Microsoft Hardware Rules ‘Troublesome’ for Makers, Acer Says

Microsoft Corp. is putting “troublesome” restrictions on makers of processors used to run the coming Windows tablet-computer operating system, Acer Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer J.T. Wang said.

“They’re really controlling the whole thing, the whole process,” Wang said at the Computex trade show in Taipei without identifying the restrictions. Chip suppliers and PC makers “all feel it’s very troublesome,” he said.

Microsoft will unveil a Windows operating system with a touch-screen interface for tablet computers this week, three people familiar with the company’s plans said last week. Acer, the No. 3 maker of personal computers in 2010, is among PC makers that expect to sell more tablet computers once the operating system is introduced to narrow the gap with Apple Inc.’s iPad.

Windows President Steven Sinofsky is scheduled to make a presentation at the All Things D conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, this week while Vice President Steve Guggenheimer will address Computex.

Microsoft, the world’s largest software maker, will showcase the interface running on hardware with an Nvidia Corp. Tegra chip, the people said last week, declining to be identified because the plans are confidential.

Mark Martin, a spokesman for Microsoft, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment today.

Tighter controls on how hardware makers use Windows may enable Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft to bring devices to the market more quickly and ensure they run smoothly.

Microsoft is rushing to release a version of Windows compatible with chip technology from ARM Holdings Plc so Windows-based tablet computers can compete with Apple’s iPad, which controls an estimated 64 percent of the tablet market.

The global market will almost quadruple this year to 70 million units from 18 million in 2010, according to estimates in a May 17 report by Jefferies Group Inc. Apple will control about 64 percent of the tablet market this year, dropping to 41 percent in 2012, when 158 million units probably will be sold, according to the report.