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Asus Kills Dual-boot Notebook to Please Microsoft, Google

By - Source: WSJ | B 29 comments

The dual-boot machine that almost was.

Dual-boot or multiboot systems are nothing new, but it looks like neither Microsoft nor Google are too jazzed about the idea of their operating systems living together on the same machine. In fact, they're unhappy enough that it put the kibosh on a newly-announced dual-boot system from Asus. Announced at CES in January, the Transformer Book Duet ran both Microsoft Windows and Google's Android OS. It was supposed to be available for purchase this month. Instead, the company has canned the idea for the foreseeable future.

A report in the Wall Street Journal says the device was probably canceled due to Microsoft and Google's feelings on the issue. The WSJ says Asus faced pressure from Google and Microsoft and that the device has been indefinitely postponed. In an industry where products are announced, shipped, relegated to the bargain bin and then redesigned and re-announced all in the space of a year, an 'indefinite postponing' is as bad as it gets. Especially if that product had already been announced and was well on its way to launch.

While dual-boot Windows and Android may not have appealed to everyone, the fact that Google and Microsoft are actively trying to stop these kinds of devices from making it to market is disappointing. Because these companies now have a hand in every pot (desktop, tablets, mobile, web), they see little need to involve anyone else in what they're doing, regardless of whether the consumer who prefers Windows for desktop over anything else is also a die-hard Android fan and developer.

We reached out to Google, Asus, Intel, and Microsoft for comment on this story. So far, only Intel and Microsoft have gotten back to us. The former says it works to support OEMs and their desires as well as what works best on its own architecture. Microsoft didn't comment on whether or not the report was true, nor did it really explain how it feels about dual-OS systems. A Microsoft spokesperson said the following:

"Our policies have not changed, Microsoft will continue to invest with OEMs to promote best in class OEM and Microsoft experiences to our joint customers."

Neither Asus nor Google got back to us at time of posting.

Curious to know more about the dual-booting notebook that never was? Check out our hands-on preview video of the Asus Transformer Duet here.

Follow Jane McEntegart @JaneMcEntegart. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

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  • -3 Hide
    Lutfij , March 14, 2014 4:44 PM
    Whats stopping folks from doing a bit of dual booting alchemy of their own?
  • 13 Hide
    TyrOd , March 14, 2014 5:06 PM
    Quote:
    Whats stopping folks from doing a bit of dual booting alchemy of their own?
    Driver support and extremely limited(locked-down) BIOS options.
  • -2 Hide
    Lutfij , March 14, 2014 5:15 PM
    True but you'll see a niche form that will address the concerns you've mentioned. Most probable that it won't be legal but then again you have people going on about torrents in a world where that sort of activity can land you in jail.

    Not refuting you, just saying it possible to take form in a small manner. Here's hoping it does happen legally at least.
  • 4 Hide
    11796pcs , March 14, 2014 5:41 PM
    "Our policies have not changed, Microsoft will continue to invest with OEMs to promote best in class OEM and Microsoft experiences to our joint customers."This is worse than not responding at all.
  • 1 Hide
    ericburnby , March 14, 2014 6:06 PM
    banmaster: Bingo. Microsoft had nothing to lose. People using Android and Windows on the same device would soon see how limited Android was, and end up just using Windows.

    The only company that would be negatively affected would be Google. And Google has put their foot down before when Acer tried to release a phone running a forked version if Android.

