Windows 8 on ARM may not support desktop apps

The ARM incarnation of Windows 8 is sounding more and more like a raw deal. Remember back in September, when Microsoft said the ARM build won’t run legacy x86 apps and the firm will "focus on Metro apps as the opportunity" for cross-compatibility between ARM and x86? Well, rumor now has it the ARM version of Windows 8 may not support non-Metro apps, period.

Paul Thurrott of SuperSite For Windows dropped the bombshell in the latest episode of TWiT’s Windows Weekly podcast:

With the understanding that things can change—in fact, one of the interesting things about this story is that how they’re going to handle this is very hotly debated within Microsoft still today; but as of this week, the plan internally within Microsoft is for ARM-based versions of Windows 8 not to include the Windows Desktop and not to have any facility for running Desktop apps.

Metro, of course, refers to Windows 8’s new, tile-based user interface, while Desktop is what Microsoft now calls the classic Windows experience with which we’re all familiar. Thurrott says Microsoft sees the ARM version of its upcoming operating system as little more than a solution for iPad competitors; those who want the whole banana will need to go x86.

I suppose most folks might not care too much about running old Desktop apps on a touch-screen tablet. However, unless Microsoft changes its mind, this development makes Project Denver—Nvidia’s upcoming ARM-based CPU for desktops and servers—a whole lot less appealing. By crippling the ARM version of Windows 8, Microsoft might essentially cement Intel’s position in the market for at least another few years.

Comments closed
    • Chrispy_
    • 8 years ago

    Windows 8 is sounding more and more like a desktop OS that is being disfigured by support for a bolt-on Applets and tablet features that really, really should be a completely seperate OS for a completely diferent purpose. Make it “Windows 8 Tablet” and just apply the useful desktop features to Windows7 instead.

    F**** OFF WITH YOUR STUPID TABLET INTERFACE FOR MY MOUSE, REDMOND.

    • billyconnection
    • 8 years ago

    Many of the things said here are way over my head, so forgive me if I over simplify this. You code monkeys are the equivalent to Einstein as far as I’m concerned.
    There seems to be this common debate about where ARM will go from here. As I see it, ARM (and Atom) are nothing more than underpowered toys sold to the masses in shiny, tiny boxes. These ‘smart’ phones do nothing but make a crippled OS portable. I get this overwhelming feeling I’m just holding a super duper ‘feature’ phone, not a computer in my hand. I feel everyone has sold out and started writing code for these things when the power of x86 is just on the verge of being truly portable. Shouldn’t ARM die soon after that happens? Does anyone else see ARM as a step BACKWARDS? You are all complaining about the work that has to be done to code ARM to x86 and back, when we should have just embraced the x86 code that has been the standard for a while now. ARM is nothing more than a software work-around to sell mobile phones as computers.
    Any eggheads care to agree or disagree?

    edit: Relating to the article, I think MS may be thinking the same thing by ditching ARM. By the time Win8 comes out, tablets will have x86 processors from AMD or Intel anyway.

      • obarthelemy
      • 8 years ago

      It’s about what people actually use computers for. If it’s to play media, browse the web, and do office stuff and light photo touch-ups, people actually don’t need more than a glorified smartphone. Even casual gaming is OK on ARMs nowadays.
      Why pay 100s for x86 when you can do the same thing for 10s with an ARM ?

    • HisDivineOrder
    • 8 years ago

    And then Intel throws so much money at MS that even MS is compelled to cripple anything that might challenge their sugar daddy. Elsewhere, Apple and Google cackle and rub their hands together as Microsoft sacrifices both the PC and the tablet markets while trying poorly to service both simultaneously.

    • --k
    • 8 years ago

    Another pointless bifurcation. How much did Intel pay to keep MS from wandering?

