In one sense, Microsoft has succeeded already, by demonstrating that there is a third paradigm: a transformable tablet.
That alone strikes me as a very intentional rebuttal of the Apple argument that a laptop and tablet is a "forced" convergence. (Tim Cook).
And Steve Jobs knocked the idea before that, saying it was "ergonomically terrible" and "we've done tons of user testing on this, and it turns out it doesn't work."
Well, Microsoft showed us Monday that it could work. That's all I (and consumers) need to see. (I had been skeptical.)
But wait. What about other decent Windows 8 hybrids? Asus' Taichi is interesting. And Lenovo's Yoga is nice too.
But those are laptops first, tablets second.
Microsoft's Surface tablet
Microsoft flipped it -- and, as a result, nailed the concept. Design a good tablet first, then figure out how to do a really cool keyboard.
After all, hybrids are all about the keyboard. And maybe Microsoft is simply showing us that keyboards need to change in a big way for convergence to work.
(A more ominous take-away is that Microsoft is putting the PC industry on notice. Follow our lead or become irrelevant. But that's another post for another day.)
Of course the burden is still on Microsoft to deliver. (Dare I mention the need for lots of apps?)
But if Surface begins to catch on, then Microsoft will have one-upped Apple.
And that's a good thing. Somebody out there in PC land should be able to prove that Apple is wrong once in a while.