You might have noticed a news item posted here at IT in Canada
earlier today in which Nicholas Kolakowski
reports on recently released details about Windows ARM
. In his reporting, Kolakowski gives us the facts in a concise and thorough manner, referencing a blog post by Steven Sinofsky (president of Microsoft’s Windows and Windows Live division)
... but he kind of understates the depth of Sinofsky's post. Joe Wilcox from Betanews
has really dig into this matter:
Microsoft is in the process of rebuilding Windows for the post-PC era, by stepping back from its core roots -- Intel processors -- and embracing ARM. Windows will still run on x86 processors, but there's now little doubt that, without major chip changes from AMD or Intel, Wintel is legacy and ARM is the future. The architectural change opens up mobile device categories, even Windows 8 on smartphones, that the OS can't effectively reach today. Essentially, Microsoft is betting the flagship operating system's future on ARM. Sinofsky made a big statement in a small way -- nothing more than one of the longest blog posts you'll read ever (It's more than 8,000 words, closer to 9,000 really, which is enough to publish as a Kindle Single).
It seems like Wilcox took Sinofsky's word count as a challenge, taking a deep dive into the specifics of ARM and what it might mean for the future of PC computing and Microsoft itself:
Simply stated: Windows 8 is the riskiest release ever. Microsoft execs say they are "re-imagining" Windows. Believe them. But it's much more: Reinvention. If successful, Microsoft will be a very different company in five years, and that's as much about the future stock price and company valuation as market position and products. All depends on the risks delivering rewards.
Windows 8 and Windows on ARM are nothing short of re-architecting Microsoft's flagship operating system from kernel to desktop. The Redmond, Wash.-based company will ask much of customers, developers, OEMs and other partners during this difficult transition, and it will be hard on everyone. But the time is now, or never. If Microsoft fails to take the risks now, Windows' luminescence will diminish in a half decade (or even less)....
From the perspective of non-PC competition -- mobile devices connected to the cloud -- Microsoft's timing is seemingly disastrous. The company and its partners are sure to lose sales during the transition. However, from another perspective, timing couldn't be better. Businesses remain Microsoft's core market and most will have finished or be close to completing migrations from XP to Windows 7. So the majority of customers will have recently upgraded. If Microsoft is going to "re-imagine" Windows, a time when core customers are least likely to upgrade is opportune. Windows 8 and, more importantly, Windows on ARM are about preparing the ecosystem of customers, developers and others for Windows 9.
If the strategy works -- and that includes unification of the user interface across devices (ideally the codebase, too) -- Windows will be a different, more flexible, more (cloud) connected operating system by the time v8's first service pack releases than it is today; and beyond. Like Apple laid a difficult new OS foundation with Mac OS X, Microsoft is on track to do something similar, actually much better, today. Because so far, Microsoft is executing the early phases much better than Apple did more than a decade ago.
Really, there's a lot to digest in the posts from both Sinofsky and Wilcox. Both are hightly recommended!
Microsoft details Windows 8 on ARM
Nicholas Kolakowski | February 12, 2012
Building Windows for the ARM processor architecture
Steven Sinofsky | 9 Feb 2012
What Windows 8 means to Microsoft and to you
Joe Wilcox | 12 February 2012
Why will Windows on ARM devices come with Office 15?
Joe Wilcox | 10 February 2012