    • WaltC
    • 8 years ago

    This entire saga about “the inevitability of ARM on the desktop is the beginning of the end for x86” reminds me of other entertaining, whimsical, slightly daft fairy tales like “Intel is going to make GPUs obsolete with Larrabee,” and it is most instructive in this case to take Intel’s take on Windows 8. [url=http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/intels-otellini-windows-8-one-of-best-things-for-company/64369<]Intel dearly loves Windows 8[/url<], warts, ARM, and all. What is it with the mindless "one size must fit all" lunacy that seems to fill so many heads? There is no reason on earth why ARM would ever be thought to usurp and replace x86--rather, ARM will continue to do as it has always done--to compliment x86 as opposed to replacing it, exactly in the sense of how mobile functionality currently compliments desktop functionality. It may very well be, too, that with the passage of time and the continuing expertise in FAB process reduction and escalating yields, that x86 ultimately renders most commercial (as opposed to industrial) uses of ARM entirely void of either substance or importance. Few people today care to think about that, which is an oddity in itself. Who is it who also thinks, with such a one track mind, that "mobile" is for some strange reason going to usurp "desktop" as in "replace" the desktop? As long as people enjoy gorgeous monitors that are measured diagonally in feet as opposed to inches, spacious and tactile, hand-sized keyboards, pointing devices with incredible accuracy, sound capability that rivals that of movie theaters--and much more--how is "mobile" supposed to replace the market for that? It isn't, plain and simple. Mobile always has been and always will be an entirely separate market for so many good, solid reasons that it would take me weeks just to think of most of them and write them all down. Not only that--but ARM in any iteration whatever is in no position to "rival full x86 desktop support." It's not even close enough to shout. If Intel with all its muscle and money couldn't pull x86 out of the desktop and move it to Itanium, who else is going to do it? As far as nVidia and its newer ARM processors go, I recall no announcement from nVidia stating that at any time in the future it foresaw its ARM business overtaking and replacing its x86 business. Just like was done so often and so erroneously with Larrabee, all of these things have been twisted so far out of context that they no longer even make sense. What I have *always* imagined Win8's x86 ARM support would be is one GUI interface for tablets and other mobile devices as they develop, coexisting nicely with Microsoft's traditional x86 *Desktop* GUI. Yea, I mean, I certainly am not going to be happy with greasy fingerprints all over my "whopping" 1024x768 screen--just won't cut it--not even slightly interested. I think Microsoft has got it exactly right. There is a market for mobile and there is a market for desktop and no matter how it is sliced, mobile will never replace the desktop tomorrow, any more so than it has replaced it today. Last, Intel isn't going anywhere--any notion to the contrary is absolute fantasy...;) (Where do these notions--like Larrabee--originate?) The world markets are far larger and far more complex than the very simple "ARM vs x86" or "mobile vs. desktop" scenarios people like to imagine, for some reason. Surely cross compatibility will come--but one market completely replacing the other? Nah--not gonna' happen.

      • sweatshopking
      • 8 years ago

      +1

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 8 years ago

      What you say makes sense, but it doesn’t look to me like Microsoft is doing what you say.

      If mobile and desktop are to be separated why is Metro being created to make both look and function the same?

      • obarthelemy
      • 8 years ago

      Your argument does not quite hold water, even internally:
      – “One size does not fit all”. Indeed. Which is exactly why some/many people will be perfectly happy with a less powerful, but also cheaper and more silent ARM in their desktop PCs. The $35 Raspberry Pi-B coming out this month is good enough, in my unsubstantiated opinion, for 50-75% of users.
      – You do realize that the CPU does not have much to do with peripherals, and that the size of pixels has no importance to the GPU ? There’s nothing preventing you from connecting keyboard, mouse, HD, whatever… to an ARM. As for pixel count and screen size, smartphones can * play games* at 1280×800 right now, I’m guessing they could do office work at a lot more than that… Whether those pixels are concentrated in 4″ or spread out over 26 is immaterial. And that’s pre-iPad3/Tegra3/next year’s new CPUs/GPUs.
      – You do realize nVidia has no”x86 business”, only a discrete GPU business (in which they are an incumbent competing vs AMD), and an ARM/SoC business (in which they are a newcomer vs Qualcomm, Broadcom, TI, Rockchip…)? I don’t see how you can generalize from nVidia’s very specific situation.