    I bet it's all Google and not MS.
  • 1 Hide
    bystander , March 14, 2014 6:14 PM
    I'd say Microsoft is the only one to loose on a dual boot system, unless it shows far superior in all things. MS has a huge market share lead. There is nothing to gain for them, but Google can get into more households on a dual boost system. It allows people familiar with Windows to try out Chrome, rather than just going with the familiar.I'm quite shocked that Google would not want this.
  • 0 Hide
    antilycus , March 14, 2014 6:20 PM
    Microsoft and UEFI, along with the OEM's have done a fantastic job of making sure you can't install anything else. UEFI has eliminated the need to for License Keys (on MS) and if you want one, they make you pay for a license for the non UEFI (speaking from first hand experience w/ a preloaded WIN 8 lenovo) license, so you can actually do dual boot. So instead, I have made it a goal in life to never recommend Microsoft based products to any customer ( companies with multi millions of dollars to spend on I.T. Budget ) ever again. No MS SQL, no Microsoft GP, no MS Exchange, no MS Office, no MS Outlook, no MS Server, no MS Active Directory, nothing. Microsoft has proven that can't can lead a camel to water, so why keep giving them the camels?
  • -1 Hide
    Ian Mahaney , March 14, 2014 7:52 PM
    Ridiculous. I was looking forward to this device and already saving up for it. I hope Asus still releases the device itself whether it be only Windows or only Android.
  • 2 Hide
    therealduckofdeath , March 14, 2014 7:53 PM
    Both companies has pushed equally hard to make sure a device isn't sold with both systems on them. It's bad business no matter what position you're in. Microsoft themselves has much of their success to thank for IBM not understanding this around 25 years ago.
  • -3 Hide
    AndrewMD , March 14, 2014 8:25 PM
    The problem with dual booting OSes is that most consumers would not benefit from it. Windows is a better desktop OS and Android is just better with being a tablet or phone
  • 0 Hide
    brandonjclark , March 14, 2014 8:51 PM
    IMO dual-boot will never be a mass option. We need integrated functionality, not segregation.
  • 2 Hide
    BranFlake5 , March 14, 2014 9:23 PM
    It's a shame...Why can't Microsoft and Google just friggin' get along. Google "We have the best search engine"Microsoft "Bing is betta cuz it's not google"Google "We gave the web a kick-ass browser"Microsoft "We 'didn't' intentionally slow it down on Windows 8, Try IE though"Google "We have a great email client"Microsoft "Your getting scroogled guys!!!"Google "We made a new open phone OS"Microsoft "They're still scroogling you"Google "We made a simple internet OS and free software"Microsoft "Chrome OS sux, google docs is scroogling u 2 guys"Frankly, there seems like no good reason for the two to compete so much. Collaboration brings us the greatest inventions. Google dominates the web and open tools and Microsoft dominates in paid software and a full feature OS.
  • -1 Hide
    ethanolson , March 14, 2014 10:33 PM
    Microsoft doesn't have a license scenario for multi-platform systems outside of FPP, which would cost more than double the OEM license price. Google probably doesn't know how to approach it either. Why confuse the consumer and take support calls with finger pointing when you can just not update your licensing and avoid the whole thing?!
  • 6 Hide
    back_by_demand , March 15, 2014 12:51 AM
    Quote:
    I'd say Microsoft is the only one to loose on a dual boot system, unless it shows far superior in all things. MS has a huge market share lead. There is nothing to gain for them, but Google can get into more households on a dual boost system. It allows people familiar with Windows to try out Chrome, rather than just going with the familiar.I'm quite shocked that Google would not want this.
    There is nothing that Android does that Windows cannot do, it may be popular but let's not fool ourselves, Android is not a full desktop OS. It isn't full Linux and all the things most people use Android for can be done on Windows without having to swap between OSs. Microsoft's statement is pretty clear - "We think Android is crap"
  • 1 Hide
    alyoshka , March 15, 2014 1:13 AM
    Well , this is surprising, since the Acer Aspire One Netbook I bought for my kid 4 years ago had the same dual boot thing with XP and Android....That of course gave new users a feel of the future of the cellphone OS to come....But I really don't think it is the slightest bit of competition in the PC market....the droids fine for portable stuff, doing small things .... can't see it replacing the other Desktop/PC/Laptop OS's in the near future.....Touch or no touch, I just can't see myself seeing people tapping on the onscreen keyboard for ages to come....
  • -8 Hide
    TobyStanley , March 15, 2014 2:11 AM
    I don't think I will be interested in such product.
  • -4 Hide
    kawininjazx , March 15, 2014 5:57 AM
    It's a great idea, let the kids play with Android so they don't infect your Windows.
  • 5 Hide
    rwinches , March 15, 2014 6:22 AM
    This already exists in a large version
    https://www.asus.com/AllinOne_PCs/ASUS_Transformer_AiO_P1801/

    Available at Amazon
    http://www.amazon.com/ASUS-Transformer-P1801-B037K-18-4-Inch-Desktop/dp/B00BWHILC4
  • 5 Hide
    SirGCal , March 15, 2014 7:16 AM
    Quote:
    It's a great idea, let the kids play with Android so they don't infect your Windows.
    Android has it's own share of malware, viruses, etc. Especially in the 'free' apps which many (more then one would think) contain data collection. Android itself doesn't stop 'infection'.
  • 2 Hide
    teh_chem , March 15, 2014 7:58 AM
    I think this had more to do with the recent Android licensing agreements that Google/Android re-negotiated regarding licensing of google services. Google/Android recently significantly reduced the per-device license fee for Google Services. My guess is that under the new terms of significantly reduced licensing fees for google services, comes a clause that nixes running multiple OS's on these devices. ASUS was probably happy to get the significantly-reduced license fee per-device for google services, and decided to axe their dual tablet (though aside, I can't quite rationalize the market/demographic for the price point they think consumers are going to be buying a device like this, and the form-factor; lots of people are fine paying $1200+ for a windows machine, but at the same time, not a lot prefer, at that price point, to have a large Android tablet; most have preferred the 7-8" form factors for android tablets. At least, myself, I don't like 10" android tablets).
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