by Anton Shilov
01/08/2011 | 04:40 PM
A co-founder of ARM said that Microsoft Corp. needs ARM to become a viable player on the emerging market of tablets and smartphones. Considering that Microsoft has been supporting ARM on mobile devices for about a decade now, the claim by a high-ranking person at ARM may point to a number of interesting directions.
"Microsoft needs ARM to have any chance of playing in that (mobile Internet) space. With Microsoft, for some time it's been more a question of when, not whether, and finally it's now. We have been coaching and cajoling Microsoft for some time," said Tudor Brown, the president of ARM, reports Reuters news-agency.
Microsoft did support ARM processors with a line of its operating systems, including Windows for Pocket PC, Windows Mobile, Windows Phone, Windows CE and so on. However, those platforms have not become too popular due to various reasons. Obviously, this is only partly due to Microsoft's fault, weight, power consumption, sizes, absence of QWERTY keyboard and many other factors essentially destroyed those OSes.
Unfortunately for Microsoft, it has missed the emergence of netbooks and then had to supply outdated Windows XP operating system to PC makers as low-end processors could not run new Windows Vista. Unfortunately for Microsoft, which was one of the inventors of tablets, its Windows 7 is not very comfortable to use on slates.
But Windows 8 seems to be a completely different situation. The OS, according to various leaks, will target desktop, laptop, all-in-one desktop and slate form-factors. The fact clearly points that the operating system will be able to transform itself depending on the form-factor. Potentially, it may mean that the OS will be able to operate even on smartphone.
Since slates (an emerging market category) will be powered by both x86 and ARM processors (and Intel is trying hard to get into smartphones) in the following years, Microsoft does need to get into them. In parallel, its operating system will be able to power ARM-based notebooks if they emerge. However, the fact is that such laptops will never materialize without Windows support of ARM by its major Windows OS. Hence, it is a big question which of the two companies need support of each other more in order to continue their growth.
Meanwhile, Paul Otellini, chief exec of Intel Corp., said that Windows 8 would help his company to expand to new markets.