Microsoft One-Tablet-Per-IC Scheme Seen As Cheeky
The news that Microsoft is saying that its Windows 8 tablet OS requires chip-makers to restrict their IC designs to one tablet design each, is the biggest piece of industry cheek since Intel went sole-source on the x86.
It transpires that Microsoft has asked Intel, AMD, Nvidia, Qualcomm and TI to choose a single hardware manufacturer each to develop ICs for tablets using Windows 8.
However yesterday’s announcement of TI’s latest OMAP platform suggests it may not be toeing the Microsoft line.
The OMAP announcement states: ‘Mobile computing and gaming applications running on operating systems such as Android, Linux and the next version of Microsoft Windows will benefit from the OMAP4470 processor’s enhanced capabilities.’
That rather suggests that TI envisages a wider market for OMAP4470 than a single tablet manufacturer.
So far not a single chip-maker has made a public reponse to the Microsoft initiative.
Nor has it been revealed which tablet manufacturers have been given the Microsoft imprimatur, or which OEM is teamed up with which chip-maker.
However the biggest likely manufacturers of Windows-based tablets are HP, LG, Toshiba, Asus, Acer, Dell, Samsung, RIM and Lenovo- more OEMs than there are chip-makers.
One wall-flower could be Acer, the world’s second largest PC maker, which has been the most vociferous opponent of Microsoft’s attempt to control the OEM-semiconductor relationships. That suggests Acer is not included in Microsoft’s pairing scheme.
Microsoft says its scheme is to ensure tablets works well with Windows 8.
Alternative OSes for tablets are, of course, the Apple OS for its iPad which no one else can use, and the Android OS which everyone can use.
Quite whether the hardware industry will swallow Microsoft’s supremely cheeky initiative is currently unknown.