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Is Microsoft Changing its Mind about Windows 8 on ARM?

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steve_ballmer_apple_tabletIs Microsoft Changing its mind about Windows on ARM? That is the question that many people would like to know now. After hearing that Microsoft was committed to Windows 8 on the ARM platform due to consumer desire for a Windows based tablet (and after they have pretty much designed a tablet OS) many were under the impression that Microsoft would follow suit with other desktop products for the new mobile platform. However, after some new information was conveyed by a Microsoft Executive this might not be the case.

Going back to the Windows 8 Developer’s Blog there have been talks about how Windows 8 will fare on the ARM platform and that it should be relatively simple to port many existing x86 applications over to the new architecture. The issue is now about removing the “Desktop” feature from the ARM based version of Windows. If this happens then only Metro based applications (ones from the Windows App Store and built for Metro) would work on the ARM tablets.

Now, this does not mean that there is no chance for things like Office or other applications to run on the platform. It just means that (unless something changes) you can only get and install them through the app store and they must integrate with the MetroUI.

This decision, if true, will hurt Microsoft in a big way, it will mean that the user experience will be very different on an ARM tablet than on a notebook, desktop or netbook or x86 based tablet. To many people that were interested in (and looking forward to) having windows on an ARM based tablet this move will potentially stop them in their tracks. After all, why get a “different” version of Windows if what you want it a similar experience and operability across multiple platforms.

This falls back to what we have talked about with Microsoft before; they are quite capable of making good products (and bad ones) but they really have no clue what the market they are selling to actually wants. We can foresee the interest in Windows 8 tablets (ARM based) declining if this does happen. After all, if you are not getting the same experience why change to Microsoft, why not stick with a product that has been on the market longer, has more available apps and is not saddled by the MetroUI?

Personally, I cannot think of a reason to. Of course the age of the low power x86 tablet will start sometime next year as it looks like AMD will be working toward that and we already know that Intel feels its Atom CPU is more than a match for current ARM offerings. Come to think of it, this fact could be the reason for the change to begin with…

Right now the first consumer BETA of Windows 8 (the Customer Preview Program) should hit in late February 2012.

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Last modified on Saturday, 10 December 2011 13:51

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