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Asus Kills Dual-boot Notebook to Please Microsoft, Google

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+.

  • Lutfij
    Whats stopping folks from doing a bit of dual booting alchemy of their own?
    Reply
  • TyrOd
    Whats stopping folks from doing a bit of dual booting alchemy of their own?
    Driver support and extremely limited(locked-down) BIOS options.
    Reply
  • Lutfij
    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.
    Reply
  • 11796pcs
    "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.
    Reply
  • ericburnby
    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.
    Reply
  • bystander
    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.
    Reply
  • antilycus
    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?
    Reply
  • Ian Mahaney
    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.
    Reply
  • therealduckofdeath
    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.
    Reply
  • AndrewMD
    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
    Reply