about Surface Book with its PC maker partners ahead of the launch, to help preserve the surprise.

He defended the Surface initiative, which he said has proven to “take Windows to these places where frankly it wouldn’t go” without Microsoft, adding that there are now tons of 2-in-1 convertible tablet/laptops that have followed in the footsteps of the original Surface.

And, if Surface Book helps take sales away from Apple’s MacBook Pro, that will benefit the entire Windows ecosystem, he said.

Myerson has been doing all he can to reassure PC makers, traveling from Tuesday’s Microsoft device event in New York to Barcelona for the HP event and then back to San Francisco to be with Asus. Yusuf Mehdi, another longtime Microsoft executive, took part in the New York event with Dell.

The aggressive publicity push comes as Microsoft hopes to turn up the volume around Windows 10 as new models come to market in time for the holidays. It launched the operating system in July, but at the time there were few new PCs running it.

They also come amid questions surrounding the launch of the Surface Book — the first laptop Microsoft has introduced under its own brand, potentially increasing competition with its computer-maker partners, highlighting a tension that has been growing since the 2012 launch of the first Surface tablet.

At the event on Friday, Shih played up the power of the his latest PCs for gaming. Asus’ goal, Shih said, is to equip gamers with “the most ferocious weapons that are designed to dominate the battlefields.”

Myerson also played up Windows 10’s gaming chops, noting that games are the most-downloaded category of apps in the Windows store. People think of Microsoft as focused on productivity, but Myerson says that’s just a myth.

“Really Microsoft is a productivity — and gaming — company,” he said.

There have been a cumulative 143,000 years of gaming played on Windows 10 in just the last 10 weeks, Myerson said. “That is a lot of gaming,” he said.

The PC industry, meanwhile, is hoping to rebound from what has been rather slow growth in recent years amid gains by Apple in computers and a shift toward mobile devices.

Microsoft says that Windows 10 is off to the fastest start ever and is now running on more than 110 million PCs. The company has set a goal that the operating system be running on one billion PCs by 2017.

Updated 4:13 pm PT with additional comments from Shih and Myerson

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