Former Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) exec Craig Mundie, who now serves as special advisor to Steve Ballmer, recently explained why the company needed to launch Surface. It was taking some blame for low-quality devices made by hardware partners that weren't willing to invest in quality due to their already low margins.

In the video below, Fool.com's Alison Southwick and contributor Evan Niu discuss how the growing threat of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) made Microsoft think that the Surface was worth risking its partnerships.

Fool contributor Evan Niu, CFA, owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool recommends Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.