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Microsoft Windows Hardware

Microsoft Said To Limit Device Makers' Partners 200

Posted by Roblimo
from the tighter-hardware-control-is-our-number-one-goal dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) has asked chipmakers that want to use the next version of Windows for tablets to work with no more than one computer manufacturer." The article also said, "Seeking to limit variations may help Microsoft speed the delivery of new Windows tablets by keeping tighter control over partners and accelerating development and testing. Though the program isn't mandatory, the restrictions may impede chip- and computer makers from building a variety of Windows-based models to vie with Apple Inc. (AAPL)'s iPad... In past versions of Windows software, chipmakers could work with multiple computer manufacturers. "
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Microsoft Said To Limit Device Makers' Partners

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  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @10:33AM (#36308050)

    This reminds me of standard oil making deals with railroads, to not carry oil for companies that competed with standard oil, or to charge those other companies much more.

    As I understand it, these actions by the old robber barons brought about the Clayton Act, and the Sherman Act.

    So why are the new robber barons allowed to get away with such abusive, anti-competitive actions?

    • by alen (225700)

      except the oil was mostly the same. in this case manufacturers building cheapo products will damage microsoft's brand perception which is what they want to avoid

      • by poetmatt (793785)

        basically, this is a lack of an answer. It's not any different, it's just that it has to get to the courts to get settled.

      • except the oil was mostly the same. in this case manufacturers building cheapo products will damage microsoft's brand perception which is what they want to avoid

        How could it get any worse? Microsoft has never had very good branch perception beyond the board room.

    • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @10:46AM (#36308200)
      You may have missed the news: Microsoft was found guilty, and the antitrust oversight last for a few years. Now it is over, and Microsoft can go back to their same old tricks. It is a lot harder for people to claim that Microsoft is abusing their monopoly position when Apple is competing so effectively against Microsoft.
      • Except this time it is a pretty minor player in that particular marketplace. It can't push manufacturers too hard on this one or they'll just say "fuck you Redmond" and throw Android on their tablets.

      • by Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @11:29AM (#36308746)

        Now it is over, and Microsoft can go back to their same old tricks.

        I must have missed the time when Microsoft stopped using their old tricks.

      • You may have missed the news: Microsoft was found guilty, and the antitrust oversight last for a few years.

        It looks like you may have missed the news that the ruling was overturned by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Afterwards the DOJ announced they were going to seek a lesser antitrust penalty. On November 2, 2001 the DOJ settled with Microsoft which required that Microsoft publish its API. This weak settlement was probably due to the DOJ was under a new administration (Clinton was no longer in office)

    • by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @10:47AM (#36308206) Journal

      Because our government is at least as corrupt today as it was in the late 19th century.

    • This reminds me of standard oil making deals with railroads, to not carry oil for companies that competed with standard oil, or to charge those other companies much more.

      As I understand it, these actions by the old robber barons brought about the Clayton Act, and the Sherman Act.

      So why are the new robber barons allowed to get away with such abusive, anti-competitive actions?

      Because Asking is not the same as Demanding.
      And because Microsoft does not have a monopoly on phone Operating Systems.

    • by ProppaT (557551)

      If Microsoft was the only company providing a tablet OS, then I might agree with you. If manufacturer's don't like the stipulations of using the Windows tablet OS, they can make an Android tablet. There's nothing anti-trust about it. If Microsoft decided they wouldn't sell their OS to X company (that does not have a competing OS) even though they agreed to all the hardware stipulations, then THAT would be anti-trust because they're only allowing certain companies to make a tablet.

    • by Bogtha (906264) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @10:56AM (#36308346)

      This reminds me of standard oil making deals with railroads, to not carry oil for companies that competed with standard oil

      Really? It reminds me of Microsoft making deals with OEMs, to not install operating systems from companies that competed with Microsoft. They've already been caught doing this with Hitachi and Compaq to kill BeOS.

    • by diegocg (1680514)

      Microsoft is the small fish here.

    • So why are the new robber barons allowed to get away with such abusive, anti-competitive actions?

      Because the Clinton-era DoJ wardogs who brought the antitrust action against MS were removed when the Bush Administration took office and the new DoJ settled the case for peanuts. Today's DoJ under Obama seem to be focused on protecting Hollywood's copyrights and are turning a blind eye to antitrust.

      Antitrust enforcement actions depend largely on the administration in the White House. When Teddy Roosevelt w

    • Railroads are a natural monopoly. If railroads refuse to carry your product, you had no other option. Despite people's fantasies, Microsoft doesn't have this kind of power and never did. You could always use competitive products. This is not to say they didn't make compatibility difficult, but it is incomparable to striking deals with network industries like railroads.

