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Depending on who you ask, Microsoft’s Surface tablet is anything from a ticking time bomb to Redmond’s greatest gift to mankind.

For HP executive John Solomon, the Surface is an opportunity.

“I believe Microsoft was basically making a leadership statement and showing what’s possible in the tablet space,” Solomon said in an interview with technology news site CRN.

Solomon’s views couldn’t be more different from those of Acer CEO JT Wang, who has said on record that Microsoft should “think twice” about producing its own tablet.

So, unlike Wang, Solomon sees the Surface as a kick in the pants, not competition.

Microsoft surprised its hardware partners with the announcement back in June that it was going to be making a Windows 8-based tablet of its own.

To differentiate the upcoming HP tablet, Solomon says that HP has its sights on “specific areas of focus” — which means, essentially, business users. It’s no wonder, then, that he doesn’t see the Surface tablet as a threat.

In that sense, Solomon is a lot like Lenovo ThinkPad VP Dilip Bhatia, who said that Lenovo wasn’t worried about the Surface because the ThinkPad is a business device, not a consumer device. So no hard feelings there either.

So for Microsoft’s partners, the sides appear to be split like this: Either you are threatened by the Surface tablet because it’s going to eat your lunch, or you’re completely unfazed by it because the two of you aren’t even in the same lunchroom.

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