      • ET3D
      • 8 years ago

      The point I felt you lost me was when you mentioned “desktop”. Desktop has already lost to mobile, in the form of notebooks. Year after year notebooks gain over desktops. I don’t think that desktops will ever be gone from the market, but they will be marginalised. The best selling laptops, as in all computer products, are not high end ones. I laughed initially when I saw AMD’s E-350 in 15″ and 17″ laptops, but I don’t believe we would be seeing so many such laptops or low powered nettops if they didn’t sell.

      Your “1024×768 screen” is also a deliberate choice which undermines your argument because not only will this res become extinct very shortly, it’s also not the common resolution. It may be the resolution of the most successful tablet, but most 10″ Android ones are 1280×800, a resolution pretty much indistinguishable from the standard notebook resolution. In addition, tablets and even phones have HDMI outputs. Hooking them up to monitors and even keyboards and mice is not a problem, so they can easily become a replacement for a PC.

      I think you’re missing the indications of where the market is going. Intel is concentrating on lower and lower power, pushing for slimmer, lower weight notebooks (ultrabooks) and trying to get its architecture in tablets; AMD is quitting the high end race altogether and is also concentrating on integrated chips for low cost PC’s and tablets (Android x86 already has support for Brazos); meanwhile ARM CPU’s are getting powerful enough to compete with Atom and Brazos.

      This doesn’t mean Intel is doomed. It just means that your feeling is wrong regarding where the market is. The mobile market has already replaced some of the PC market. A survey has shown that a significant percent of people see their tablets and phones as their main computing devices. There’s no reason to believe that this trend will slow down.

      One last thought: This is something like what’s happened to PC games. Some people have said for years that PC games will die, and they haven’t yet, but they dropped from being a dominant force in the market to being a marginal one. There are few PC exclusive games, and many are developed for consoles first. I can see the same thing happening to desktops and even “wintel” notebooks.

      • kristi_johnny
      • 8 years ago

      I don’t think in the near future we’ll be able to program applications on small mobile devices, like smartphones, tablets etc., or use them for industrial designs etc,
      The desktop will be there, not to mention one of their greatest advantages: hardware upgrades. Don’t think you will be able to upgrade your iPhone with a faster memory or disk etc.

    • albundy
    • 8 years ago

    so they dont know what to do cus they hit a brick wall…well done MS. think i’m gonna stick with android until win9 decides to straighten things out and implement a concrete strategy.

    • Xenolith
    • 8 years ago

    I’m all in favor of Windows-ARM having its own ecosystem. Does the Ipad run OS X apps? Draw a line in the sand, like Apple does. Put resources into starting fresh, instead of supporting legacy.

    • dpaus
    • 8 years ago

    So much for the much-ballyhooed ARM desktop systems….

    • tfp
    • 8 years ago

    So they don’t want to release with an x86 emulator for old applications, it could be because the performance isn’t good enough. This shouldn’t be a shock.

    • GTVic
    • 8 years ago

    This is not a bombshell. If you try to make a new piece of hardware do [b<]everything[/b<] you will end up with something that appeals to nobody. Microsoft is just making the proper choice and everyone else who is "shocked" by this is just having a hissy fit.

    • ronch
    • 8 years ago

    For this to support x86 apps while running on an ARM CPU, it would have to have some serious emulation mechanism to translate all those x86 instructions into ARM instructions, along with all those x86 architectural protocols/conventions/registers/whatever. I never seriously thought they’d actually do it, and as it would turn out, I was right.