      It would be like MS striking a deal with ATT to only connect to MS computers. That my good man would be a comparable analogy. And yes M

    • How does Microsoft limiting the number of chip manufacturers that will be officially supported on their next version of Tablet OS violate antitrust? All I see is Microsoft limiting their next Tablet OS to a select combination of chip manufacturer + OEM. There is no law that requires an OS to support all available hardware.

      It would be antitrust if the deal also forbid the chip manufacturer or OEM from making products for another OS like Android. I didn't see any such language in the article.

      Isn't this bett

  • by klingens (147173) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @10:33AM (#36308062)

    Limiting hardware and exercising very stringent control has worked for Microsoft so well with Windows Phone 7 and was obviously the reason their OSes didn't sell.

    The reason DOS and later Windows took off was exactly that every Tom, Dick and Harry from the shadiest backroom company could slap together something to sell. Many of those things didn't sell, many of them were and maybe still are atrocious piece of kit. But they simply swamped the market, drove prices to rock bottom and made MSFT's software have 90%+ marketshare, made the current and former CEOs of Microsoft multibillionaires, etc. Additionally they drove Apple nearly to extinction since they just couldn't compete with true mass production.

    But this time around everything is different. Learning from Apple means more profit and success!

    • Yep, this time it's Android enabling every Tom, Dick and Harry to build whatever the hell they want. Even the PSP's successor looks like it's going to be an Android device.

      • The day of Microsoft's dominance is coming to a close. It will still probably dominate the business market for some time, but I can't see it ever being more than a fractional player in the tablet and smartphone markets. Apple and all the Android manufacturers have a massive lead.

      • by iluvcapra (782887) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @12:06PM (#36309154)

        Yep, this time it's Android enabling every Tom, Dick and Harry to build whatever the hell they want.

        As long as Tom, Dick and Harry join the Open Handset Alliance and pay dues to same, sign nondisclosure agreements forbidding them from releasing new OSs before Google, and agree to not bundle their phones with apps and services that compete with Google's.

    • the market has changed. Back at the start of the Wintel PC era, PCs were either business tools one simply HAD to use, or hobbyist stuff one actually enjoyed tinkering/fighting with.

      smartphones and tablets today are used by choice, by a much larger public, and not really tinkered with (hardware mods are pretty much impossible, and on the software side, I'm the only person I know to root my phone). plus, there's plenty spare power in these things to have nice interfaces.

      I don't really like the term "dumbing d

    • It's not as though Apple are limiting the hardware the iPad runs on ... oh sorry yes there is only 1 chipset and one manufacturer ...

      It will soon be
      iPad - is a device - Hardware and software bundled, which model do you want
      Win8Pad - is a device - Hardware from a limited set of partners plus software, which model do you want
      Android, run anywhere ....

      It looks like MS have spotted that Apple are doing quite well, are copying them, not realising that the market has

  • by MikeRT (947531) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @10:36AM (#36308080) Homepage

    I can only imagine that their goal is to limit the variety of tablets on the market in a vain attempt to make their partners design a few high quality devices. At this point, what Microsoft should be worried about is making sure that .NET and their other tools work exceedingly well on those ARM processors so that developers won't end up pulling out their hair trying to maintain compatibility.

    • by rickb928 (945187)

      It took almost 2 years and major hardware evolution for Flash to run on Android. To put it another way, it took major evolution in display acceleration and a major compromise in battery life to get Flash on Android. I have a G1. I remember the promises that Flash would come in the Spring of 2009. Ha.

      Apple still thumbs its nose at Adobe, ignoring Flash.

      If Microsoft can port .NET to ARM, it will open more options for them, but why would ARM developers WANT .NET? I know why Windows devs want it, but WM7 i

  • They've been doing this sort of thing with hardware vendors for quite a while. Nothing new here. Move along...

    • They probably had to cut back during their anti-trust overwatch. Which ended a couple of weeks ago.

      • I'd been wondering why M$ seemed somewhat less evil in recent years. That explains it. Oddly it reaffirms my faith in the universe to learn that. Thank you.

  • It seems Microsoft is jealous of Apple's ability to get people to accept heavy restrictions on mobile devices, and is attempting to enforce the same thing by leveraging their monopoly on Windows.

    Sadly, now is better than ever for vendors to give Microsoft the finger and go for other options yet we probably won't see it happen. Precisely because Microsoft is still, ten years later, a monopoly that can crush a vendor if they don't do what Microsoft says.

    • Sadly, now is better than ever for vendors to give Microsoft the finger and go for other options yet we probably won't see it happen. Precisely because Microsoft is still, ten years later, a monopoly that can crush a vendor if they don't do what Microsoft says.

