Microsoft Lays Out Plans for Windows on ARM Processors

Back in September, we covered Microsoft's announcement of Windows 8, the next step in the operating system's evolution that seeks to encompass not only traditional PCs but also mobile devices running on ARM processor architecture.

sinofsky windows 8
Microsoft's Steven Sinofsky showing off prototype Windows 8 hardware at September's BUILD conference

Steven Sinofsky, president of Microsoft's Windows division, today issued a massive blog post laying out in more detail how the company plans to tackle Windows on ARM (WOA). Sinofsky notes upfront that WOA will be a new member of the Windows family, based heavily on Windows 8 but customized for the flexibility that users will see in ARM-based systems in both traditional PC and mobile form factors.

With Windows 8, we have reimagined Windows from the chipset to the experience—and bringing this reimagined Windows to the ARM processor architecture is a significant part of this innovation. Expanding the view of the PC to cover a much wider range of form factors and designs than some think of today is an important part of these efforts. Windows on ARM enables creativity in PC design that, in combination with newly architected features of the Windows OS, will bring to customers new, no-compromise PCs.

WOA will be focused on Microsoft's "Metro" touch interface for Windows 8, but will also support a limited "desktop mode" that will more closely resemble traditional Windows and which will support versions of Microsoft's Office applications optimized for the ARM architecture to provide touch support as well as minimization of power and resource consumption.


Microsoft will also be following Apple's App Store model with Windows on ARM, with application distribution occurring solely through the Windows Store. Existing Windows apps will have to be completely rewritten to be compatible with WOA, but developers will be able to write for both WOA and the more traditional Windows 8 simultaneously if they wish.

Microsoft has been working closely with a variety of hardware and peripheral partners to ensure tight integration between hardware and software for WOA systems, and the company intends to ship WOA simultaneously with the Windows 8 launch. As Bloomberg notes, Microsoft will be helping push work on WOA forward by providing select developers with test machines running WOA on chips from Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, and Nvidia. That developer program is set to go live with the next round of Windows 8 beta testing at the end of the month.

The ARM architecture is of course the basis for Apple's iOS products, as well as many of the other most popular mobile devices on the market. Microsoft has lagged behind in the push for mobile as its Windows Phone operating system has failed to catch on with consumers and its tablet efforts have stalled. In recognizing that the ARM architecture will help enable the next generation of increasingly portable devices, Microsoft is hoping to tie into its existing strength with traditional Windows to generate momentum in the touch-enabled and mobile markets.

Top Rated Comments

Apple Knowledge Navigator Avatar
126 months ago
A) What's Bruce Willis doing in the photo?

B) Why is he working for Microsoft?
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dokujaryu Avatar
126 months ago
Crossing my fingers for a real Microsoft renaissance here. :D
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Ryth Avatar
126 months ago
MSFT would probably shoot up $10 if Ballmer stepped down...that guy has basically stagnated the stock/company with his lack of vision.

I actually believe Microsoft is finally waking up to the reality of what computing is becoming and they can actually become the 'Apple' of the 90s and early 2000s now in the 'Tablet' area. They will be the niche product but they will still sell a nice amount. Their tablet OS is actually very nicely conceptualized and actually is very intuitive...it will work nicely and actually looks DIFFERENT...where they just aren't stealing Apples layout and icons. They developed their own style and it works for MS.

Google/Android is just not catching on and it's because they still don't understand the user experience.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
paul4339 Avatar
126 months ago
Who is this guy??? Balmer-Light?
This is the guy who should have Ballmer's job in the first place!

.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
johnnyjibbs Avatar
126 months ago
Hmmm... Now that the infamous ribbon interface has become a fixture of Windows Explorer in 8, I for one will be going nowhere near it.

I hate the ribbon!
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Skoopman Avatar
126 months ago
They might actually GET it! :eek:

It might actually be too late. Let's wait and see.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iCloud General Feature

iCloud+'s New Custom Email Domain Feature Now Available in Beta

Wednesday August 25, 2021 7:48 am PDT by
Starting with iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey, users with a paid iCloud+ storage plan can personalize their iCloud email address with a custom domain name, such as johnny@appleseed.com, and the feature is now available in beta. iCloud+ subscribers interested in setting up a custom email domain can visit the beta.icloud.com website, select "Account Settings" under their name, and select ...
original iphone

Phil Schiller Says iPhone Was 'Earth-Shattering' Ten Years Ago and Remains 'Unmatched' