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Windows 8 tablets limited to one PC builder per chip

updated 08:10 am EDT, Wed June 1, 2011

Microsoft copying Apple for Windows 8 tablets

Microsoft is hoping to recreate some of Apple's strategy for Windows 8 tablets, a trio of insiders said Wednesday. In order to get "incentives" from Microsoft, a processor designer like Intel would have to work with only one PC builder and cooperate on one design. The Bloomberg tip hinted the device might get better performance or a lower price for software licenses.

The strategy wasn't confirmed by Microsoft but would help explain Acer's complaints about Microsoft on Tuesday at Computex. Chairman JT Wang had been complaining about unmentioned chip restrictions that were "very troublesome" without saying what they were. At the time, it was presumed this would affect current tablets, but it's now more likely that Wang was referencing the Windows 8 limits.

The objection would likely be to the consequences of a chip partner, including an ARM-based designer like NVIDIA or Qualcomm, choosing someone else for the special deal. Acer, and any other would-be Windows 8 tablet creator, might be forced to choose a processor they didn't want to use in order to achieve its goal. Semiconductor firms under the program would also have the option of a second partner for a traditional notebook design, but that again would exclude all others.

Microsoft's strategy would closely echo that for Windows Phone 7 and in turn try to parallel Apple's strategy for the iPad, where narrow hardware guidelines lead to a better experience. The limitations would push the hardware and software manufacturers in the program to work more closely together and possibly lead to better integration than exists today. Most complaints around Windows 7 tablets have centered around poor battery life and a lack of software optimization; the Windows 8 rule would potentially improve the experience.

A first demo of the Windows 8 tablet interface is expected to show at Windows division lead Steven Sinofsky's interview at D9 Wednesday evening.

by MacNN Staff



  1. eldarkus

    Joined: Dec 1969



    This will force most of the tablet builders to software other than Microsoft, in which they will lose marketshare (think Droid)

    Slick move :)

  1. prl99

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Can Microsoft legally do this?

    I had to read this article on multiple sites before I really understood what Microsoft is trying to do and I wonder if it is legal. Microsoft is a software company, with a few exceptions. Forcing a processor designer (Intel, ARM, who else?) to work with only one PC vendor to create only one computer design sounds like restraint of trade (might be wrong term). Apple can do this because they own the software and computer design and buy CPU processors, sometimes custom designed. Microsoft only own the software. Forcing the CPU designer and PC vendor to custom build a specific computer would trash the PC builder economy (benefit would be to get rid of all the junk) coming up with a single model to run Windows. I can see what Acer is upset. They make money selling a range of computers while Microsoft only wants one.

    Problem is, even if Microsoft only gets one computer, it will still have to run an OS built for 16th century computers. I can't see Microsoft being able to recode Windows 8 from the ground up, removing the capability to run all those impressive games and software titles (ugh!). If Microsoft comes out with a totally streamlined OS and does it in the next year or two, it would absolutely amaze me, but I doubt too many PC users would want it because they'd have to buy all new software to run it.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. wrenchy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Isn't this

    What Microsoft did with the Zune?

    One manufacturer? This is great!
    After all, no one wants frag-mun-tay-shun.

    Right iAsshats?


    - Sent from my Android Device.

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    bitter much, wrenchy?

    awww bunky, didja soil your pants when AAPL went up over $10 yesterday?

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    oh look

    it's up over $3.50 today too. Please don't kick the dog again, wrenchy. It's not his fault.

  1. Geoduck

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Same Song, Different Singer?

    I agree this sounds dubious on legal grounds to me too. What it sounds like is similar in some ways to what they got in trouble for in the 1990s. This sounds like a lot of the same tactics they were using that got them branded as an abusive monopoly.

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969


    MS can't win for losing

    Look, I guess from Microsoft's perspective they've been in tablets a long time.

    Now, I know you think I'm making that up, but seriously they were in tablets for a long time - they just didn't sell.

    And as Apple proved - the market was there all along, but the market just didn't want what Microsoft was offering.

    So they have to be thinking - for Win 8, we have to do something different.

    No you don't Microsoft - no you don't. What you do, is wait for Apple to popularize the market segment - and then you copy, copy, copy. You don't copy Apple's business model - h*** no. You ape everything that is good about their OS, and you use YOUR business model.

    Apple goes into the high end niche, and you take the mainstream with 'good enough'

    This is the way its always been - and most years you have even been the more profitable one.
    Not recently, but you've lost your way.

    Oh MS - this is folly. copying Apple's business model only works if Steve Jobs is running the show, and you don't have a Steve Jobs - anyone you had even close to Steve Jobs you drove out of the company.

    Well I'm writing off Win 8 for tablets - this strategy ensures it will be a failure.
    Before now, I at least thought the acers of the world would eventually slap win 8 on a popular tablet design.

    Now - that won't happen.

  1. Gazoobee

    Joined: Dec 1969


    clear as mud

    this article is.

  1. ggirton

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Ballmer has said ...

    Ballmer has said they are betting the company on Windows 8.

    He has also said it is coming out next year, but then had to retract!

    As fascinating and suggestive as this story is, what it tells me is that
    no one knows WTF is going on.

  1. elroth

    Joined: Dec 1969



    "Problem is, even if Microsoft only gets one computer, it will still have to run an OS built for 16th century computers."

    Exaggerate much?

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