    This is essentially Microsoft’s answer to Android and iOS for tablets, both of which are written for ARM, which capitalizes on the Windows brand in order to gain some traction in the market. Let’s see how the market welcomes this.

    • Vulk
    • 8 years ago

    Actually the more I think about this, the more I’m positive that this is just to force developers into distributing code in the MS App Store.

    Think about it both CE and Windows Phone support ARM CPUs already. Code written for either can’t be released for Windows 8, even if developers tweak the applications for the interface unless they’re completely re-written as Metro apps (this isn’t THAT difficult, but still.)

    The .NET CLR already has a ARM port. So there’s no technical reason for any of this.

    By forcing all application submissions going to the App store to use a single application framework, they are making it MUCH easier to QA the software for their curated store. That’s it.

    What do you guys think?

      • obarthelemy
      • 8 years ago

      No. It’s about getting rid of APIs and features to make a version of Windows 8 that can run on very low end hardware.
      Also, it might be to avoid cheaper ARM windows licenses cannibalizing full-featured x86 ones. I know mu netbook gt very little use, and that only because it does offer MS Office, a large hard disk and good I/O. The moment tablets offer those 3, it’s out the window (see what I did here ? ^^)

        • kristi_johnny
        • 8 years ago

        That wouldn’t be that bad to clean up some of MS’s frameworks, platforms, API, etc etc, mostly those released in the 1990s.

    • jjj
    • 8 years ago

    The limitation was supposed to be based on screen size not CPU type in Vista 2… err WIN 8,not that the UI matters much,it’s just an UI doesn’t really impact functionality.
    A reason for this limitation could be an early launch date for ARM tablets,before sept but there is no info on such a scenario.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 8 years ago

    “this development makes Project Denver—Nvidia’s upcoming ARM-based CPU for desktops and servers—a whole lot less appealing. By crippling the ARM version of Windows 8, Microsoft might essentially cement Intel’s position in the market for at least another few years.”

    how much money do you think changed hands to effect this decision. If its such a big deal microsoft could sell two distros of the arm version though I think that is stupid microsoft loves market segmentation.

      • notfred
      • 8 years ago

      Given that there are so many other OS that support ARM and that ARM is the #1 shipping CPU architecture, I suspect that this may be more of a hit to Microsoft than to ARM.

    • Vulk
    • 8 years ago

    Umm, as I commented when the Developer Demo came out… They were explicit, at least on MSDN that ONLY Metro apps would work on ARM Windows 8, and .NET, C++ Native Code, etc, would not be supported. I bitched about it then, and people told me I was either wrong despite the fact that I was quoting from MSDN articles, or told me basically ‘what do you expect’, and that I was silly for not thinking we’d have to port our several years of .NET code to Metro, and made it seem like that was going to be easy as opposed to several years of QA nightmare…

    So, I guess, I’m glad you guys caught up with the news???

    Not sure what to say here.

      • dpaus
      • 8 years ago

      [quote<]Not sure what to say....[/quote<] Just say 'Neely!!' - it's short for 'I said it first a long time ago and I'm right and you're all wrong, and you can start bowing anytime'

        • Vulk
        • 8 years ago

        Sorry if it comes off that way. It’s just that I was frustrated back then, and then to read pretty much the same conclusions in a main article is… Honestly just more frustrating.

        It’s just that the more I think about it, the less this decision makes sense. They are preventing code bases that already run on ARM from running natively on ARM in Windows 8. That’s insane.

        They are in some ways crippling the UI on the upcoming OS on x86 non touch systems by forcing users to use touch based interfaces with no option to disable them. So the place Windows 8 really shines is on x86 tablets, which are such a hodge podge of tradeoffs right now that it’s hard to see them succeding in the next two years or so.

        The only thing that makes sense to me, is that this is to FORCE developers into the MS run App Market place, and make it easier from THEM to QA application submissions. That’s the only front this makes sense on. And that’s vaguely offensive to me.

