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.