A high-ranking executive of Microsoft Corp. said that while there are makers, who decided to use Google Android operating system on their tablets, which are to be unveiled during Computex Taipei 2010 trade-show, in the long-term Windows operating system will still be more popular on desktops, notebooks and slates.
“There are always lots of noises at the beginning of new category. When netbooks were introduced three years ago, it was 95% not on Windows, and three years later it is 95% on Windows,” Steve Guggenheimer, a corporate vice president who oversees Microsoft's relationships with PC makers and other hardware companies, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.
In fact, Microsoft helped tablet PCs to become valuable tools for professionals many years ago. However, Microsoft and its partners have not managed to drive tablets to the mainstream market, partly because clients did not need them, partly because there was a lack of infrastructure to consumer content on them.
At present developers of slates are focused around creation of services that allow to buy/download new content or software onto slates, whereas Microsoft still has to rely on its traditional Windows-based infrastructure, which is sometimes an overkill for solving simple problems. Moreover, there are a lot of makers, including Acer, Dell, HP and others, who decided to use Android instead of Windows since the latter did not support ARM processors, which are more energy-efficient than traditional x86 chips, yet, cannot deliver comparable performance.
But the hardware and software world is not stagnating. Next year Advanced Micro Devices plans to release x86 chips for tablets that integrate DirectX 11-class graphics along with mainstream microprocessor performance. Intel Corp. is also working on similar projects with first results due later this year. As a result, it may turn out that there will be two different classes of slates: Google Android-based systems with ARM processors inside that will not be truly powerful and Microsoft Windows-based with decent performance and x86 performance and compatibility.
Mr. Guggenheimer claims that computer manufacturers are currently experimenting with Android, but that Microsoft's support for Windows 7 will be seen as more valuable over time.
"There are two things you have to look at: Is free really free, and what does that mean over time? Windows has proven to be a phenomenal platform for our partners to make money. They know we are going to continue to build support to the operating system,” the high-ranking executive said.