It looks like Microsoft won't be the only monopolizing contender in the augmented reality (AR) market. Asus, one of the largest PC makers currently in operation (the company clocks in at sixth place worldwide, to be exact), is in talks with the Bill Gates-founded tech corporation to make its own version of the HoloLens.
In an exclusive with CNET, both Asus' CEO Johnny Shih and Microsoft's Terry Myerson, the executive vice president of Windows and devices, confirmed the discussions between the two companies on Monday, Oct. 19; the talks also make Asus the first company outside of Microsoft to express interest in building a competitive device for AR.
Of course, how competitive the AR market actually is remains to be seen — while the HoloLens has been around since early 2015, the holographic, wearable computer has only been available to developers — and the dev kits themselves are no small expense, costing $3,000 a pop after an extensive application process. According to Windows' website for the Microsoft HoloLens, the wearable AR tech will be ship out to these approved applicants in the company's first financial quarter of 2016.
So, why enter talks with Asus in the first place? To create, well, a competitive market so that the HoloLens will actually eventually sell. Asus' computer systems tend to run veer on the less expensive side, and the company can serve as a more affordable option for wannabe AR (hologram-loving) movers and shakers.
"Everything we're doing in hardware, we do with the mind of how do we grow the Windows ecosystem," stated Myserson. "That is why we're investing to create a category."
Even though this potential deal — which hasn't been set in stone by Asus, which, in effect, will probably end up with the last and definitive call on the matter, Myerson opines that, in the end, it would be a Microsoft win.
"We don't want to compete with Asus. That's not our goal," Myerson concluded, "We want people to come home to Windows."
Check out the clip below for more info on the Microsoft HoloLens.