          • dpaus
          • 8 years ago

          That was intended to yank Neely’s chain, not yours 😉

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            So:

            “Krogoth” = unimpressive
            “Neely” = I was right, and I’ll be a jerk about it

            ?

      • Frith
      • 8 years ago

      This is new news. As you say, it has been known that existing win32 applications would not run on ARM (i.e. there would be no x86 emulator). However, until now it was thought that win32 applications could be recompiled for ARM. The new news is that there won’t be an ARM compiler at all, nor will there even be a desktop for ARM.

      This has essentially turned Windows 8 into just another tablet operating system that will dispensary into the crowd. I really don’t understand why Microsoft would take away the main advantage Windows 8 had over other tablet operating systems.

        • ludi
        • 8 years ago

        [quote<]I really don't understand why Microsoft would take away the main advantage Windows 8 had over other tablet operating systems.[/quote<] Zune, PlaysForSure, GFWL, WP6, and feel free to add any other current or past projects that Microsoft was only half-committed to developing and maintaining properly.

        • esterhasz
        • 8 years ago

        Yeah, I remember vividly that they demoed a recompiled desktop and office when they first showed came out with the ARM news.

      • obarthelemy
      • 8 years ago

      True dat. I remember reading about this limitation a few months back.

    • dpaus
    • 8 years ago

    It is [i<]inconceivable[/i<] to me (cue obligatory 'Princess Bride' reference) that Microsoft won't bring out a toolkit for their development platforms that will assist developers in porting their 'legacy' Windows apps to run on ARM. [i<]That[/i<] should be easily doable ('easily' for someone with Microsoft's resources, that is). Migrating a classic-GUI program (not 'app'!!) to Metro.... hmm, not so easy. Re: Princess Bride - I just realized hom much that Sicilian reminds me of Ballmer (and in so many ways, too...)

      • Vulk
      • 8 years ago

      they have already released those tools. It’s the developer preview of Visual Studio 2012. So far there are a lot of gotcha’s migrating even managed code on the .NET code base to Metro that requires engineering resources to resolve. They range from relatively minor all the way up to hair tearing.

      What’s inconcievable to me is that they already had a portable JIT version of .NET, not to mention Silverlight. They could have just ported the CLR for each to the new Arch and called it a day. Instead they decided that rather than let developers for WIndows Phone port their apps to Win8 easily, they’d need to recompile them and go through whatever headaches they encounter making them into ‘Metro’ apps.

      That’s what’s wrong in so, so many ways.

        • dpaus
        • 8 years ago

        The more I see .NET in action, the more I love Java.

          • srg86
          • 8 years ago

          The more I see and have to develop for .NET, the more I love native code, especially on Linux.

        • srg86
        • 8 years ago

        One thing I’ve noticed with Microsoft is that they have this fad-of-the-day atitude to their development APIs.

        First, after moving from DOS to Win16, there was then Win32. These were all imho necessary moves as processor and operating technology improved on the PC.

        Then came COM, then lets move everyone over to .NET, and now lets move everyone over to Metro.

        It always seems that every few years, MS deprecates the current APIs and brings out something else.

          • --k
          • 8 years ago

          The whole tech industry runs on planned obsolescence, not just software.

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            I had a Samsung not-so-smartphone for two years; it died when my 2-year AT&T contract expired..on the same day.

            I wonder if Samsung put a kill timer in it…

    • sweatshopking
    • 8 years ago

    doesn’t matter. this isn’t an issue. Most legacy apps would need to be recompiled, unless they’re .net, and nobody is going to bother. FOR THE MOST PART. Any one writing a new app, or a touch screen app will want to go with metro UI anyway. This isn’t a bombshell, and anyone who’s upset is nuts. THAT BEING SAID, i’d go x86, cause i’d WANT A PORTABLE PC, not a TABLET

      • nagashi
      • 8 years ago

      Your argument makes no sense. Every line of business application will bother. And most line of business apps are .net.

