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.