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.
This is pretty big news, since it’s the first time since 29 July 1996, when Windows NT 4.0 was released, that a released version of Windows NT ran on anything not developed by either x86 partners or Intel (Itanium). This means that for the first time in 15 years, Microsoft itself is actively trying to break up the sometimes dreaded ‘WinTel’ alliance.
“With today’s announcement, we’re showing the flexibility and resiliency of Windows through the power of software and a commitment to world-class engineering. We continue to evolve Windows to deliver the functionality customers demand across the widest variety of hardware platforms and form factors,” said Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division.
ARM CEO Warren East is full of glee, obviously. “We are excited by today’s announcement, which marks a significant milestone for ARM and the ARM Partnership, and we look forward to working with Microsoft on the next generation of Windows,” he said, “Windows combined with the scalability of the low-power ARM architecture, the market expertise of ARM silicon partners and the extensive SoC talent within the broad ARM ecosystem will enable innovative platforms to realize the future of computing, ultimately creating new market opportunities and delivering compelling products to consumers.”
Sadly, there’s not a lot of meat here just yet – what we are all interested in, of course, is how the ARM version of Windows NT will deal with the boatload of x86 software available for the Windows NT ecosystem. In a Q&A, Sinofsky said that more news about the underlying components of the next version of Windows NT will be made available over the coming months, much in the same way the company handled the Windows 7 release.
I’m leaving you with this nugget that really made my evil smirk come out to play: several companies delivered quotes to the press release – including AMD. Guess who wasn’t on the list?