      I think more likely that a vendor with laugh at Microsoft, spit in their face, and go with Android. Microsoft is a complete joke in the mobile segment.

      I liked Windows Mobile for a while, I think they were the only non-Nokia smartphones even available for years (have never liked Nokias for some reason) - but when Android started gathering momentum, I switched and have not looked back.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        I think more likely that a vendor with laugh at Microsoft, spit in their face, and go with Android. Microsoft is a complete joke in the mobile segment.

        Microsoft will simply pay anyone they can't strongarm. You think Netflix thought Silverlight was technically superior?

        • Possibly; I don't know anything about Silverlight. Flash is awful for rendering video, it's really designed for vector based stuff.. HTML5 and native YouTube apps perform better on my netbook and tablets. I expect Silverlight would have been planned from the outset to handle video, as well as the typical flashy Flash stuff.

          I get your point though ;)

      • by kybred (795293)

        I think more likely that a vendor with laugh at Microsoft, spit in their face, and go with Android.

        Maybe that's their plan [infoworld.com].

  • I dunno, but I think they are trying to do the right thing anyway.

    One of WinTel's biggest problems is its diversity. Developers do not follow the rules and worse, they make up their own rules. And with the diversity of hardware out there, the problem becomes even more complex. (No such thing as an IBM compatible any longer is there?)

    As this new market is being entered, controlling the target playing field is to Microsoft's advantage enabling them to increase the quality of the user experience. (And actu

    • by Microlith (54737)

      If that's really the problem, then Microsoft should just pull an xbox and release a console-ized version of the OS on locked down laptop hardware and call it the "xbook" or someshit.

      (And actually, it will help Android too as undoubtedly people will want to put Android on their over-powered tablet devices and with less variation in hardware, there will be fewer obstacles to overcome.)

      The distrustful part of me suspects that there will be requirements that bar the ability to load other OSes on these devices,

  • With MS releasing WinArm into the wilds in may just be that they are creating some rules about where to use ARM (tablets) and where to use x86 (everything else) so it doesn't just confuse and alienate the consumer.

  • When I worked at Cisco we had to have explicit signoff from an Executive VP to single source any component due to the risks involved. The supplier might have yield problems, they might have a plant get hit by an earthquake, they might discontinue the product, they might feel they can arbitrarily increase unit prices because they know we are single sourced, etc. To have a third party force that kind of risk on my company would really piss me off if I was an executive in charge of such a project.
  • Steve Ballmer is trying to save his job by making his product more like Steve Jobs'.
  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @11:07AM (#36308480)
    Anybody read the story and is confused by this restriction? The reason I am confused is that normally the chipmakers are not the ones driving the integration of devices. The device manufacturers like Acer, Apple, Samsung, etc are the ones that pick and integrate the hardware and software. The chipmakers may work with the device makers but they ultimately are not in charge and possibly don't care. The chipmakers care mostly about selling as many chips as possible to as many device makers. Even Samsung sells chips to companies that compete with Samsung's devices. Anybody understand this better than I do?
    • by Nerdfest (867930)
      Microsoft has a lot more power over the chip makers than they do over the device manufacturers.
      • How? MS may have some power over Intel and AMD. TI, Samsung, Qualcomm, Sharp, Freescale etc. care very little about the OS that their customers pair with their chips. At most they might provide some technical assistance now and then but it is up to the device maker to work on integration.
  • "So it looks like Android with it's open and diverse platform is a rousing success with market penetration the envy of all. But we're the best, we're Microsoft and if that puny Apple can do it with a locked down, narrowly focused platform then we definitely will. Now about this crazy talk of me stepping down..."
  • Every time Windows 8 is mentioned, it's about running it on ARM-powered tablets. Is Windows 8 a tablet-only operating system? Or is it also for use on desktop PC's? I don't get it.

    If Windows 8 is also for desktop PC's, then Windows 7's lifetime was awfully short, as Windows 8 is due for release in 2012 as far as I know. It's very possible that by that time, Windows XP's market share is still larger than that of Windows 7 (as it is currently about 2:1 for XP vs W7, with XP's market share just above 50% and W

    • by 0123456 (636235)

      A desperate attempt to get some upgrade income by forcing people to buy yet another version of Windows if they want the next DirectX which no game other than those developed by Microsoft will use for five years?

    • by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @12:01PM (#36309108) Journal

      It'll also bite them to call the tablet OS "Windows 8" if there is also a PC OS called "Windows 8".

      What Apple did which was smart marketing, was not to use the "OS X" brand for the tablet/phone, even though iOS is indeed based on OS X. They called it something completely different, so customers will never think "Oh, my iPad runs OS X, therefore I can run $RANDOM_MAC_APP on my iPad!"