      Also, “i’d go x86, cause i’d WANT A PORTABLE PC, not a TABLET” I don’t even know what this is supposed to mean. Just because it has an arm chip in it, it doesn’t mean it’s a tablet. What *is* a pc these days anyway? A computer that runs windows, or a computer that runs on x86, or both? PC vs Mac debate has led me to think that a pc is a computer that runs windows. Ergo, arm laptop + windows == pc. Is an Itanium workstation running windows (not that they really exist anymore) a PC?

      • Vulk
      • 8 years ago

      Umm, you’re dead wrong. We were developing touchscreen software in .NET previously, and given the assurances MS made to us when Windows 8 was originally announced, the decision to only allow Metro apps on ARM is actually a major blow to us because porting from .NET to Metro is actually NOT easy given the incompatibilities in the way they used to implement touch, and the way they are now. It’s taking a LOT of QA resources, and developer time that should have gone into the next rev of the software, just to port it to Metro. If they’d been honest in the first place that would be one thing. Not supporting .NET natively, not to mention Silverlight, is assinine.

      Think about it, they threw everyone under the bus. .NET developers. Windows Phone developers. CE Developers. Everyone. Including people who had code that previously ran on ARM. That’s not minor.

      WTF.

        • sweatshopking
        • 8 years ago

        that might be true. I’m not sure what the metro vs desktop requirements are. Who says they’re not supporting .net natively? I haven’t heard this. Do you have a link, or additional information? i can see how that would be frustrating.

        @nagashi, Every business is not necessarily going to port to arm. don’t be crazy. they’ll maintain their x86 software for years to come. maybe in 5 years or so, if arm has a solid footing, will we see arm compatible applications. I don’t imagine the majority of small to medium sized businesses caring enough. Some large ones might, but anyone else, it’s not going to be worth it.

        By pc i mean a full fledged fully capable windows based computer. Something i can do ANYTHING with. an ipad, android, etc. simply aren’t. I never expected arm based windows 8 to be either, the cpu power simply isn’t there. I’ll stick with x86 for the near term for my computing needs.

      • kamikaziechameleon
      • 8 years ago

      So basically you relegate ARM to ever be a tablet/phone architecture. I think we would benefit from seeing arm have a legit presence in desktop environments. A 3rd player in this would really benefit all of us since AMD is currently going through something of an mid life crysis.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 8 years ago

        It has to perform better first.

    • jstern
    • 8 years ago

    I think that it all comes down to time. It’s just something that won’t be ready in time, unless Windows on Arm was their complete focus.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 8 years ago

    I support this decision.

      • NeelyCam
      • 8 years ago

      Why? This just means x86 will have no competition and, with AMD imploding, Intel will be left with an actual monopoly..

        • cygnus1
        • 8 years ago

        I agree. This seems like MS is throwing in the towel on a fully functional ARM Win8. The majority of Metro apps will have no native code and will be written in interpreted languages which will be pretty much arch agnostic. I don’t understand how much could be left to do on getting full apps running, considering they demoed Office running on an ARM system quite a while ago. Can it be that hard to re-implement their remaining libraries on ARM?

        • derFunkenstein
        • 8 years ago

        ARM is a long way off from being performance competitive. I’d like to hang onto x86 for a while yet.

          • NeelyCam
          • 8 years ago

          Reply fail – meant to reply to derFunkestein… fixed now.

          • NeelyCam
          • 8 years ago

          True, but it takes a while to get the ecosystem in place.. chicken/egg, and Microsoft is in a position to take the first step… looks like they are choosing not to take that step, maybe to maximize their short-term profits, maybe to keep Intel from getting too Android-happy..

        • Forge
        • 8 years ago

        I wonder, if Intel really does establish a monopoly position, will the US Government have the massive brass cojones required to actually DO something about it? What to do? Split Intel?

