It’s official: Windows 8 on ARM won’t run x86 apps

Remember back in May, when Intel claimed that there would be four different versions of Windows 8 for ARM and that none of them would run x86 apps? Microsoft quickly labeled the chipmaker’s statements "factually inaccurate," leaving some to think that maybe, just maybe, Windows 8 on ARM would have some sort of compatibility layer. Well, it won’t. During Microsoft’s latest Financial Analyst Meeting, Windows chief Steven Sinofsky addressed the subject with the following statement:

We’ve been very clear since the very first CES demos and forward that the ARM product won’t run any X86 applications. We’ve done a bunch of work to enable that — enable a great experience there, particularly around devices and device drivers. We built a great deal of what we call class drivers, with the ability to run all sorts of printers and peripherals out of the box with the ARM version.

I don’t recall Microsoft being particularly clear about the issue, but fair enough. So, what pushed the company not to allow x86 apps to run in the ARM release? Sinofsky explains:

The challenge is very interesting. If we allow the world of X86 application support like that, or based on what we call desktop apps in our start yesterday, then there are real challenges in some of the value proposition for system on a chip, you know, will battery life be as good, for example? Well, those applications aren’t written to be really great in the face of limited battery constraints, which is a value proposition of the Metro style apps.
So, we have to be careful that we don’t remove the value proposition for those applications. On the other hand, people would say, oh, but you have to let them run because then there’s that whole ecosystem. And then if we do let them run, we just brought the perceived negatives of some of the ecosystem. So, people say, great, now it’s easy to port viruses and malware and we’ll port those.

So, we’ve taken the approach that we’re going to build a bunch of rich capabilities in the operating system that allow devices and peripherals and a broad range of form factors all to run and working with multiple ARM partners on the ARM side, and then Intel and AMD on the system on a chip side, but then focus on the Metro style applications as the opportunity.

Sinofsky did nevertheless point out that Microsoft will allow platform cross-compatibility with Metro apps.

Microsoft’s decision probably might not have serious implications as far as ARM-powered Windows 8 tablets are concerned, since those devices won’t be geared for desktop productivity, regardless. The decision may nonetheless hurt the appeal of Nvidia’s Project Denver CPU, which will be targeted at desktops and servers—systems that would greatly benefit from being able to run legacy x86 apps. (Thanks to The Register for the tip.)

Comments closed
    • mcnabney
    • 8 years ago

    Let’s just call this what it is…. Windows Fragmentation

      • xtalentx
      • 8 years ago

      So Apple is fragmented too then? iPad and OSX are not the same and don’t run the same apps.

        • End User
        • 8 years ago

        [quote<]So Apple is fragmented too then?[/quote<] No.

      • Rakhmaninov3
      • 8 years ago

      Someone broke the Window by throwing an Apple through it

      *ducks for cover*

      😛

    • Malphas
    • 8 years ago

    Really, who’s going to be upset they can’t run Photoshop, or Media Composer, or Pro Tools, or whatever on a tablet? All the programs people will actually want to use (e.g. Firefox, Windows Live Messenger, VLC) will just be ported practically overnight anyway.

      • PeterD
      • 8 years ago

      Wait till they notice they can’t use Word, or have problems with their usual e-mailclient or browser.

        • Malphas
        • 8 years ago

        That was my point, those applications will be ported almost immediately, the same way they’re ported to android at present. On a side note, I doubt there’s a huge demand for word processing on keyboardless tablets although I wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft makes an ARM version of Office anyway. I haven’t heard of anyone using a non-web email client on Windows outside of work since the early 2000’s, although again it’s the kind of thing that’ll just get ported. All the major browsers will be the first things to get ARM versions.

        Not only that but if these hypothetical users aren’t computer savvy enough to realise x86 applications wont work on their ARM device then chances are they’ll be using the app store to get software rather than downloading executables anyway – in which case it wont even be possibly for them to get hold of non-compliant software, and they’ll be steered towards ARM alternatives.

