Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) recently announced a major executive departure at the highest levels of the company. Windows chief Steven Sinofsky has abruptly left the company, just after the launch of Windows 8 and Surface. This even adds an element of uncertainty to Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), since any concerns surrounding Windows 8 could potentially weigh on Intel as the dominant supplier of PC processors. NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA) powers the Surface RT with its Tegra processor, so underwhelming Surface unit sales won't bother Intel right now. The Intel-powered Surface is due out early next year. Other PC hardware players like Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) and Dell (NASDAQ:DELL.DL) are also relying on Windows 8 for a boost.

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