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Apple orders PC builder to 'choose sides' in laptop battle?

Build ASUS Zenbook or MacBook Air – not both

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Apple reportedly put pressure on a Taiwanese manufacturer of its popular MacBook Air, asking them to choose between building that Cupertinian laptop or the ASUS Zenbook.

According to a story in the Chinese-language Commercial Times (Google Translate), Apple has told the manufacturer, Pegatron, to "choose sides" – 選邊 – between manufacturing the MacBook Air and the Zenbook, citing the "high similarity" – 相似度高 – between the two products, presumably the Zenbook's thinness and unibody construction.

The ASUS Zenbook – available not only in a modest slate grey, but also in Rose Gold ("Sweetness and light forever") and Hot Pink ("Irresistably alluring beauty") – is an early entry into the class of thin and light laptops that Apple pioneered with the MacBook, which Intel has dubbed – and trademarked – as Ultrabooks™, and which AMD calls "ultrathins".

The Asus Zenbook

The reputed target of Apple's ire, available for the manly and the girly

The Commercial Times reports that ASUS has approached two other Taiwanese manufacturers, Compal and Wistron, to manufacture the Zenbook, skipping a third, Quanta, since that company also manufacturers Apple's MacBook Air. Compal maufacturers other ASUS laptops, and Wistron is a manufacturer of the company's tablets.

The Chinese-language news service also notes that Pegatron is actively working with Apple for iPad 3 manufacturing, along with the iPhone, and is thus highly motivated to keep on good terms with Cook & Co.

ASUS did not comment to the Commercial Times on their report, and Apple did not immediately respond to our request for clarification or comment.

Pegatron will end production of the ASUS Zenbook at the end of March, says the report. ®

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