          • mcnabney
          • 8 years ago

          I kind of doubt that. ARM is a very different type of processor. Do you know how long it took for Mac to get the quantity of apps that is has now? I have news for you. Win8 tablet is going to enter the market as an also-also-ran. How many companies are going to drop big money for re-engineer and compile their software for a very uncertain platform? Win8 tablet is a completely different platform – and it is dishonest for MS to market it as the same thing.

            • Malphas
            • 8 years ago

            Mac isn’t an appropriate comparison though, this isn’t an alternative to Windows on the desktop, the ARM version is for emerging form factors like tablets. It’s more helpful to compare it to Android, which is inundated with the kind of applications we’re talking about here – browsers, email clients, document viewers, media players, etc. That’s exactly what the ARM version of Windows 8 will be used for, not for production work that’s going to require heavy duty x86 software.

            I totally agree that Windows 8 tablets might well be an also-ran, but I really doubt it’s going to because it doesn’t have x86 compatibility; there’s going to be very few usage scenarios where users need that kind of feature for the reasons I – and others – have already mentioned. People buy tablets knowing the kind of usage they’re going to be put through and what kind of user experience and limitations to expect, like I said before no-one is going to buy a device with ARM Windows 8 then be disappointed or surprised to find it won’t run Adobe CS or AutoCAD or whatever; for the things they do need (browsers, et al) they’ll go look for something on the app store. The idea that not having x86 compatibility on ARM is just nonsense.

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 8 years ago

    I think it’ll hurt “Project Denver” only in that it’ll limit use of old applications. It seems to me that the new breed of “app” (not application) is probably going to replace a great many of the applications we’re used to using, leading to updates to the programs and giving plenty of opportunity to have ARM versions also included (or sold).

    Of course, there are a great many programs that WON’T be updated and power users will want x86, but then again I think power users would have wanted x86 regardless because they’d have wanted performance in the near term and ARM still isn’t going to take THAT cake anytime soon. So power users might want MORE than just the newer apps built for Windows 8… but then power users would also probably want x86 for the better performance since they’re POWER users. So nothing new there.

    The common user, on the other hand, is probably going to be content with what they can get as Windows 8 Apps (presumably) as traditional software that is updated regularly is updated to include ARM editions. You know Google won’t mind having its search emphasized by a Chrome app and do they care if it’s on x86 or ARM? How about MS Office? Etc, etc.

    Project Denver is about giving ARM a performance alternative and that’s a great long term goal. In the long term, eventually there’ll be enough Windows 8 alternative apps to make it so losing x86 may not be that big a deal to some/many users if the performance is otherwise present and perhaps pricing is incredible on devices that advance great formfactors that Intel won’t price down to. Project Denver is for that day. This is not a day that we’ll see in the near term.

    Right now, x86 rules the roost for the power user, but if nVidia doesn’t get its act together now then it won’t be ready when that day does finally show up.

    • Farting Bob
    • 8 years ago

    Not to suprising, ARM chips arent powerful enough to emulate x86 code without really increasing chip size, and ARM is about small, cheap chips that are incredibly power efficient, trying to duct-tape x86 code onto one would ruin the whole point of using an ARM processor. Still, we can believe Intel and hope that in a few years they have a chip with a low enough power draw to compete in small laptops, tablets and maybe even smartphones, but they are still way off matching ARM TDP’s in any handheld device.

      • sschaem
      • 8 years ago

      Intel AtomZ600 is 1.3watt (45nm)
      And this chip doesn’t need to emulate x86 code, it include a HW x86 decoder built in !
      Years ahead of ARM 🙂

    • burntham77
    • 8 years ago

    “Microsoft’s decision probably might not….”

    So you are not sure if you are sure or not?

      • PeterD
      • 8 years ago

      Then I don’t see what W8 has to offer more than other ARM OS’s.
      Using W8 on ARM thingies would be interesting for compatibility reasons, but now they say there is no compatibility.
      So, why use it?

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 8 years ago

    So if I buy a win 8 license will that include, x86, x64, and arm??? I sure flippin hope so but they still haven’t started talking about anything that really matters but are rather muddying the waters with this misdirection. I hope Nvidia gets on their case.

    • adisor19
    • 8 years ago

    “Sinofsky did nevertheless point out that Microsoft will allow platform cross-compatibility with Metro apps.”

    That right there sums up the whole article. The same .net program can be compiled for x86 and for ARMv7+. It won’t be as fancy as Apple’s fat binary where a single .app contains both code bases but none the less, it would still work on both platforms provided you install the proper version.

    Apple went ahead and provided a binary PowerPC to x86 translator for the transition but they never did that for iOS since they had no reason to. It was a brand new platform with no legacy baggage. MS wants to treat the ARM tablet part the same. The bad part for them is that they have a lot of catching up to do in terms of available apps.

    It’s still to early to tell whether this will be a total flop or whether they will actually pull it off. I’m actually thinking they have a chance when they release it next year.

    I do predict that Apple will unify the next OS X with the next iOS(v 6) and transition their computers to ARM completely in the long run. Adding a small ARM SoC to a laptop/Desktop is not too complicated and not too expensive either.

    This is what HP wanted to do with WebOS but failed miserably due to a lack of vision. Here’s hope Apple can pull it off.

    Adi

      • PeterD
      • 8 years ago

      I don’t agree.
      It will turn ARM/x86 into something like OpenOffice/MS Office (or LibreOffice/MS Office): there is doubt.

      • Vulk
      • 8 years ago

      Current .NET apps are not built on the Metro platform, and will require actual effort to migrate over. Read MSDN, they officially stated that Metro is not intended for easy portability of existing .NET apps.

    • sschaem
    • 8 years ago

    Is the reverse also true? x86 tablet wont be able to run ARM code ?

    If so, this sux because the app store will need to have two binary version for native apps.
    If not, this sux because x86 will be penalized.

    “We dont want low power ARM to loose their power efficiency running x86 code, but we dont care if low power x86 spend extra power running non native ARM code”

    Its a loose, loose situation for x86.

    I guess MS will be pushing their MSIL harder then even.

      • SPOOFE
      • 8 years ago

      [quote<]If so, this sux because the app store will need to have two binary version for native apps.[/quote<] I've been downloading software for over a decade that regularly gave you a choice of two or more versions to install (one for Mac and one for Windows, and sometimes several for different versions of Windows). I don't think it'll be an issue at all.

      • oMa
      • 8 years ago

      Metro apps will run on both platforms…

      • burntham77
      • 8 years ago

      What type of situation is this?

        • PeterD
        • 8 years ago

        Let’s say it’s complicated enough for me not to understand it.
        What’s an x86 application?
        Somthing like Word, I guess.
        So, fi that doesn’t run under W8 on an ARM, than W8 on ARM does not give added value to other OS’s, and the whole issue of MS trying to get ahead of the game thanks to W8, is nullified. It’s just one of the bunch. And some of the bunch are for free, and W8 won’t be.

          • SPOOFE
          • 8 years ago

          True, if you want x86 applications in a tablet, you’ll want to buy one of the x86 tablets. They’ve been around for years.

          Windows 8 isn’t just about ARM; it’s about tablet input. It also just so happens that ARM has been seeing the biggest movement in that sector, but there’s no reason you can’t get a Win8 tablet running native x86 hardware. Heck, MS’s move in that space will probably do wonders to bring down the costs of x86 tablets.

            • PeterD
            • 8 years ago

            Then the question is: who much people will be disappointed when they discover their W8 tablet doesn’t run x86 app’s, contrary to their expactations? This could be a very dangerous game for MS, and could be the Vista experience all over again.

            • SPOOFE
            • 8 years ago

            I don’t think that’s the question at all. I think smartphones and tablets have either proliferated the market or are in consumers consciousness enough to get most everyone to understand their most obvious limitations.

