Microsoft plays agent provocateur with its own partners -

Notebook Original Design Manufacturers (ODMs) and brand vendors are squabbling as the Windows 8 launch looms, largely due to Microsoft's new verification system.

OEM Activation 3.0 (OA 3.0) means there will be complications in production lines and eventually cost Microsoft partners a lot of money. The ODMs and vendors both argue the other should pay the price.

The problem is Microsoft's fault. In changing the activation process for the consumer, it's making the manufacturing process more difficult for the ODMs. With Windows 8, Microsoft will have the OS pre-installed into the BIOS, giving up on the days of old and the Certificate of Authenticity labels. 

That's all well and good, but manufacturers are complaining that it's a lot easier to build PCs with the operating system in the hard drive. The proposed change means each system will need more attention to make sure everything is installed properly. With that comes extra training for the staff in an economy where manufacturing workers are already demanding higher wages.

Digitimes' sources claim that without the authenticity label, an installation overlap is likely - which could spill over to problems with ODM yield rates. 

Funnily enough, the sources believe Microsoft is playing its hardware partners against each other. They claim it whispered reassuringly into the ear of the ODMs, telling them that the brand vendors would cough up the extra costs.

Then it went to the brand vendors and told them the ODMs will take the hit. 

Now, neither knows what the score is, while Microsoft's position is clear: it must get Windows 8 out at any cost. As long as it's not its own.