Microsoft’s Surface tablet sure looks nifty, but will it cost the company the support of its OEM partners? Several sources have said that OEMs are mighty, mighty displeased that Microsoft took a heavily hands-on role in the design approval of other companies’ Windows tablets, only to soon thereafter introduce a kick ass-looking Windows tablet of its own. LG bowed out of the tablet game the very night that the Surface was announced, and a new report says the shenanigans may cause HP to yank its Windows RT plans, too.

TechCrunch pointed us towards SemiAccurate — not the most confidence-inspiring name, there, though it refers to the semiconductor industry — whose multiple sources say that HP is scrapping its Qualcomm-based Windows RT tablet in response to Microsoft’s questionable antics and the rumored sky-high $85 price tag for licensing Windows RT.

“With Microsoft mandated awful designs and a $90 OS tax that Microsoft doesn’t have to pay, that would be about 15% of the rumored $600 MSRP, OEMs can’t hope to be competitive,” SemiAccurate’s Charlie Demerjian writes.

The site’s sources claim that other OEMs are considering jumping off the Windows RT ship before it even makes its maiden voyage. No technology partners have come public with complaints about the way Microsoft handled Surface, but when AllThingsD asked Steve Ballmer what OEMs thought of the surprise announcement, all he would say is “No Comment.”

“If Microsoft had access to its OEM designs and knew what they were going to ship and how they were to be priced and marketed, can PC OEMs ever trust Microsoft?” industry analyst Patrick Moorhead — a longtime AMD exec and OEM partner — asked on Forbes.

What do you think: can they?

UPDATE: HP has confirmed they’ll be skipping Windows RT to focus on x86-based tablets, though an HP spokesman told Bloomberg that the company reached that decision prior to Surface’s unveiling. He didn’t say why the company waited until today to make the decision public.


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