Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 5th Jan 2011 22:09 UTC
Windows And this is part two of the story: Microsoft has just confirmed the next version of Windows NT (referring to it as NT for clarity's sake) will be available for ARM - or more specifically, SoCs from NVIDIA, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments. Also announced today at CES is Microsoft Office for ARM. Both Windows NT and Microsoft Office were shown running on ARM during a press conference for the fact at CES in Las Vegas.
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No downside for Microsoft.
by Ravyne on Thu 6th Jan 2011 01:13 UTC
Ravyne
Member since:
2006-01-08

I've been claiming that ARM is the biggest competitive threat that x86/x64 has ever seen pretty much since ARM's A8 core, when it was clear to me that they were eying ever higher performance. Intel confirmed the threat with Atom, and now Microsoft has endoresed ARM's march into the x86 stronghold.

We've already seen niche thintop and netbooks based on ARM, servers are announced and nVidia says their high-end ARM design will find its way into fuller-featured laptops and even the desktop. Exactly as I was predicting around the time Atom was announced.


Windows 8 "for SOCs" as they are saying, is actually a pretty interesting product, and supporting a limited number of SOCs means that the number of hardware permutations is much lower, and a known quantity. They can also throw away tons of cruft -- no BIOS, no AGP, PCI or ISA -- but more importantly, no need to support every device ever conceived and built.

On the software side, port Windows itself, Microsoft's First-party stuff, .Net, and get some primary ISVs involved and most people will be happy -- particularly users of iPad-like tablets or i-ified netbooks, who's usage/input model essentially demands new apps anyhow -- people who live on the net and enjoy a few focused, snack-size apps.

Even if Windows 8 on ARM SOCs fails to oust the PC from its traditional space, Microsoft still wins because they'll have succeeded in migrating mobile devices off of a Windows CE-based OS and onto an NT-based OS. One code-base to move forward, mostly-overlapping APIs -- CE will hang on for awhile longer, ultimately, but be relegated to industrial-type uses, probably even morphing into an RTOS. Windows NT will be the only consumer / business -facing OS.

On the other hand, if it succeeds, Microsoft gains an exit strategy if x86 ever tops out, or programming models change so drastically anyhow that it no longer makes sense to be tied down to the legacy processor.

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