Microsoft Corp showed off a version of its next operating system at technology conferences in the United States and Taipei, as some PC makers grumbled over restrictions on their involvement in the development of the system.
The world’s largest software company is expected to launch the new system, code-named Windows 8 and highlighting touchscreen features optimised for tablet computers, in the next 18 months, as it races to catch up with Apple.
But Microsoft has told chipmakers who want to use the system for tablets to work with only one manufacturer to speed up the delivery, Bloomberg and Dow Jones news reported, sparking worries among some PC vendors that they will be left out.
In demonstrations at the D9 conference in Palos Verdes, California, and the Computex show in Taipei, executives showed Microsoft is making progress toward the new operating system.
The company said it was “not out of the game” in tablets, a view backed by some in the industry.
“This represents a fundamental shift in Windows design that we haven't attempted since the days of Windows 95,” Mike Angiulo, corporate vice president of Windows Planning, Hardware and PC Ecosystem at Microsoft, said in a statement.
“Today Apple is first on one thing and Microsoft is first for another and, overall, it's going to be a race and whatever customers will like, they will buy,” said Adrian Crisan, Sony’s director of engineering for VAIO and Mobile of America.
Some Taiwanese vendors are concerned that the reported restrictions mean they would have to be chosen by chipmakers to make tablet PCs for the new Windows operating system. Previously PC vendors could choose their own partners.
“By missing those chances, is it good for the whole industry?” said Jim Wong, president of world No 2 PC vendor Acer. “This industry doesn't belong to Microsoft or Google, it belongs to all participants.”
“So they can't make the decision for all of us. That’s the problem,” Wong said.