Report claims Microsoft is actively involved in Ultrabook development

By on April 17, 2012, 8:30 AM

Microsoft is reportedly playing an active role in developing Ultrabooks that will run Windows 8, industry sources have told Digitimes. Microsoft is concerned about a specific design element that they feel needs refining in order to provide the best possible user experience with touch controls.

It’s no secret that branded vendors are planning to release touch-capable Windows 8 Ultrabooks later this year. Microsoft is apparently worried that the screens will be too flexible and could shake during use. Touch-enabled Ultrabooks will be available in sliding and folding form factors in addition to traditional clamshells when the OS launches later this year.

The report doesn’t specifically make mention of it but we suspect partners are being asked to beef up the hinges that hold the display to the Ultrabook for clamshell models. Microsoft could very well require vendors to use sturdier materials to mount the screen in as well, but these are only things we are speculating right now.

Both Intel and Microsoft feel that touch will be an extremely important aspect of Ultrabooks moving forward. Speaking at a conference late last year, Intel CEO Paul Otellini told those in attendance that the iPad and iPhone have made touch a paradigm and that they have to get the technology to a lower cost, especially as they move towards the launch of Windows 8.

Touch-enabled Ultrabooks with a screen size of 13-inches or larger are expected to represent 30 percent of all Ultrabooks available this holiday buying season.




User Comments: 25

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Guest said:

As politely as I can say this, you can take your touch screen interfaces and shove them where the sun doesn't shine :) Not all of us only use portable technology just to browse the web and use our favourite "Apps". Some of us actually like to try and do something productive, which is something touch screen interfaces can't even begin to (ironically) touch on right now

Guest said:

I love windows, but how can touch ever compete with the speed and precision of a mouse?

Raswan Raswan said:

Couldn't agree more, Guest (9:20a). I understand the bum rush to touch, stupid (and ill-conceived) as it is, but quit shoving it down our throats. Most people don't appreciate this dumbing down of our devices.

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

I work at a Hospital (IT Specialist/Technician) and deal with Doctors, Pathologists, Radiologists etc (you name it) all the time. I have asked dozens of employees who make much more then me what they think of the new Ultrabook's; and if they would consider upgrading from thier current laptop to get something that is 3 lbs lighter, with average specifications.

The answer has been an overwhelming no.

And I am talking about picky Doctors who like nothing but the best.

We have a C1 Toughbook in ER/ED and they do like how light it is.

I think many people will enjoy the new Ultrabooks and travelers will like them a lot, but if Microsoft thinks people are going to upgrade and the world overnight will switch to Ultrabooks, they got another thing coming.

1 person liked this | amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

And I also agree with the first comment.

If you want a simplfied PC made for someone who isn't good with a computer, buy an Apple product.

spectrenad said:

am I the only one thinking MS is actually doing something good? I mean, not all ultrabooks will be touch-enabled. they are only making sure that the few that will be touch-enabled are sturdy enough...

Guest said:

No you are not the only one. I think that what they are doing is great. I myself am waint for a touch version of the HP Envy Spectre. Let the haters hate, this is an Anti-Microsoft forum. I only come here every now and them because of it. I used to visit daily.

Staff
Matthew Matthew, TechSpot Staff, said:

Just because some visitors disagree with certain decisions the company makes doesn't make the whole site anti-MS.

Zen Zen, TechSpot Paladin, said:

this is an Anti-Microsoft forum.

I wouldn't go as far as sticking my neck out and proclaiming this is an "anti Microsoft forum"! Even if people here my friend are down talking Microsoft, it's only because of a small word called......."change"! What we have here is for the most part, something that normally takes place whenever there's about to be a new Microsoft Windows Operating System release. People who "beta" it chime in, the people who haven't done their homework chime in, the people who "so in so" know all about it chime in, people who have a death grip on what their currently using chime in, all this amounts to is nothing more than a bunch of wind chimes sounding off about something that isn't even on the shelves yet. Change for some is welcomed, change for some is feared, change for some is odd and strange, none of us really know what the end result here will be with Windows 8, that's why I'm holding off judgments about it until it's been released and I've put my hands on it, as to form my own opinions.

But look at it this way, we are blessed with a word called......."options"!

If one doesn't like Windows 8, for whatever reason, we all have options, it's called Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Linux products, Apple based systems, there's an Operating System for one and all out there that will do the trick for the individual.

Guest said:

I do agree with your comment Matthew, but as a moderator for the site check the comment section for any story that you have posted that is related to Microsoft. You may have one positive comment compared to 15 negative comment. I say this as an objective visitor that enjoys all tech companies. I actually started paying attention after the ridiculous criticism Windows 8 CP received and it was not even a finished product. I am sorry that you do not agree with my assessment, but I ask you when you have a few minutes to go through some of the Microsoft related stories that you have posted and review the comment threads. Sorry, but I speak the truth. I will create an account as well so that you do not have to debate a guest :-) Please do not take my criticism personally, this site does excellent reporting and I have really enjoyed many of your reports.

