It’s not all roses and tablets at Computex. The world’s largest software firm is asking chipmakers to pare down the variety of Windows-powered mobile devices. In a somewhat radical move, Microsoft is offering chipmakers eager to develop tablets using the upcoming Windows 8 OS an incentive to begin an exclusive partnership with one device maker called a “sole alliance.”
The “sole alliance” plan means that chipmakers such as Intel or AMD would chose a computer maker like Dell or HP, essentially tying the chipmaker into one design. The plan is reminiscent of last year’s dictates regarding software and design on Windows Phone 7. In order to increase production speed and establish a feeling of continuity on the new smart phones, Microsoft levied specific design guidelines and only opened app development to a limited number of developers.
To persuade computer manufacturers and chipmakers to accept the voluntary, but restrictive new plan, Microsoft is offering a couple of incentives. One perk is a lower software prices while another incentive will include features to make the device run better. Chipmakers will also have the option of working with a second computer manufacturer to create a netbook-like device that will run Windows 8.
The prospect of faster development, device uniformity, and the elimination of numerous software variations make this a win for Microsoft, but chipmakers may be left holding the short end of the stick.Acer Chief Executive Officer and Chairman J.T. Wang, voiced his displeasure at the proposed plan.
“They’re really controlling the whole thing, the whole process. They try to set the game rules and chip suppliers and PC makers all feel it’s very troublesome.”
There are also reports that Taiwan-based companies HTC, Acer, and ASUSTek have been left out of the new plan in favor of Intel, AMD, Texas Instruments, Qualcomm and Nvidia. The chosen companies will have first-round picks of device manufacturers Dell, HP, and Samsung. However, Microsoft is reportedly holding an event on June 2 to address how Taiwanese companies will figure in to Microsoft’s plans in the months leading to Windows 8 release.