      • GTVic
      • 8 years ago

      I’m surprised you are not at -99 for that post. Why would you care what the app store has to do? It is a few extra button clicks to compile for both architectures.

      Why would you say it “sux” both ways, do you live in some magical land where there are no consequences for choices? Who are you quoting? That would be “lose” and “ever”.

      • eofpi
      • 8 years ago

      More likely, the app store will prefer fat binaries that support both x86/x64 and ARM.

    • tfp
    • 8 years ago

    Really they aren’t going to emulate x86 on ARM? How is this a surprise.

    • Meadows
    • 8 years ago

    WHY would it run x86 apps when there will be a perfectly good x86 W8 version for that, and you can use dev tools to compile crap between the two?

    This sensationalist news piece only exists because people were hoping the ARM version would have a virtual machine for x86 or something. But there’s no actual need for that.

      • End User
      • 8 years ago

      You don’t think there will be any confusion at retail?

      Many customers will expect Windows 8 to run all of their current Windows apps. How many will choose ARM over x86 without knowing there is a difference under the hood? It has the potential to be a sales nightmare.

      Is Microsoft going to clearly label ARM devices as not being compatible with Windows 7 applications?

        • SPOOFE
        • 8 years ago

        [quote<]Many customers will expect Windows 8 to run all of their current Windows apps. How many will choose ARM over x86 without knowing there is a difference under the hood?[/quote<] Most people WON'T choose to buy Windows 8 for either; they'll buy either a computer or a tablet that will come with whatever version's appropriate. And tablets are already plenty established in the consumer space, and people know what to expect from them.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 8 years ago

    Well it wasn’t ever clear #$% %$@, MS has an innate ability to get under my skin. Atleast the metro development platform will be universal.

    • jcw122
    • 8 years ago

    Good riddens.

      • Dashak
      • 8 years ago

      [quote<]Good riddens.[/quote<] Good riddance. FTFY.

    • albundy
    • 8 years ago

    cr@p!!! i was hoping for something to run my games on.

      • tviceman
      • 8 years ago

      In about 3-4 years when Valve creates it’s own streaming service or buys out OnLive, everyone’s entire steam catalog will be potentially playable on any device that can have a keyboard & mouse or controller hooked up to it.

        • sschaem
        • 8 years ago

        Flash11 ?

      • NeelyCam
      • 8 years ago

      Buy an x86 version and you can.

    • Dposcorp
    • 8 years ago

    I wonder if some type of VM solution will be made, where a VM, can run the x86 stuff.

    Yeah, performance will be bad, as well as battery, etc….but, i wonder if that is possible.

    I am just layman, so someone help me out: can a ARM hardware platform simulate x86 stuff with the right VM/software layer?

    Kinda like Transmeta’s ” very long instruction word-based (VLIW) design that translated x86 code into its own native code.”

    [url<]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transmeta[/url<]

      • Game_boy
      • 8 years ago

      Yes, of course it can. The problem is that ARM performance is low as it is, and instruction emulation may have too much of a performance penalty to be worth it.

      Actually it would be worse than Transmeta because it would be software translation; Transmeta had hardware translation that needed to be on the chip itself. The purpose of that was to get an x86-compatible chip without having to license the x86 patents from Intel like AMD and VIA do.

      The current owner of Transmeta’s tech and engineers is Nvidia. They did have a plan to put that on an ARM chip – it was called “Denver” or Tegra 5. Then in the Intel chipset lawsuit and settlement Intel told them to drop it or else they wouldn’t settle. So Nvidia did drop it and now Tegra 5 / Denver is pure ARM.

        • sschaem
        • 8 years ago

        AMD and Intel make chip like that, RISC execution with built in HW that translate x86 ISA into risc… 🙂
        Tegra3 is ~4watt, same as projected by AMD Brasoz-T . So tablet based on x86 apu Vs ARM soc wont be far off.

        Phone is another story. But I dont see a need for ARM tablet at this time. Maybe MS make that decision a few years ago ?
        Personaly I wont be getting an ARM tablet if the only benefit is an extra 30minutes of battery time. Not worth loosing x86 support.

