updated 07:25 am EDT, Thu June 2, 2011
Microsoft delays IDP after vendor outrage
Microsoft has delayed its Windows 8 program after vendor outrage over the extremely tight restrictions that it would have placed on chip vendors and OEMs developing Windows 8 devices. DigiTimes is reporting that Microsoft has postponed its Integrated Development Program (IDP) for Windows 8 over the next two weeks. After undertaking further discussions with chip and hardware vendors, Microsoft expects to issue a revised IDP. Acer is one of the hardware vendors particularly unhappy with planned Microsoft's restrictions.
The aim of the Microsoft's IDP is to create a consistent user experience for devices running Windows 8, much like its has attempted to do with its Windows Phone 7 programs. While there are several Windows Phone 7 vendors, they are all subject to very strict design rules. It is an attempt by Microsoft to attempt to emulate Apple's successful strategy of maintaining tight control over its OS and hardware experience. However, as Microsoft does not have any apparent plans to develop either Windows Phone 7 hardware of its own, or Windows 8 devices, such restrictions are a difficult sell to vendors used to an open market.
With Windows 8, Microsoft was planning to restrict each one of the five select major chip vendors to working directly with only up to two hardware partners on a limited number of Windows 8 devices. Hardware vendors that were likely to be excluded from the IDP for developing Windows 8 notebooks included Acer and ASUS. Chip vendors also did not want to offend hardware partners by choosing one over another, or being forced to work with a company that they did not already have a strong relationship.
Another factor that may have motivated Microsoft to adopt such a tight Windows 8 device development regime is that if had chosen to operate an open program as in the past, it may not have had the manpower to address technical concerns that could emerge with the devices running Windows 8 on ARM-based architecture for the first time.
Regardless of its motivations, Microsoft's suspension of the IDP while it seeks to resolve the issues demonstrates its commitment to trying to get the best possible devices in users hands when the more tablet-friendly OS launches in 2012 as expected. However, it will first need to deliver a scheme that is more acceptable to its partners.