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Intel-Microsoft Collusion in Sub-notebooks: A Smoking Gun

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Summary: More compelling evidence for ongoing investigation into price-fixing

A FEW months ago, people alleged that Intel colluded with Microsoft and/or OEMs. Based on the latest finding (original source), it is more or less evident:

There is collaboration, and there is collusion. According to Digitimes, Microsoft and Intel have reached an agreement that the next generation of Netbooks will not have displays larger than 10.2 inches. Vendors that insist on making minilaptops with larger LCDs will not be eligible for the lower Windows 7 volume licensing rates for these machines.


And not a moment too soon, Dells puts the kibosh on its Mini 12. Coincidence?

As Will put it, "Now, for all I know, maybe the 12 inch ones aren't the hot sellers. But that's how the OEM's will likely spin it regardless. Only they know for sure about that."

There is already an investigation going on, courtesy of the Russian Antimonopoly Service. For a little more background, also see:



Here is an overview and another report about this harm to the consumers (elimination of competition with kickbacks, followed by price-fixing).

In our Lenovo announces ION graphics-based IdeaPad S12 netbook article yesterday, readers debated whether or not the manufacturer's latest foray into the mini PC world was truly a "mini" PC, what with its 12.1'' screen.

As Microsoft had it, 12.1'' was the maximum limit for a PC to be considered a netbook, meaning anything up to and including that size would receive the discount for a netbook version of a given Windows operating system.

Today we learn Intel and Microsoft have agreed upon a new standard -- 10.2'', according to Taiwan-based ODM, who manufacture notebooks.


According to this new report, ARM is coming to the West very soon.

New rumors peg the long-awaited arrival of ARM-based netbooks, often called "smartbooks," for the final quarter of this year. They probably won't dethrone Atom, but they will give the platform a taste of what it did to the laptop.


On ARM chipsets, GNU/Linux will not need to compete against Windows. If new reports are correct, then the only competition GNU/Linux will have is a highly crippled hack of Windows, called "Windows Embedded". It is hardly even compatible with any third-party software and moreover it's antiquated.

The pint-sized ‘Windows Embedded’ OS is set to join its desktop and smartphone cousins in Microsoft’s war against ‘little Linux’ distros such as Android and Mobilin.

[...]

Many of these run on ARM and MIPS processors instead of Intel’s x86-based silicon, and all of them favour Linux as their OS of choice.


Microsoft has had no shame when it conspired not only against GNU/Linux but also against sub-notebooks in general, i.e. against the consumers. The chances of doing this on ARM are very slim.

“In our association we operate as a consortium, like the open source consortium. They want to promote open source and Linux. But if you begin from the PC you are afraid of Microsoft. They try to go to the smart phone or PDA to start again.”

--Li Chang, vice president of the Taipei Computer Association

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