Screw OEMs

So yeah Microsoft is finally jumping into the tablet market. I mean technically they tried with the courier but they killed it before it ever went to production… Good move? who knows. Anyhow, they’re back in again and doing it right.

Oh yeah, Google is too, and they’re doing it right as well.

Right? Yeah they’ve finally taken a look at what’s working for Apple and followed suit. Sure there’s a lot that works for Apple, but a big one is controlling the hardware.

MS has long let others build the hardware their software would run on. This post on Pando Daily does a great job explaining why that’s a terrible idea. It’s funny, a friend had to return his netbook because the trackpad never worked right with windows. Go figure.

Google has done the same thing, even letting OEMs tweak and hack and (IMO) ruin their OS, while making hardware. During the Google/IO keynote this year I had to LOL when the presenter made a jab at OEMs during the Nexus 7 announcement. “This is the Android Google intended” (I’m probably paraphrasing).

I’m glad both companies (more MS than Google since Asus is building their tablet for them) have realized that while OEMs help get your product out to a wide audience, they’re not your allies. They’re at best the enemy you tolerate to attack the larger enemy (Apple?). They use cheap plastic crap to make laptops and devices with custom drivers that bog the OS down.

Both companies now have a chance to let their OS shine, which is the important thing. Had MS decided to throw their Tablet OS on every cheap Chinese device there was, it’d tank. Sure some would sell, Android isn’t doing terrible with this model, but they’d never have a solid, stable user base. They’d have what Google does. Angry users with thousands of devices, waiting for custom builds of apps specific to each device.  (just ask Imangi Studios how launching Temple Run for Android went.) Google may feel that fragmentation isn’t an issue, but that’s likely because they’re not using Android.

 

4 thoughts on “Screw OEMs

  1. Timothy Robb

    While many OEMs sell cheap garbage, OEMs are also responsible for the intense competition that has brought the price of a computer down from $5000 per box to what we have today. They are responsible for computers being in the homes of the majority of citizens in developed nations worldwide. Many of the technologies that you enjoy today were developed by OEMs as they try to get an edge on the competition. The Modern 3D graphics card is one huge example.

    While the downsides are there, OEMs play an important role. In my opinion, any OS that truly shines is one that is adaptable. They shine because they can be used and implemented outside of the box that they were intended for. MacOSX, iOS, don’t allow for this. They have self imposed limitations. In some ways, that has been good as they can ensure that the OS runs well for what it’s intended to do.

    Microsoft and the Open Source Community, however, developed OSes that have the ability to adapt and work on the environment that they are placed on (including on a Mac). (Linux is more adaptable than Windows in that respect as it supports a much wider variety of CPUs and platforms.) Both, have also managed to not only work on more platforms, but polish themselves into highly stable and modern OSes. Even when installed on OEM hardware that it wasn’t initially intended for. That makes it highly scaleable. Both the worlds cheapest computers and the worlds most powerful computers depend on this. Not to mention the majority of businesses worldwide.

    1. John Wilker Post author

      It’s a lowest common denominator problem. Yeah Open Source OS’s and Windows run on just about any box they’re thrown on, but they don’t run well. They have to tone down capabilities to support low end hardware. They have to become bloated with device drives for 2,000 different touchpad manufacturers. They need to support hundreds of different video cards. It’s a vicious cycle, and OEMs perpetuate it with constantly striving for the lowest price.

      And yes I agree. Much like Unions, OEMs had a purpose. I don’t agree that they still do, and any race to the bottom is both good and bad. Yes boxes aren’t $5000 now, which is great, but a computer that’s $199 is a piece of shit.

      Say what you want about Apple, but they have 2 video card configurations. 1 touch pad. Etc. The OS is finely tuned to the hardware it’s running on. I’ve used windows for years, and Android thru many iterations on many types of hardware. None were ever as fine tuned and dialed in to maximize hardware as Apple’s hear, and RIM to it’s own extent as well

  2. Jeffry Houser

    Is it worth nothing that you can get “bloatware” free PCs from a Microsoft Store? I think they are still built and branded by OEMs, but I was under the impression that MS has asserted more control, and supposedly they run a much more finely tuned version of Windows.

    I’ve read one or two reviews on these machines and the results have been pretty positive about the experience.

    I think a lot of the problem is that it takes one skill-set to become successful, and a different skill-set to maintain that success. Microsoft became successful on the OEM model. But, perhaps they were/are clinging to that model for too long; without adapting to the changing market.

    It seems to be the way of the big companies. The market changes, but they don’t know how to do anything other than maintain what they were and fail to adapt.

    The Nexus7 tablet seems like “moore of the same” for Google. I think Google is just choosing a new OEM every year or so to build a Google Flagship w/ every release. ( Nexus One, Galaxy Nexus, Nexus7; have there been others?)

    1. John Wilker Post author

      That’s awesome about the MS store. Good for Microsoft on exerting control like that.

      Yeah google still partnered, this time with Asus.

      Agree completely. I think the OEM model is a great way to get started and get a foot hold but you have to have a strategy for after that.

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