With Windows 8 just around the corner, you would think that Microsoft would be beating the Windows drum and encouraging manufacturers of every sort to hop on board. This, however, is not the case. The Redmond-based software giant is reportedly exercising its right to block manufacturers from developing a tablet running Windows RT–the ARM-based version of Windows 8 – if it doesn’t feel the company can meet its much more rigorous quality standards. This is the very situation HTC now finds itself in, according to a report in Bloomberg.

Microsoft is handling the ARM version of Windows 8 in a very similar fashion to Windows Phone, reserving the OS for the best and most proven hardware manufacturers. HTC is a big Windows Phone partner, and it is the only manufacturer with a Windows Phone on every carrier. But in the tablet world, HTC isn’t quite as experienced, and its Android tablets haven’t exactly sold well. The Taiwanese manufacturer was also interested in customizing the Windows 8 Start screen, something that Microsoft is very much against. As a result, the company has reportedly been sidelined for the first wave of Windows 8 tablets. There is, however, a possibility that it will be able to join the party sometime next year.

Neither Microsoft nor HTC have confirmed Bloomberg’s report. In fact, HTC refuses to comment on its product plans but “intends to support future versions of Windows.” The two companies have, however, reaffirmed their commitment to Windows Phone, with Microsoft Vice President of Corporate Communications Frank X. Shaw saying that “HTC is a strong partner now and for the future,” and HTC noting that the company “has sold more than 40 million Windows Phones over the last ten years and [it is] committed to future versions of Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform more than ever.”

[Bloomberg via The Verge]