Microsoft bitter as Intel pushes Linux for pocket PCs

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When they were called UMPCs or HPCs and ran Windows, they were worthy of grand marketing campaigns. But now pocket PCs are called MIDs and run Linux instead, Microsoft says the whole concept is bad. From BusinessWeek:

“I’m not sure there’s a third category of device” between a cell phone and a netbook, says Andy Lees, a senior vice-president in Microsoft’s mobile communications business. “The thing that distinguishes a phone is it goes in your pocket or purse. If you have a six-inch screen, that’s no-man’s land.”

The irony won’t be lost on anyone who has watched Microsoft’s decade-worth of attempts to sell these overpriced, underpowered toys. Perhaps they’re simply wising up, you may think — but it would be an odd time to, given that handheld PCs are finally starting to sell due to the combination of better hardware and slimmer software tailored to the form.

For Intel, whose Atom chips lie at the heart of these devices, increased MID sales would be doubly pleasing: they don’t cannibalize laptop sales the way netbooks do.

The ties that once bound it to Microsoft seem thin indeed:

Intel is stocking up on staff skilled in the operating system that will run the devices. One of the world’s most experienced Linux programmers, Alan Cox, will join Intel from Red Hat (RHT) in March and work on projects including Moblin. “They were more than happy to have him there,” says Paul Cormier, an executive vice-president at Red Hat. At the beginning of January, Intel brought on board Peter Anvin, another key Linux developer.

Intel is also paying special attention to MIDs’ software to try to ensure users find the devices compelling. The devices will feature new capabilities like touchscreens that recognize users’ gestures and a graphical user interface that employs 3D and translucent icons.

Intel Readies Push into Mobile Internet Devices [businessWeek]

About Rob Beschizza

Rob Beschizza is the Managing Editor of Boing Boing. He's @beschizza on Twitter and can be found on Facebook too. Try your luck at besc...@gmail.com

 

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