Slow. Kludgey. Expensive. This is how HP PC head Todd Bradley describes Microsoft’s Surface tablet, which he isn’t too crazy about.

“Holistically, the press has made a bigger deal out of Surface than what the world has chosen to believe,” Bradley said in an interview with Citeworld.

These are some pretty damming words coming from an executive of one of Microsoft’s most significant hardware partners. HP so far has been fairly measured with its reaction to the Suface.

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“I believe Microsoft was basically making a leadership statement and showing what’s possible in the tablet space,” HP printing vice president John Solomon said back in August. In other words, the Surface is a model, not competition.

Bradley, on the other hand, says that the Surface isn’t competition because Microsoft is keeping the device’s distribution pretty low — at least at first.

The short of it is this: HP may not see the Surface as competition, but there’s no doubt consumers will be choosing between the Surface and HP computers. That’s unavoidable.

As far as tablets go, don’t expect another consumer tablet from HP anytime soon. Bradley says HP is taking it slow on that front, which isn’t too surprising considering that the whole TouchPad fiasco is still fresh in everyone’s minds.