Intel's Nightmare: Microsoft Opens Windows to ARM

Don't let it get away!

Keep track of the stocks that matter to you.

Help yourself with the Fool's FREE and easy new watchlist service today.

It was an inevitable move for Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) : To compete with Apple and Google, Windows would have to support ARM (Nasdaq: ARMH  ) , an architecture that reaches now more than 1 billion devices every quarter. It's not just Wintel anymore. Its Winarm now as well.

In the end, Microsoft does not, as speculated, preview Windows 8 at CES 2011. However, the company showed the next version of Windows running on a handful of prototype computers using the Windows 7 interface. What made the demo special is that it was the first demonstration of Windows SoC support.

According to Microsoft, the next version of Windows will support SoCs, which includes Intel's Moorestown class of integrated processors, but also ARM architecture. CEO Steve Ballmer and corporate vice president Michael Angiulo showcased an Intel (Nasdaq: INTC  ) SoC system, but also an experimental Qualcomm Snapdragon platform, a Texas Instruments OMAP platform as well as an Nvidia Tegra 2 system running the next version of Windows. It was a very brief demo, but showed that these ARM systems already include critical drivers such as printer interfaces as well as HD video playback capability.

For Microsoft, it is an important step to extend Windows to consumer electronics and platform that are used in non-PC devices or upcoming PCs that do not use x86 architecture. Intel may have looked into platforms other than Windows as well (MeeGo, Android), but Microsoft's support for ARM and the expansion beyond x86 is a critical move that will cut into Intel's business sooner or later -- if Windows on ARM will be successful.

Right now, however, Intel and AMD have a big advantage. According to Angiulo, current Windows apps are compatible with this next generation Windows SoC version, which can run on computers with a motherboard that is smaller than the palm of an average hand. Angiulo did not discuss apps for Windows on ARM, but his choice of words indicated that today's Windows apps will need substantial recompiling before they can run ARM systems.


More from ConceivablyTech:

Google, Intel, and Microsoft are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Apple and NVIDIA are Motley Fool Stock Advisor choices. The Fool has written puts on Apple. The Fool owns shares of and has bought calls on Intel. Motley Fool Options has recommended buying calls on Intel. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. The Fool owns shares of Apple, Google, Microsoft, QUALCOMM, and Texas Instruments. 

Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days

We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (1) | Recommend This Article (6)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On January 06, 2011, at 4:55 PM, EquityBull wrote:

    Well for this to be an issue on notebook or PC then ARM will have to match speeds and specs or exceed INTC's for chips. The consumers are very Mhz oriented.

    For years Apple failed to show how great these slow clock speeds were on PowerPC. Consumers saw slow speeds on PowerPC and fast speeds on x86 Intel Chips. Apple got killed with this strategy of "our chips are faster because of their no attention to clock speeds".

    In a long overdue move Jobs finally succumbed and moved to Intel for speed comparison (apples to apples pardon the pun) as well as capacity. They could never reliably get these chips from their suppliers but INTC has the mfg capability and the fabs to build chips.

    One has to wonder if ARM can produce chips to meet demand and if they can do it with specs that exceed Intel chips. I do not think they have a chance but ultimately this helps keep the FTC off Intel's back.

Add your comment.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 1418359, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/22/2016 7:53:34 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated 10 hours ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,145.71 -16.64 -0.09%
S&P 500 2,141.16 -0.18 -0.01%
NASD 5,257.40 15.57 0.30%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

12/31/1969 7:00 PM
ARMH $0.00 Down +0.00 +0.00%
ARM Holdings CAPS Rating: ***
INTC $35.15 Down -0.28 -0.79%
Intel CAPS Rating: ****
MSFT $59.66 Up +2.41 +4.21%
Microsoft CAPS Rating: ****