The 10 Most-Read CRN News Stories Of 2012

1. Exclusive: Microsoft's Ballmer Throws Down Gauntlet Against Apple

With Windows 8 on the way, Microsoft unveiled the Surface in June, a tablet that would be built much like Apple's, integrating its own hardware and software. In one of his first interviews after the announcement, CRN met with Steve Ballmer to talk about Microsoft gunning for Apple's share of the mobility market. "We are trying to make absolutely clear we are not going to leave any space uncovered to Apple," Ballmer told CRN.

The big question was whether or not partners would be able to sell Surface, which has only been available in Microsoft's retail stores and online at its website. "If a partner says, 'Hey look I want to sell some of these things. I want to put them in solutions,' they can order some off and sell them," said Ballmer. "There is nothing that gets in the way of that. But, we have not set up what I would call industrial distribution as sort of a first element. We may get there." We haven't gotten there quite yet. Surface is now available at Best Buy and Staples, but its availability for channel distribution remains a mystery.

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