This is about SONY, but it could apply to most OEMs for their Wintel business.“The PC business contributed Â¥91.7 billion in operating losses. Of that, Â¥58.3 billion was related to Sonyâ€™s decision to sell its PC activities.” SONY was losing money on every PC it sold with Wintel. The reason is obvious. If you have to pay M$ for permission to ship a PC that you made and sold, you are cutting your margin, if any, perilously thin. Many OEMs make only a few percent profit on PCs. Perhaps SONY had higher manufacturing costs which pushed it into the “red”. Perhaps it sold high-end models that consumers didn’t want. Whatever the mechanisms, if they made $50 more on each PC by not paying $50 to M$, they would have been profitable. They sold millions of PCs per annum, and paid hundreds of $millions to M$ that they could not afford.
An alternative would have been to sell GNU/Linux on those Vaios. So what if they sold fewer machines? They would have been profitable machines. They could have sold a lot of GNU/Linux machines instead of having a huge loss just paying for the exit.
Forbes: “Sony was too small in PCs to be the domino that pushes over the stack, but itâ€™s likely the canary in the coal mine.”