          • srg86
          • 8 years ago

          Why? If this monopoly comes about because of any-competitive practices by Intel, then maybe split Intel. But if they simply get a monopoly because their main competitor (AMD) has imploded through its own incompetence, then why should the government intervene?

          I don’t like monopoly any more than the next guy, but you can’t punish any one for someone elses mistakes.

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            The government’s job is the same, regardless of the reasons. Monopolies need to be eliminated to protect the customers.

            This is why Intel has been trying to keep AMD afloat, including the 1.5bil cash infusion.

            • yogibbear
            • 8 years ago

            Monopolies need to be eliminated as a placeholder excuse for the government getting their dirty paws on a hard working companies’ profits.

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            hahahahahahahahhaa

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 8 years ago

            Well the rule is only if a monopoly is seen as hurting the customer. See: all the sports leagues in the US.

            I’m also not sure how you split up Intel so as to create x86 competition.

            • cheesyking
            • 8 years ago

            Well you could split the fabs from the chip design like AMD did so competitors get access to the same production lines, much of Intel’s advantage comes from this area. That’s the only way I can see it working.

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            [quote<]I'm also not sure how you split up Intel so as to create x86 competition.[/quote<] It would be simplest to split Intel process/manufacturing and design into two separate entities (sort of like AMD_old -> AMD_new and GloFo). Suddenly, AMD, NVidia, Qualcomm and others would get access to the top semiconductor process, and competition would improve in multiple chip market segments, including AMD x86 vs. Intel x86.

    • NeelyCam
    • 8 years ago

    [quote<]"how they're going to handle this is very hotly debated within Microsoft still today"[/quote<] Those who think Intel is "leaning" on Microsoft on this topic, raise your hand!

      • Dygear
      • 8 years ago

      Maybe. But I think it’s more to do with Steve Ballmer not being Steve Jobs. Moving from PPC to x86 went off pretty well and yet Microsoft can’t do that for x86 to ARM? You’ve already been shown how, what is this hard to do? Then again, I never really expected x86 code to run on ARM in the first place. I did not expect for Microsoft to make a emulation layer for applications. It just never made sense to me in the first place, so I really don’t see this as a ‘bomb shell.’

        • jstern
        • 8 years ago

        Microsoft is not moving from x86 to ARM. They’re just making a Windows 8 version for ARM. If they were moving from one architecture to another, using all their man power, then I’m pretty sure things would be different. I think it has more to do with that than for example Steve Jobs being like Jesus or something.

      • Vulk
      • 8 years ago

      What kills me is that they aren’t supporting code already compiled to run on ARM. That’s the only thing that makes me think that this is either A) a power play by an outside force, or B) an attempt to force developers into MS’s App Store.

    • PeterD
    • 8 years ago

    Then, what’s the point running W8 on ARM?

      • bthylafh
      • 8 years ago

      To make Microsoft money and prevent someone else from getting a foothold in the market.

      • nagashi
      • 8 years ago

      Longer battery life, lower cost, breaking the x86 monopoly?

        • Narishma
        • 8 years ago

        You don’t need Windows for that.

        • PeterD
        • 8 years ago

        Why would you break the x86 monopoly and supporting the Windows monopoly in doing that?

          • NeelyCam
          • 8 years ago

          Because x86 hate defies logic.

      • NeelyCam
      • 8 years ago

      To have an alternative OS to Android/iOS on a tablet.

        • Vulk
        • 8 years ago

        Yeah… But can it actually provide that alternative? We’ll need to see, but I’m curious to see if the OS still looks as responsive on low power equipment as it does on the Core i5 tablets they handed out.

          • Beelzebubba9
          • 8 years ago

          My guess would be that MS will have a hard time getting a good experience out of mid 2012 ARM hardware. If they can do some incredible optimization work they can probably get it on par with/maybe slightly better than Windows 7 on the Atom, but that remains to be seen.