        • PrecambrianRabbit
        • 8 years ago

        Just to be a little pedantic, Transmeta also did software translation, but the underlying hardware had some features to make that more efficient.

        I would be interested to see x86-to-ARM tech – I bet performance could be OK and you’d get the ARM processor’s energy/power advantages – but I’m not very sure of the market. My x86 programs are designed for a laptop UI, and I can only barely see that transferring to the tablet.

    • ronch
    • 8 years ago

    Calling it Windows when it won’t run Windows apps would be misleading. I could just imagine people getting turned off at the store when they find out that a ‘Windows’ tablet will not run their favorite Windows apps. Don’t get me wrong. The OS should be ok, just don’t imply that it’s a mobile version of Windows that’s compatible with all your desktop apps.

    Also, it’s crazy that they would now claim that they’ve been clear about compatibility (or lack thereof) when we all know they quickly dismissed Intel’s claim before. Seems like MS people don’t know what’s going on.

      • Hattig
      • 8 years ago

      I guess that the ARM version might be branded as “Windows Metro” or something, to emphasise that it’s not the same as “Windows 8”.

      The sad thing is that most x86 apps aren’t requiring masses of CPU power, so even a relatively simple x86 emulator could suffice for many business applications that haven’t migrated to .NET. Especially when those x86 applications spend a lot of time calling system libraries which could still be the native ARM variants.

    • Ricardo Dawkins
    • 8 years ago

    Compile source code in Visual Studio 2011
    [+] – ARM instruction set compatibility
    [ ] – x86-64 instruction set compatibility

    Press F5 (I dont remember exactly the keystroke)
    Compiling…

      • Vulk
      • 8 years ago

      Umm, nope. Only Metro style apps. Those written to that library will have that feature. So at a minimum you’re looking at importing the XAML and praying that all the .NET features you’re using are in that application class…

      to quote msdn:

      Typically, you will not simply convert an existing .NET Framework application into a Metro style app. Building a Metro style app requires that you redesign the .NET Framework application for the new user experience.

        • Ricardo Dawkins
        • 8 years ago

        ok.

      • Deanjo
      • 8 years ago

      Oh if it were only that easy.

    • nagashi
    • 8 years ago

    No big deal. It WILL support .net, and if you’ve started a new windows application anytime in the last 8 years, most likely, you did it using .net. Why does every news site seem to miss this critical fact? only a small # apps actually require native code. The vast, vast majority of modern line of business applications are .net.

    TL;DR: fear mongering. Win8 will likely suck, but not for that reason at all.

      • GTVic
      • 8 years ago

      Good points, and Microsoft favouring system stability and security over legacy apps is a strategy that is long overdue.

      For NVIDIA’s Denver CPU this is also not an issue. Legacy apps can run in an emulator and if that CPU is used in workstations/servers then there should be an emulator available for that type of machine. With the growing popularity of virtualized environments maybe it is not even an issue.

      Long term, the next version of Windows after 8 could force legacy apps to run in an emulator even on x86 machines and kill all existing virus/trojan exploits.

    • flip-mode
    • 8 years ago

    This is more a case of bad news for Intel than for Microsoft.

    I’m not going to care if most of my x86 applications don’t run on the Windows Pad or Metro Pad or whatever Microsoft wants to call it.

    Pads are for the web. They’re not for typing up office documents and running my workstation apps.

    If I look at all the programs I’ve got installed on my desktop and think of the ones I’d want on a Pad, here’s the list:

    Acrobat reader
    Google Chrome
    Windows Media Player (or something equal or better)
    Mozilla Thunderbird
    File Zilla (maybe)

    However, if a Microsoft Pad gets lots of traction, and all the apps are Arm based, then that’s a major threat to x86 if Microsoft ever decides to try to bring that ecosystem over to the desktop and extend it from there.