Guest said:

Great points Zen, and I my Anti-Microsoft statement may have been too harsh a term. Not that it matters, but when I read a story regarding a company that is "attempting" to produce products and services that will make our lives easier while generate revenue for themselves, the effort should at least be commended. Now, that does not mean that we all have to like or agree with it, but we should acknowledge that the effort has been made. If this same story would have been posted but it was Google working with manufacturers for Chrombook or Android phones it would be praised right up Larry Page's and Eric Schmidt's you know what. We all have our favorite companies, but it makes it hard for objective people to really enjoy news when you have to been concerned with potential bias before you read the first line.

Staff
Matthew Matthew, TechSpot Staff, said:

And I can see how you'd feel that way if you based your opinion on drive by Guest posts. Here's our official Windows 8 Consumer Preview thread. Tons of positive feedback and the criticism is mostly well-founded.

MikLawry said:

Matthew, I have removed the "Guest Mask" and as I have said before and you can see from my profile, I used to be regular so I am not making random as you would call it "Drive By Posts". It seems that you have taken my criticism a bit to personally and that was not my intention. However, if you are are going to be in the business of journalism you have to understand that you are going to have to answer questions by your readers from time to time. With that said, I have also made it clear that the work done by the journalist here is great. I was not hiding as a guest, it is just easier to post from my phone as a guest versus logging in. And as for your rebuttle with the WinCP, I will raise you two to support my view. Read the comments from time to time and you will see my point and to be transparent I did type this reply on a DELL XPS running Windows 7 :-)

[link]

[link]

Staff
Matthew Matthew, TechSpot Staff, said:

Haha, I'm not taking anything personally. I'm just saying you can't judge the whole site based on news comments, especially considering the number of drive by Guests (and that's not a jab at you, I promise... I encourage you to post as a Guest if it's easier or whatever). Cynics are often the most vocal. Go read game reviews on Amazon or Metacritic, for example. If you dig a little deeper (such as the Win8 CP thread I linked), you'll see that most of our regulars aren't inherently anti-MS. Believe it or not, I've read just about everything posted here for the last three years and as I said, I can understand why you feel the way you do if you're judging TSers solely based on news comments. But it's still not the full picture.

Guest said:

Matthew, you are the man. I am glad I didn't offend you. O had to go back my guest account as I am on the phone again its good to see you guys are aware of what goes on in the comment sections. Thanks for the fun man.

Lol

1 person liked this | Guest said:

Normally, I am a reader and not a commenter, but this is a good discussion regarding bias, and I thought I might chime in. Sorry, but gonna wax philosophic here.

As the head of IT of a (relatively small) company, I can tell you I have one bias regarding technology, and that is toward any solution whose benefits and costs net out to a material benefit for my company. Naturally, we have people suggesting specific tech solutions all the time, but we always try to get them to focus on their needs first, then weigh as many alternatives as we can.

That weighing inevitably includes platform consideration, and there is no denying that any new platform that is introduced into the mix will require new skills in IT to support. Doesn't mean we wouldn't introduce a new platform, but it does mean this soft cost has to be considered in the value prop.

So, whether you're an iOS-lover, Windows-lover, Linux-lover or whatever really doesn't matter in business. What should matter is what is the best solution to address the business need, all things considered.

Regarding touch screen technology (or any other new technology), we weigh criticism of any new idea in this way - Is the criticism based on the discomfort in change or is it valid in terms of impact to the solution's effectiveness. My favorite question in this is: "If I brought in someone off the street who never did it the 'old way', would it matter? Would they be more productive going the 'old way' or the 'new way'?

Long-term decisions shouldn't be based on short-term inconveniences that will, by definition, be a non-issue within a matter of months. However, getting people to first start changing, then continue through the learning curve with as little resistance as possible, is forever a challenge.

Given all of this, I can tell you we are watching Windows 8 closely. Why?

- We are almost exclusively a Microsoft shop, so this will be our desktop. Nothing out there is going to provide the magnitude of benefit that would change that.

- We support iPads to an extent - mainly for VPN connectivity into Windows virtual or physical desktops. There are no iPad apps to-date that significantly impact the business. It is primarily a connectivity device and not a productivity tool.

- The iPad (and iPhone and iPod Touch) certainly is training a new generation more toward touch interface than mouse and keyboard. I am not saying it will become dominant anytime soon, if ever, but to ignore this impact would be negligent. I have to consider the importance of touch interface to my upcoming workforce.

- Of course, my more experienced workforce will probably never get away from their mice and keyboards, so a solution that provides both input options seems the most viable to me.

Speaking personally, I am interested in how Windows 8 tablets will do in meshing the simplicity and ease of use of the iPad/iOS platform with the need for more capabilities on the business productivity front. I know that iOS-lovers will pipe up here and claim there are all kinds of business productivity options on that platform, but protest all you will - the penetration into the corporate world says that the benefits do not outweigh the costs of change.

