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TheStreet Open House

Microsoft, Google Are Forcing the Death of Dual-OS Devices

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Rivals  Microsoft (MSFT) and Google (GOOG) reportedly agree on at least one point: Neither wants the other's operating system to appear on the same product -- no Windows and Chrome or Android on the same computer. Producing so-called "dual-boot" machines has already been accomplished but neither company wants to see it happen again. It looks like both companies have been making their feelings known to hardware manufacturers.

Case in point: Asus and its new Transformer Book Duet convertible tablet/notebook. Asus introduced it in January at this year's CES 2014 gathering in Las Vegas.  

Following weeks of online rumors strongly hinting that both Microsoft and Google have been pressuring manufacturers to forget the dual-boot idea, Friday's Wall Street Journal said Asus has gotten the hint. Asus reportedly announced the "indefinite postponement" of its planned dual-OS notebook.

Microsoft shares fell 0.24% to $37.80 in premarket trading Friday while Google fell 0.34% to $1,185.02.

This was no low-end machine. The Asus Transformer Book Duet was set to run both Windows 8.1 Standard as well as Android 4.2.2 on an Intel (INTC) Core i7 processor with 4 GB of RAM, a 128 GB solid-state hard drive in the 13.3-in touch screened tablet half and as much as a 1 TB drive in the keyboard/dock portion.

Asus even boasted the device had something called "Instant Switch" technology allowing users to easily navigate back and forth between operating systems and continue working in the exact spot where they had previously "left off." The Transformer Book Duet was set to be one (of many future) ambitious dual-boot devices.

That's exactly what the big software guys didn't want. Google was reportedly afraid that such a machine could affect sales in its Android app store and reportedly might, somehow, boost Microsoft's Windows Phone OS status.

Microsoft, on the other hand, wasn't crazy about seeing Windows sales/profits erode any further or helping users to spend money on something other than Windows store apps. Microsoft reportedly threatened to enforce its patents against any manufacturer who might tip the apple cart with dual-boot machines.

Since Apple  (AAPL) tightly controls both the hardware and software (Mac OS and iOS) sides of all of its products, it doesn't have to spend lots of effort worrying about similar dual-boot devices.

It's interesting to note that Intel had just announced a brand new chip at CES expressly designed to handle two operating systems running at the same time. That processor's fate is now unknown. Same for the future of recently announced dual-booting smartphones.

We do know that Asus will reportedly end the sale of two previous dual-OS computer models launched last year.

-- Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

To submit a news tip, send an email to tips@thestreet.com.

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