      • dpaus
      • 8 years ago

      [quote<]Pads are for the web[/quote<] A few years out, I suspect pads will just be the portable portion of 'your system' - most importantly, it will hold your data (unless you've chosen to put it in the cloud; not for me, thanks). Alternatively, 'pads' will be the portable display mechanism for your smartphone, which will be your data repository. Pad, smartphone, desktop - all those will just be access points to your data. And whatever application you use to create your data had better be usable on any of those devices; hence my suspicion/hope that the vast majority of applications/programs 5, 7 10 years from now will be HTML 5. From that point of view, there's 'nothing wrong' with Windows 8 for ARM not running legacy x86 code. But there's also 'nothing wrong' with iOS or Android, and there's now no compelling reason to get Windows 8 instead of one of them. An ability to run x86 would have given Microsoft a unique feature that could have given them significant market share (regardless of how usable it really was; it would have been a security blanket for many used to Windows on their desktop). Now, as I said above, Windows 8 for ARM is just another 'me too' tablet OS. Nothing wrong with it, but nothing compelling, either.

        • flip-mode
        • 8 years ago

        Ah, I think I see your point – if it ran x86 apps it would be more than just another tablet. That’s a good point.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 8 years ago

        Accessing data is one thing, creating or modifying data is another. The former is where portable devices like smartphones or tablets are fine, the latter is where they are not (I assume you’ve used one, if not then I can say from experience. I’d cringe a little even writing this post on a tablet.) There are some in-betweens like the classic convertable laptop or Asus’ Slider tablet, but the former never really took off because of price and the latter is just experimental for now. Regardless of HTML 5, apps, or programs, the basic human HID of the various form factors will dictate their utility.

        You are right about Windows 8 being ‘nothing special’ to an extent though. If it can compete on its own merits, great, but it won’t have a natural leg up without x86 compatability.

      • jazper
      • 8 years ago

      I may come off as a zealot here – you can already do all that on an iPad
      Acrobat – iAnnotate
      Chrome – Dolphin
      Media player – iTunes
      Tbird – mail.app
      Filezilla – FTP on the go

      It never hurt apple to move to arm on their iOS devices, what is to say it will hurt Microsoft?

    • dpaus
    • 8 years ago

    Well, there goes the one factor that could have let Windows 8 compete with iOS and Android on tablets. Without that, it’s just another ‘me too’ – and one that’s very, very late to the party, with a pretty dress but no dowry.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 8 years ago

      Somehow, I don’t think the appeal of a “new” type of computer in the year 2012 would be the ability to run programs from the 90s.

        • basket687
        • 8 years ago

        x86 compatible programs are not “form the 90s”, we are in 2011 and almost all windows programs are currently x86-only programs (well, minus the dozen of apps that are included with Windows 8 developer preview).

          • OneArmedScissor
          • 8 years ago

          If you want to live in a bubble where all currently maintained software won’t be ported, just as is already done for numerous smartphone platforms…uh…ok. This is a technology enthusiast site, right?

            • Vulk
            • 8 years ago

            No, in fact all currently maintained software won’t be ported. That’s a massive f’ing undertaking. At my place of business for instance, we were actually expecting that MS would at least port the .NET framework so that all our apps built in the last 11 years or so would work just fine. Since there was a whole CLR and interpreter it should have been about as easy as these things get. So having them instead say, no only these new Metro apps written on the new coolness will work, is in fact a major blow to the OS, and our plans moving forward. Rewriting everything we need will take YEARS. Years which might be better invested in making them more agnostic and web based, so that we don’t have to worry which OS wins the technology wars, now that MS is apparently throwing us under the bus…

            But those are must my feelings on the matter.

            • OneArmedScissor
            • 8 years ago

            “Years which might be better invested in making them more agnostic and web based, so that we don’t have to worry which OS wins the technology wars, now that MS is apparently throwing us under the bus…”

            I’m sorry, but isn’t that the exact reason tablets, smartphones, and things like Chromebooks are [i<]just now[/i<] taking off, despite the fact that they were technologically feasible and even already existed long ago? After reading your post again, now I'm even more confused. You act as if your entire company was betting on being able to switch every computer to an ARM something or other. What does Windows 8 actually [i<]change[/i<] for you? It's still the same old Windows on an x86 PC, and your software should even work on x86 tablets. All I'm reading here is that ARM computers will run ARM software.

