One only has to recall the "LongHorn" announcement, filled with amazing features and slathered in promises.
What finally arrived was VISTA, an abject failure immediately followed by Win7, which many feel is just XP with patches and lipstick. The emails released in the Combs vs MS trial revealed that Jim Alchin's programmers came back from the OSX presentation saying that OSX was what LongHorn was supposed to be. Alchin passed that bad news up the management chain in an email and didn't remain with the company very long after that. Apparently those at the top in MS have a world view which isn't tuned to reality.
Like the "LongHorn" announcement, the Surface presentation's purpose is to freeze consumers in the glare of Microsoft's PR headlights, hoping to restrain them from buying products running iOS or Android on newly released or soon to be released hardware.
Also accompanying this announcement are a gaggle of MS "Technical Evangelists", in the James Plamondon catagory, astroturfing websites with effusive praises and promises to buy, just like they did following VISTA's release.
Surface will be running Metro, which the general public has already rejected on smartphones and by those who installed the beta release on tablets. These facts puts Microsoft's sub 5% market share in jeopardy.
Under Ashlee Vance's article is a comment by "TruthHz", who claims "These two tablets also act as a wake up call for lazy PC manufacturers." The truth that hurt's that view point is that OEMs weren't "lazy", they were chained to Microsoft and did its bidding regardless. When they and 3rd tier marketers responded to pent up demands for Linux on notebooks (200,000/week) the Combs emails showed that Microsoft threatened to raise their per Windows license fees if they continued. The "reason" given by Walmart for not continuing to supply their popular Linux powered notebook was that there were too many returns. It was later revealed that the number of returned Linux notebooks were 1/4th those of XP notebooks. Court trial documents make interesting reading. People should check them out.