First look at Microsoft Surface

Microsoft plans to take on the iPad with its Surface line of tablets, unveiled this week and due in stores later this year.

Microsoft Surface, an upcoming Windows 8 tablet, breaks from Microsoft's decades-old tradition of relying on outside partners to manufacture the actual devices that run its software. Microsoft developed the Surface itself, in secret, working on the project for several years before unveiling it this week.

"We believe that any intersection between human and machine can be made better when all aspects, hardware and software, are working together," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said at the launch event. "Microsoft founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen made a big bet -- a bet on software -- but it was always clear that we had to push hardware in ways that sometimes manufacturers hadn't envisioned."

By David Goldman @CNNMoneyTech - Last updated June 19 2012: 12:22 PM ET
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Microsoft unveils iPad rival

Microsoft designed its own PC for the first time in its nearly 40-year history.