Microsoft pulled a fairly surprising move with the introduction of the Surface tablet to the world during a rushed press conference over a month ago. To date, we still don’t have a solid price announcement. If I’m right, there is a very good reason for this absence in pricing, and it may be more simple than most of the pundits I’ve heard from lately think.

Why Hasn’t Microsoft Named a Price?

Microsoft has always been a software company first and foremost. It only dabbled in hardware to make game consoles, mice, keyboards, webcams, and other extras that enhance the Windows experience. By creating its own computer in the form of the Surface, it became a competitor to its own partners.

If Microsoft were to name a price for its surface today, all the other Windows 8 tablets made by its recently announced partners (Dell, Samsung, Asus, and Lenovo) would be compared directly with the Surface for price value. This would taint the initial impressions press considerably. Let’s face it: You would have a hard time finding an article that didn’t compare prices with the Surface, declaring one a better value over another.

To me, the Surface hasn’t been given a price because Microsoft is attempting to make amends with its OEM partners that have been admittedly annoyed by the Surface announcement.

Can You Get a Surface from Another OEM?

So can you get Surface tablets not made by Microsoft? No, but you will be able to pick up Windows 8 tablets from a number of manufacturers at a variety of price points. Dell said its tablet would likely be priced well above the rumored $300 sweet spot for Windows RT while the iPad has become the gold standard of tablet computer pricing during this speculative period between announcement and price reveal.

Why Tablets?

Windows 8 tablets have a lot of promise. The operating system is built from the ground up with touch in mind, so it would make sense that the portable version of a Windows 8 computer be something more like a tablet and less like a traditional desktop. Laptops could probably do quite well with Windows 8 as long as manufacturers build better multi-touch trackpads into their devices. I’ve come across a few modern laptops that absolutely fail at delivering a smooth trackpad experience to the user. For Windows 8 to stand a chance on this format, this has to improve.

Microsoft did a great deal to set the mindset of a Windows 8 tablet as more than just a touch screen. It’s a touch screen and keyboard that maintains a small form factor and can operate just fine with just your hands. Keeping the keyboard small and on-hand for long-form email and other text input is handy. If you’re going to use a full-featured operating system, you shouldn’t be limited to touch as your only input.

What Do You Think?

How about you? What do you think about the Microsoft Surface? Do you look forward to what is to come from manufacturers other than Microsoft? What would you pay for a Surface?

Photo: Microsoft