Summary: Microsoft is destroying independence in the OEM market (for everyone) in order to ensure that Linux suffers artificial limitations and that Windows monoculture stays for a while longer
Microsoft not only enjoys the privilege of using blackmail to monetise Linux/Android (which in itself is probably a violation of some laws as extortion [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] is covered by the RICO Act). According to reports, Microsoft is now also distorting the hardware market, just as it did when GNU/Linux was thriving on sub-notebooks. We wrote about it in a lot of posts around 2008 and 2009.
Using manipulative tactics that should be investigated promptly, Microsoft is trying to discourage the use of Android on form factors favourable to that platform. It shows how miserable Microsoft has become, descending to a competition at the hardware layer. The company has lost the plot and even Microsoft boosters like Paul DeGroot [1, 2, 3, 4] continue to acknowledge the problem with “Software Assurance” for example (lock-in by choice, which businesses no longer accept). Found via this blog was this report from Bloomberg. Malroy has surveyed the material, quoting an interesting post titled “Acer: Microsoft hardware rules ‘very troublesome’” (watch out for Microsoft MVPs in the comments because we see them there).
“They’re really controlling the whole thing, the whole process – all feel it’s very troublesome,” to put that title in context. “However, if the restrictions are designed to hobble tablets to prevent them cannibalizing Windows PC sales (something we’ve seen Microsoft do to netbooks), then that’s definitely not good for consumers.” B&N complained about it too.
“MS hopes to control the hardware that is produced and therefore also what hardware that Android goes on as well”
–Chips B. Malroy“Ask why Windows Tablets did not do well back in Gates day? They have been out for a long time,” remarks Malroy. “Could it be that Bill wanted them to run on a laptop that cost four times as much? Sure would make it easy to hide the price of windows on those. Fujitsu lifebooks were some of the old tablets or touch screen laptops [...] MS simply did not have any motive for tablets to replace the current model PC. Unless the price was more so they could raise the price of windows. [...] And we know how well those tablets sold. It will be hard to hide the price of windows on a $200 computer” (not to mention what they do with patents)
“MS hopes to control the hardware that is produced and therefore also what hardware that Android goes on as well,” Malroy explains. “This appears to be some sort of anticompetitive move by MS” (for sure).
Malroy quotes the original: “Microsoft is rushing to release a version of Windows compatible with chip technology from ARM Holdings Plc (ARM) so Windows-based tablet computers can compete with Apple’s iPad, which controls an estimated 64 percent of the tablet market.”
He remarks: “notice the keyword here, rushing. MS is ‘rushing’ out windows 8 on an unwary public [...] but perhaps MS does it best work when they rush something out? After all they had 5 to 7 years to get Vista out the door, and it was still rushed. If they truly rush out a reused product like windows, they have less time to harm it” (see our page about “Microsoft’s Fight Against Sub-notebooks and GNU/Linux at ASUS”). █