The Surface, as the first tablet in Microsoft’s history, may be getting most of the attention right now, but the CEO of Netflix believes that it is Windows 8 that will play a much more important role for the Redmond giant.

Reed Hastings, speaking to Dow Jones reporters said that the PC industry is absolutely critical for Microsoft as millions of devices running Windows 8 are set to be shipped next year.

“It kind of doesn’t matter how successful Surface is. But it does matter a lot if Windows 8 is successful. They’ve got 350 million PCs that will be sold next year, and they’ll all have Windows 8 on them. So there’s a huge installed base for people to write Windows 8 applications. And then that kickstarts the application cycle that makes it valuable,” Reed said.

Microsoft has blamed the slow PC industry for the lackluster debut of Windows 8, claiming that the lack of devices running its new OS is what’s preventing users to make the jump.

Surveys and user reports, on the other hand suggest that is it the major (radical even, depending on who is talking) change to the user interface that has people confused. Particularly, business users, as they find Windows 8 confusing.

“Surface is a tactic to spur people on, to get Windows 8 really successful. So, as the company succeeds with Windows 8, that takes away a big fear — if they do. And if they don’t, it’s a different battle,” Hastings concluded.

Which totally makes sense: Windows 8 will make or break the Surface line of tablets. Not the other way round.

Fingers crossed, the executives at Microsoft are thinking along the same lines.

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  • xinu

    I find his comments absolutely appropriate and correct. Windows 8 is critical to Microsoft. I do however believe that depending on the success of the Surface, might alter Microsoft’s long term hardware planning. Should the surface be very successful, they might pursue more hardware products (phone etc), if not successful Microsoft might cooperate closer with other hardware manufacturers to improve their hardware quality.