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Apple forces PC maker to stop making Asus ultrabooks

Pegatron Technology will stop making Asus ultrabooks following pressure from Apple, reports suggest.

Pegatron Technology, a manufacturer that builds computers for other tech companies, has reportedly given up orders to make Asus Zenbooks following pressure from Apple.

The news comes via Digitimes, citing a report from Commercial Times. Apparently Apple was unhappy with Pegatron making Zenbook ultrabooks, which look very similar to Apple's own MacBook Air -- that is to say, thin and wedge-like. Pegatron also makes iPhones for Apple, and the site reports the latter demanded Pegatron make a choice.

Not surprisingly, Pegatron chose Apple. Now the company's current Zenbook orders will stop by the end of March at the earliest, with Asus forced to find someone else to build its teeny-weeny laptops.

The paper cited by Digitimes mentions Pegatron won contracts to build iPhones last year, and is keen to build Apple's iPad 3. The sad thing is Pegatron used to be part of Asus, before being spun off a couple of years ago -- in fact, Asus is short for 'Pegasus'. It's like your little brother has joined the school bully's gang and given you a wedgie.

If these reports are true, then from the factory's point of view I can see why Pegatron would stick with the doubtless super-profitable Apple deal. The worry, of course, is that if Apple is insisting on manufacturers not assembling products that rival its own, that could negatively impact companies like Asus' chance to compete.

Our resident laptop guru Andrew Hoyle was really impressed with the Asus Zenbook UX21 when he reviewed it, awarding it four and a half stars and praising its powerful performance and reasonable price. Andy also landed the Zenbook with our laptop of the year award.

Apple is fighting its rivals on other fronts too, hitting competitors in the smart phone and tablet world with a barrage of legal blows, the latest being patent infringement claims regarding the Samsung Galaxy Nexus' software.

What do you think? Does Apple have too much control over the market? Hit me with some feedback in the comments, or over on our Facebook wall.