            • Vulk
            • 8 years ago

            ARM computers exist, but it’s the OS stack that matters. The Metro applications suite as described and as we’re exploring with VS2011, isn’t really like anything used by Android or the various Objective-C tools. It’s closer to silverlight than anything. So saying that all major software will be ported, as if that’s A) Easy, or B) innevitable, is the issue.

            As to my company, what happened is that we already have a Android app for our service people in the field. However supporting that app requires us to have our main App Dev group which are all .NET programmers, and a special Android group who were all contractors. So now we have 2 separate code bases, with enough different between them that you can’t just take any old developer from App Dev and have them fix something in the Android app. Our hope was that they would port .NET fully over, and we wouldn’t have any issues at all, and there would have been a compelling reason to move to Windows 8.

            However this decision does put a crimp in that plan. Metro should be similar enough to make it feasible to retool developers quickly and easily from a project standpoint, and we can at least move back to all C# which is company standard… So that’s a plus. However that still requires Development time which is kind of hard to justify, whereas modding the UI of an existing App to work on the table wouldn’t be much of an issue at all because our UI designers actually do have spare bandwidth.

            From the corporate IT side, not the consumer side, this is an issue. This is MS making a decision that artificially limits the platforms we can move to based on a ‘value decision’. If .NET had been ported, it really would be a matter of just recompiling software for ARM and if those devices were more compelling we could just move to them. Because that’s not the case, we’re stuck on x86, regardless of what happens, unless we want to spend several very painful years not advancing our company’s IT stack, and instead rebuilding it to work with either architecture, which isn’t going to happen. That’s largely our fault, and the result of IT decisions made back in 2001, by people no longer with the company, but that’s the way it goes.

            From our point of view it’s a bad decision. The justifications that have been offered for it are also rather weak. All in all, by forcing developers to rework their code, they’re cutting off the compelling reason to buy Windows 8 on an ARM device… We have a working Android app, why bother moving it over until we absolutely have to, because by God the rest of our suite won’t be ported to Metro, I can pretty much guarantee you that. And then, by spending so much time focusing on Tablet-centric Ui effects, or prettying up the task manager, or making the File Explorer use the Ribbon, they really didn’t give us a reason to upgrade the desktop users.

            So all in all this has been more of a head scratcher than anything to get excited over for us.

            Ultimately that’s the point I’m trying to make is that by saying ‘it’s a bad value proposition for customers’, and forcing us to use the new hotness that they’ve just developed (and may not continue to support in ten years, since their recent track record of releasing tools and then abandoning them ala Silverlight isn’t very reassuring) is bad business. Its an artificial boundary to keep people whose job isn’t to make ARM apps, off the platform.

            So now we wait and hope Intel can out low power ARM, and make a compelling tablet product. Such is life.

            • dpaus
            • 8 years ago

            You’re dead on, just a decade or two late. We got thrown under the bus by Microsoft back in the OS/2 days, and made the decision then to code everything in ANSI “C” for portability. We then watched as Microsoft did everything they could to undermine that (um, ‘Bristol Graphics’, anyone?). So we switched to Java, and have been happily running on multiple platforms – Linux, OSX, yes, even Windows – ever since (despite Microsoft’s efforts to undermine Java, too). So when Microsoft came along with .NET, we just smiled and said ‘What a pretty new colour of the same old kool-aid, but no thanks’

            • mnecaise
            • 8 years ago

            I think it’s fair to say Microsoft shafts developers about once a decade. Sometimes a bit quicker than that — every couple of major OS releases.

            Like you, Been there. Lived it.

      • NeelyCam
      • 8 years ago

      How about the x86 versions?

      Or you still think Intel can’t possibly compete with ARM chips?

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