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Microsoft looks to expand influence over PC makers

James Niccolai, IDG News Service | June 2, 2011
As it works to bring its touch-enabled Windows 8 operating system to market, Microsoft is trying to extend its influence over PC makers to ensure they build systems that are best able to run its new software.

But it's unclear how PC makers will respond to Microsoft's efforts to expand its influence on their products. And those efforts may extend further than the hardware design, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal Wednesday.

Citing unnamed sources, the Journal reported that Microsoft is requiring microprocessor makers to each partner with one PC maker, to help bring new Windows tablets to market quickly.

Steve Guggenheimer, the head of Microsoft's OEM business, declined to comment when asked about the report ahead of Thursday's Windows 8 event. Officials from Texas Instruments and Qualcomm also declined to comment.

Microsoft will also introduce a new product activation system with Windows 8, called OEM Activation 3.0, Angiulo said.

"This is a digital product-key technology that's going to streamline the configuration and development process for building PCs," he said. "For end users it means a seamless activation experience, and for partners it will streamline their supply chain operations when we're building PCs together."

He didn't provide further details. Activation keys are a way for Microsoft to ensure people are using legitimate, licensed versions of its software, as part of its efforts to fight piracy.

 

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