          The problem is that ARM chips are just not very powerful, with even the Atom N570 being a solid 25% faster than the Tegra 3 in SunSpider. And Windows 7 on the Atom is pretty atrocious in my experience.

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            I have to believe that MS is able to improve the experience on low-power devices if that’s where their focus is. Google has some good software engineers, but so does MS, and they were doing software when Brin/Page were still in diapers.

        • BobbinThreadbare
        • 8 years ago

        Again, what is the point? What does Microsoft bring that those companies don’t that makes one want to use the alternative?

    • NeelyCam
    • 8 years ago

    This is what I meant when I said PC-on-ARM won’t have the critical ecosystem mass until around 2015. And, until then, ARM licensees also have a significant silicon performance disadvantage vs. Intel x86.

      • Vulk
      • 8 years ago

      I vaguely agree. But if you consider how much faster ARM is iterating right now compared to Intel, even the relative performance disadvantage is sliming. Especially when your only target is to provide ENOUGH computing power to provide an adequate computing experience for every day users.

      With ARM A15, they seem to be damn close to providing that, and ARMs partners may be able to hit that by 2013 or 2014. At which point the only thing holding them back is the software.

      MS’s position with Windows is really untenable. They are stripping the desktop of useful functionality and putting it into an interface designed for touch input. Then making the most cost efficient way of delivering that touch input unable to support legacy code that SHOULD be able to work on it.

      Time will tell. But I have a feeling that there might be more convergence sooner than you think. But we’re quibbling over a year or two. Not much more.

        • NeelyCam
        • 8 years ago

        My view of this hasn’t changed.

        1) When more performance for price or watt becomes available, the “good-enough” goal posts move.
        2) With A15, ARM is sacrificing power efficiency for performance (see Anandtech article about A7).
        3) Intel is not sitting still. 22nm trigate is about to come out, and Silvermont and Airmont Atoms are slated to 2013 and 2014.

        ARM won’t have a chance to catch up on performance until 2015 (when tri-gate-equivalent processes are out from TSMC/Samsung/GloFo).

      • obarthelemy
      • 8 years ago

      What do you mean by PC ?

        • NeelyCam
        • 8 years ago

        Personal Computer. Something bigger and more capable than a smartphone or a tablet. Generally something with a keyboard..

    • Farting Bob
    • 8 years ago

    Back in my day, we called them programs.

      • jstern
      • 8 years ago

      The other day I was using my Android phone and my cousin’s 9 year old son asked me if had any Apps. I don’t know, but for some reason the word App sounded obnoxious, like someone trying to be cool or something. Just not used to it, so I said, “I call them programs.”

      When I think of the word App for some reason I imagine a really light weight program, that does a simple task, and doesn’t even instal on the computer. Program, something that has many features.

        • NeelyCam
        • 8 years ago

        Sorry, but now your cousin’s 9yo son thinks your an old fart stuck in the past..

          • jstern
          • 8 years ago

          Nah, her kids think I’m in my teens, and they gravitate towards me because of video games. I’m still young so I tell them I’m in my teens, and they know I go to school. I’m like the last person they would see as an old fart.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 8 years ago

        you sound like an old man. Lighten up. 😀

        • Wirko
        • 8 years ago

        Programs run on computers. Apps run on phones, tablets, any fancy device. And who wants to use a computer these days? Apple Computer Inc. knew what they were doing when they dropped ‘Computer’ from their name.

      • dpaus
      • 8 years ago

      So, your username should be ‘Old Fart Bob’ ??

        • NeelyCam
        • 8 years ago

        +1 Flawless.

      • Deanjo
      • 8 years ago

      Must be pretty old because I have a manual from a honeywell computer trainer that refers to them as applications written in the late 60’s.

        • WarriorProphet
        • 8 years ago

        Also when I was working in the server world our programs called jobs from the database app, pulled them into a word editor app, and outputted them to the printing app….

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