The prospect of dual-booting, hybrid devices — those that are capable of running more than one operating system — has been greeted with excitement and dread in just about equal measure. There has been talk about various devices for some time now and earlier in the year at CES, Asustek announced the upcoming Transformer Book Duet TD300. Now it seems as though the Taiwanese company is bowing to pressure from Microsoft and Google, causing the device to be indefinitely postponed.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Asustek will now not be releasing the dual-OS device in the foreseeable future. Citing ‘people familiar with the situation’, the newspaper says that “software companies have ways to exert pressure to deter the propagation of dual-OS products”.
It is understandable that Microsoft would not want to share the limelight with Google (and probably vice versa), even if there is call for device that are capable of running both Windows and Android. Permitting — if that’s the correct word — such devices to be released does run the risk of diluting the value of both operating systems.
An internal memo seen by the Wall Street Journal also suggests that Asustech will stop selling the previously launched Asus Transformer AiO P1801 and P1802 all-in-one PCs. Claims are made that Microsoft’s disapproval of dual-OS devices stems from the suggestions that the company owns some of the patents used by Android — having the two operating systems side by side make the situations very awkward.
At the moment it is not clear whether Microsoft has been flexing its muscles, or whether Asustech has merely had a change of heart. It does seem strange that a type of device for which there is at least some demand should be dropped. Conspiracy theorists’ minds will be working overtime right now.
Microsoft insists that it “will continue to invest with OEMs to promote best-in-class OEM and Microsoft experiences to our joint customers”, but what do you think? Is innovation being stifled by patent disputes and companies wielding too much power over others?Further reading: Google, Microsoft