Although its difficult to find just one hardware company with a love-hate relationship with Microsoft Corp., one candidate might be Advanced Micro Devices Inc.
A vast number of chip and device companies depend on Microsoft to build a framework for device drivers to connect to, to develop the drivers itself or to bundle the third-party drivers together under the auspices of an operating system. This relationship will play itself out again this week, when hardware makers gather in Seattle for the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference, or WinHEC.
For example, Microsoft executives are expected to focus on the living room, with new concept PC designs intended to improve communication and management of a users personal media.
Conference materials also discuss Web Services for Devices API, a new programming interface for embedded devices. Microsoft executives are also likely to speak about how to tie existing technologies into the Windows framework, including its Next-Generation Secure Computing Base, formerly code-named Palladium.
On one hand, AMDs 64-bit chips require OS support to reach their full potential. Microsoft has said it expects to have 64-bit Extended Editions of both Windows Server and the XP operating system in the second half of 2004. A new updated 64-bit beta version of the software is likely to be made available at the WinHEC conference.
When AMD introduced the AMD64 architecture a year ago, the architecture received a warm endorsement from Microsoft, as well as a beta version of Windows XP 64-Bit Edition for 64-Bit Extended Systems, which should be expanded to incorporate Intels own extended architecture when and if Intel brings out a 64-bit chip for the PC.
So far, Intel has indicated only that it will ship a 32-bit Xeon server chip with 64-bit extensions. That chip, dubbed "Nocona," is due to sample this quarter.
Meanwhile, AMD has painted both the 64-bit Athlon64 and Opteron as superior 32-bit chips.