Software Programs

Desperate to Make a Dent in Mobile, Tablet Envy Microsoft Goes to Bed with ARM


Citing the customary unnamed sources briefed on Microsoft’s plans, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that Microsoft will announce at CES next month a new version of Windows specifically created with tablets in mind.

If true, it’ll be the first release of Windows ever to be optimized to run on ARM’s mobile processors. In addition, such a piece of software could finally give Microsoft a much-needed oomph to make greater strides in the mobile space, currently dominated by ARM’s processor designs and mobile operating systems from Google and Apple.

The Journal’s story essentially echoed an earlier piece by Bloomberg which first reported of such a possibility.

According to the sources who spoke to Journal:

The company next month plans to demonstrate a new version of its widely used Windows operating system that targets low-power devices and adds support for chips based on designs from ARM Holdings PLC as well as the x86 chip technology offered by Intel and Advanced Micro Devices Inc., these people said. 

Even though UK-based ARM is a fables chip maker that does not manufacture its own silicon, its CPU designs are ubiquitous in today’s popular system-on-a-chips, including Apple’s A4 processor. By some estimates, ARM’s bluprints are utilized in more than half the world’s smartphones, tablets, and other small factor devices.

The arrival of Windows to the world’s most widely used CPU platform is a major blow to Intel, the chip maker that dominates on desktop but struggles to deliver a viable computing alternative for smartphones and tablets. Microsoft on its part is rumored to also support x86 chips from Intel and AMD with this alleged new version of Windows.

In short, this could be a win-win software from Microsoft if it weren’t for the fact that it apparently "isn’t expected to be available for two years," if the sources who spoke to the paper are to be believed.

Source: The Wall Street Journal