      What will happen is people will buy ARM-based Windows 8 tablets and find most applications for Windows 8 won't actually run because they are Intel binaries (and most apps for Windows aren't .NET so .NET won't save them). So the early adopters will voice their disappointment that their Windows 8 tablet doesn't run most Windows apps. Now if Microsoft didn't insist on calling their tablet and phone OS "Windows", they could break this association and set different expectations.

      • What will happen is people will buy ARM-based Windows 8 tablets and find most applications for Windows 8 won't actually run because they are Intel binaries

        And half the Xbox library doesn't run on Xbox 360. And Windows 3.1 apps don't run on Windows Vista 64-bit or Windows 7 Starter or Home Premium 64-bit. (I haven't had a chance to try them in Windows XP Mode on Windows 7 Professional.)

        and most apps for Windows aren't .NET

        Yet. If Windows 8 is really intended to unify Windows NT and Windows Phone, then perhaps Microsoft will require all apps carrying a "designed for Windows 8" logo to be rewritten for Silverlight or XNA, just like it already requires of all apps for Windows Phone 7 or Xbox Live In

        • by 0123456 (636235)

          And half the Xbox library doesn't run on Xbox 360. And Windows 3.1 apps don't run on Windows Vista 64-bit or Windows 7 Starter or Home Premium 64-bit. (I haven't had a chance to try them in Windows XP Mode on Windows 7 Professional.)

          So which store are you buying your Windows 3.1 apps from? We're not even talking about old Windows apps here, we're talking about ordinary everyday Windows apps that you buy and try to install on your tablet and it doesn't work.

          And while I haven't tried it, I strongly suspect that 32-bit Windows 3.1 apps will run on 64-bit Windows 7; it's the 16-bit apps that can't run on a 64-bit x86.

          Yet. If Windows 8 is really intended to unify Windows NT and Windows Phone, then perhaps Microsoft will require all apps carrying a "designed for Windows 8" logo to be rewritten for Silverlight or XNA, just like it already requires of all apps for Windows Phone 7 or Xbox Live Indie Games.

          Yeah, that'll work. 'I bought this Windows game and it won't run on my tablet 'Look on the back of the box, does it say it's

    • by tepples (727027)

      If Windows 8 is also for desktop PC's, then Windows 7's lifetime was awfully short

      If Windows 7's lifetime (which began in October 2009) was awfully short, then Windows Vista's lifetime (which began in November 2006) was awfully short

      • by dingen (958134)
        It was. Vista's market share peaked at somewhere around 20%. The only reason why W7 was released was due to the unfixable nature of Vista's bad reputation. Technologically speaking, W7 is more like a service pack than a separate release.
    • The delay like the one between XP and Vista is not typical of Windows relase schedule - think back to Win 95/98/XP. So, no, it's not too early.

    • by brentrad (1013501)
      Windows 7 was Released To Manufacturers (RTM) on July 22, 2009. Windows 8 is scheduled for sometime in 2012. So three years, which is actually a totally normal span of time for Microsoft to release a new OS. It took five years between XP and Vista, so if you're used to that, three years for a new MS OS seems like a really short time span. Windows 7 has seen a very rapid uptake, but the problem is that there are a LOT of Windows XP computers out there. And until those computers die, lots of people will
  • by chill (34294) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @11:13AM (#36308550) Journal

    Apple went it alone, and while they've had their share of heartache, they eventually built the shining behemoth they are today.

    Microsoft never did that. *IBM* built their market, and Microsoft rode in on the coattails. (See the history of PC-DOS vs MS-DOS.) They certainly took advantage, but *THEY* did not build the market, IBM did.

    As far as I can tell, they've NEVER built ANY market. They've always come in as a Johnny-Come-Lately. The 900 lb gorilla J-C-L, but never-the-less, not the innovator.

    In the past few years it seems their entire business plan could be summed up simply as "Whatever Google is doing, plus Windows and Office".

    Their stock has floundered under the leadership, or lack thereof, of Steve "Monkey Boy" Ballmer. They need a new direction, and since all they know how to do is emulate, they might as well emulate the most successful company they can find.

    • by dingen (958134)

      In the past few years it seems their entire business plan could be summed up simply as "Whatever Google is doing, plus Windows and Office".

      You're really not telling the whole story here. Microsoft also take into account what Amazon, Apple, Nintendo and Sony (XBOX!) are doing.

  • It will be interesting to see how MS do in a market where there is no lockin to office/exchange and where there are already successful competitors in the marketplace shipping very good products.

    This could be one of the few times where MS have to compete on their own merits rather than their usual practice of havings Windows as the centre of everything.
  • Now two eyes scanned the horizon for the tiny penguin fighters.

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