June 05, 2012

PC Makers After Windows 8

The unspoken question that this Gillmor Gang should have raised is this : how long will PC hardware manufacturers tether themselves to Microsoft's sinking ship?

The gang give compelling reasons why Windows 8 has little to recommend it, but still assume that it will sell tens of millions of copies because of enterprise inertia. But enterprise inertia isn't the only reason for Windows's success. PC makers resolutely refuse to sell their machines with any other OS pre-installed. None of the big names offer, say, Ubuntu as a direct alternative OS on their web-sites. And while Asus has flirted with Android netbooks, this is restricted to specific hardware models.

If you're HP, Dell, Lenovo or Asus you must be wondering what Plan B is, should Windows 8 fail to wow the critics or kick-start a surge in Windows upgrading.

Unless Windows 8 is pretty spectacularly popular with consumer early adopters you're likely to see a bit of a rout in the Windows world, as enterprises decide to stick to XP / Windows 7 (keeping up the demand for 7) while continuing to encourage their staff to bring their own iPads to work. Internal iOS app. development will accelerate and Windows 8 will essentially have failed to win M$ a place in the tablet market.

And what will the major PC makers do then? They'd love to be able to sell iOS devices. But that's not the Apple way. So they are stuck. Are they so adapted to being Microsoft partners that they are literally incapable of making any independent move? Who will be the first to jump out of bed with Microsoft and offer, say, Android or ChromeOS on an equal footing to Windows 8?
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