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Programming Windows: The Product (Premium)

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The relationship may have reached an apex of sorts during the development of Longhorn, when Microsoft’s biggest PC maker partners worked diligently to incorporate that system’s incredible advances in new hardware designs. HP, for example, partnered with Microsoft on several generations of “Athens” PCs that included built-in telephone handsets and other futuristic features. And ASUS created a prototype laptop with a small external smart display for viewing notifications without having to open the display lid.

Neither ever came to market. And there was always an uneasy feeling within Microsoft generally, and the Windows team specifically, that the PC makers could and should do more. But thanks to the smaller margins inherent in building hardware, PC makers were always trying to cut costs and find new revenue models based on added value services. They started adopting new technologies, like new versions of the Universal Serial Bus (USB), more slowly, or not at all in cheaper models. They piled more and more software into their products, making Windows boot and run more slowly, and less reliably.

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