Is Microsoft Cracking The Whip On Windows Tablet Partners?

Microsoft Windows 7 tablets

Could Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) have learned a lesson from Google’s mobile experiences when making its own tablet plans? Acer’s CEO seems to think so, yet he’s not necessarily on board with Microsoft’s tactic of enforcing tight controls on partners looking for another mobile operating system.

Bloomberg caught up with J.T Wang, chairman and CEO of Acer, at the Computex show in Taipei earlier today, and Wang expressed frustration about Microsoft’s control over the Windows tablet development process, saying that potential partners “all feel it’s very troublesome.” Microsoft is expected to unveil more details about its strategy for modern tablets later this week at both the D9 conference and Computex, although details about exactly what they have in store have yet to surface.

A decade after it first launched a tablet computer, Microsoft is scrambling to catch up with the rest of the mobile industry when it comes to tablet product development. Apple’s iPad is practically a household name at this point, but Android partners and Research in Motion (NSDQ: RIMM) have launched tablets in 2011, and HP (NYSE: HPQ) is expected to launch a WebOS tablet called the TouchPad this summer. Microsoft hasn’t even demonstrated a tablet running on either Windows 8–which is being modified to run on the ARM chips that dominate the mobile industry–or some variation of Windows Phone 7.

Microsoft has tried to walk a fine line with Windows Phone 7 between Apple’s tight control over iOS and Google’s looser hold over Android. But Google (NSDQ: GOOG) has shown signs this year of wanting to enforce tighter and tighter control over Android to dampen problems like fragmentation and crapware, and it could be that Microsoft has similar thoughts in mind.

Of course, it’s also equally possible that Wang was just trying to send a public message to Microsoft that partners need more freedom. We won’t know for sure until Microsoft announces its strategy later this week.

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