Feeds

MS scratches Compaq's back by restricting PocketPC licences

The mutual aid society freezes out Asus

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The essential guide to IT transformation

Computex The Computex tradeshow in Taiwan has thrown up some very nice examples of PocketPC - aka Windows CE 3.0 - PDAs.

Mitac won a show award for its kit; Asus had some nice models as well as WinCE handheld PCs; and Compal was showing off its range.

These are just the kind of thing system builders and resellers will spy on a foreign buying trip and import. But it is unlikely they'll do anything with these manufacturers products.

The root of the problem is why you'll be unlikely to see any mass market PocketPC PDAs from anyone other that the big name vendors - Compaq, HP, Toshiba et al.

Asus can't get a Microsoft PocketPC licence. Though its PDAs and handhelds were running WinCE 3.0, none of them had any of the MS applications. The kind of things consumers want to make the products worth buying. The guy on Asus' stand was throwing his hands up and saying "Why won't they give it us?"

Maybe he should chat to Compal. There are two Taiwanese manufacturers which have a MS Pocket PC licence - HTC who make Compaq's iPaq and Toshiba's PDA - and Compal. Compal wouldn't say who it manufactures for, but it will be selling its PDAs in the UK under its Palmax brand.

Compal is just sorting out its UK distribution now and is pushing for Peripheralcorner.co.uk to handle the business. But they have to be approved by Microsoft, according to Compal. "Whoever we sell to have to get approval from Microsoft," said Marc Plumb, Compal sales manager.

So Microsoft is restricting manufacturer licences for PocketPC PDAs and has veto over vendor sales channels.

Why? Well it owes the original PocketPC boys, and particularly Compaq, a big fat favour. "Microsoft depended a lot on Compaq's iPaq to make PocketPC successful. It owes it a lot," says Plumb. PocketPC sales hit one million in its first year and sales of iPaq rocketed 1017.9 per cent during the first three months of 2001 compared to the same period last year, according to figures from UK-based market watcher Canalys.

Compal is included in the inner circle of PDA vendors and Plumb says its product is sold into vertical markets so its not competing with the iPaq. Just as well. Peripheralcorner may be superb at their job but they're not a big name in the UK so it would be difficult for Compal's Palmax' to give iPaq a run for its money.

This situation isn't going to ease any time soon. Compal doesn't expect licensing restrictions to be lifted this year.

As for Mitac - its display models were running Internet Explorer and Word. The company says its investigating European distribution but communication breakdown prevented us from finding out if it had a MS licence, or approved distributors. ®

Related Stories

Microsoft PocketPC racks up 1m sales in first year
Compaq iPaq Q1 sales skyrocket

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Kaspersky backpedals on 'done nothing wrong, nothing to fear' blather
Founder (and internet passport fan) now says privacy is precious
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015
Sources: time to put in plenty of clock-watching for' iWatch
Facebook to let stalkers unearth buried posts with mobe search
Prepare to HAUNT your pal's back catalogue
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.