Microsoft Gets Picky With Windows-Worthy Tablet Makers

Microsoft has chosen to take the semi-exclusive route when it comes to tablet software. While Google’s Android operating system is a free-for-all platform for OEMs, and Apple’s iOS is completely closed off to manufacturers, Microsoft has plans to fall somewhere in between open and closed. Specifically, the tech giant will limit the number of initial hardware makers that can employ the Windows OS on tablets to five, pairing each OEM with a chip maker selected by Microsoft, according to unnamed WSJ sources familiar with the matter.

The lucky chip makers chosen by Microsoft include Intel, Advanced Micro Devices, Nvidia, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments. Each will have to choose one hardware developer to create clamshell and tablet devices that run Microsoft’s mobile OS, said the sources. After that, the chip makers will be able to use other manufacturers to build Windows Tablets. One person familiar with the situation said that Microsoft sees this strategy as a way to get products to market more quickly, and to ensure that the software performs well with the forthcoming tablets.

While that sounds like a pretty good plan, it also means that only a select few companies will be able to launch Windows tablets, which may not only upset other manufacturers, but could also limit the number of Windows tablets to enter the market. Plus, it’s too soon to tell which hardware makers will be paired with the chosen chip makers, though WSJ’s sources claim that most of the Taiwan-based companies have already been taken out of the mix.

One company to already voice its disapproval with Microsoft’s Windows OS restrictions is Acer. “The industry does not belong to Microsoft, and it does not belong to Intel,” said Acer president Jim Wong, at the Computex trade show on Wednesday. “It belongs to all participants. They cannot make the decision for all of us. That is the problem.”

[via WSJ]