My two cents and perspective. Discussion and debate - when we weed out the emotional chaff and intentional obfuscation - is a fantastic thing.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

I do agree with your comment Matthew, but as a moderator for the site check the comment section for any story that you have posted that is related to Microsoft. You may have one positive comment compared to 15 negative comment. I say this as an objective visitor that enjoys all tech companies. I actually started paying attention after the ridiculous criticism Windows 8 CP received and it was not even a finished product. I am sorry that you do not agree with my assessment, but I ask you when you have a few minutes to go through some of the Microsoft related stories that you have posted and review the comment threads. Sorry, but I speak the truth. I will create an account as well so that you do not have to debate a guest Please do not take my criticism personally, this site does excellent reporting and I have really enjoyed many of your reports.

I think people are more inclined to post about something if they have something negative to say compared with something positive. So there is some bias inherently.

But I also found it somewhat amusing that you think this is an anti-MS site. I don't know the percentages, but I would guess that 90% or more of the people that post here use Windows, made by MS.

You think there is an anti-MS attitude here... try being a Mac user. You suggested he look at the comments for MS related news, but think how negative the comments are for anything Apple related. I'm one of the few Mac users here (also own several Windows PCs) so I am often weighing the pros/cons before I post against the crowd in a thread. Many times I don't post because it is tedious among the trolls.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

That was great from both Guest and SNGX125. I do feel for you SNGX, because as a Mac user, you guys are at the top right now and a lot of people do want to see Apple fall so that they can laugh. I would think that there are a lot of Windows users here, but it seems that some only want to accept Microsoft in the desktop computing arena and nothng else. I find that some of the areas that they have penetrated have been extremely innovative, but they do not get a lot of credit for it. For example, look at what they did for gaming with XBOX, before we had great games with our playstation, but nothing after that. Look at your Bank of America and JP Morgan ATM machines that now allow you to do every transaction without having to see a teller thanks to Windows XP. Ford Sync, no one was thinking of adding these types of controls to your car before Microsoft. Finally, Windows 8. The first mainstream operating system that will ultimately bring us touch screen notebooks and desktops almost removing the need to have a mouse and keyboard. Pretty impressive if you ask me. Now, this is not to say that they have not delivered some garbage in the past, but to be honest, what company hasn't?

Marnomancer Marnomancer said:

I'll add a point to what Matt and SNGX said: I'm possibly one of the (relatively) few users who have read the Terms of Service, and here's a something for the "Guests" who haven't:

TechSpot Terms of Service (TOS)

Although the administrators and moderators of TechSpot will attempt to keep all objectionable messages off this forum, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the author, and neither the owners of TechSpot, nor its collaborators will be held responsible for the content of any message.

I don't see why anyone should be debating TechSpot's bias. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

That was great from both Guest and SNGX125. I do feel for you SNGX, because as a Mac user, you guys are at the top right now and a lot of people do want to see Apple fall so that they can laugh. I would think that there are a lot of Windows users here, but it seems that some only want to accept Microsoft in the desktop computing arena and nothng else. I find that some of the areas that they have penetrated have been extremely innovative, but they do not get a lot of credit for it. For example, look at what they did for gaming with XBOX, before we had great games with our playstation, but nothing after that. Look at your Bank of America and JP Morgan ATM machines that now allow you to do every transaction without having to see a teller thanks to Windows XP. Ford Sync, no one was thinking of adding these types of controls to your car before Microsoft. Finally, Windows 8. The first mainstream operating system that will ultimately bring us touch screen notebooks and desktops almost removing the need to have a mouse and keyboard. Pretty impressive if you ask me. Now, this is not to say that they have not delivered some garbage in the past, but to be honest, what company hasn't?

First, thanks for acknowledging me. Second, you make really good points, their XBox was revolutionary to console gaming. I'm a big Nintendo owner, but I shudder to think of how the console gaming industry would be without MS's influence.

MS's influence in cars is pretty impressive too.

8 might be a 'failure' in some limited view, but in the big picture 8 is the window to the future.

Marnomancer Marnomancer said:

I did my research since the last time we discussed Win8, and I somewhat share your opinion now.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

I'll add a point to what Matt and SNGX said: I'm possibly one of the (relatively) few users who have read the Terms of Service, and here's a something for the "Guests" who haven't:

I don't see why anyone should be debating TechSpot's bias. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Nobody reads the TOS

Marnomancer Marnomancer said:

Well, it's taped to the inside of my wardrobe door.

But what you said makes me a minority. I'm the only guy who read it?! LOL

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Nobody reads the TOS

We've been through this several times. I can't read, I used to work for the post office.....

spectrenad said:

Techspot is one of the least biased website I ever seen (except maybe for SOPA/PIPA/etc articles lol). Please stop blaming the mods for the hate on windows. I blame the ppl who comment directly without taking the required time to analyse the situation.

Like for this article. There will be more touch-enabled ultrabooks in the future, and it's a good thing, imo (more choice is always good, if you don't like the idea, just buy a regular laptop). So how would it be a bad idea to actually make sure they are sturdy enough before releasing them?

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