Microsoft Names Windows RT OEM Partners

The three computer makers will join Asus, which recently announced the Asus Tablet 600 for Windows RT, and Microsoft itself, which recently entered the tablet hardware market with the announcement of its Surface devices.

Microsoft made the announcement Monday on the company's "Building Windows 8" blog. "Along with Asus, we are excited to share that there will be ARM-based PC designs from Dell, Lenovo, and Samsung running Windows RT," wrote Mike Angiulo, Microsoft's corporate vice president, planning and PC ecosystem, in a blog post. "Windows RT begins a new era of ARM-based PCs, where we are working with our Silicon and PC manufacturing partners to bring a whole new set of innovations to market."

[Related: HP Says Its Windows 8 Tablet Will Include 'Unique' Technology ]

Microsoft's OEM partners have been closely watched since the software giant introduced Surface. Microsoft disclosed in its Form 10-K annual report that Surface devices "will compete with products made by our OEM partners, which may affect their commitment to our platform."

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At least one OEM partner has expressed concern about Microsoft's tablet hardware play. Acer hinted it would explore alternatives to Windows 8, although it didn't specify what other operating systems it might consider.

Meanwhile, Lenovo said it isn't sweating Microsoft's Surface. The company, which recently announced a new Windows 8-based ThinkPad Tablet 2, told CRN that its Microsoft partnership is "closer than ever" and that Surface devices will benefit all OEM partners by adding more excitement to Windows 8 and building a strong tablet ecosystem.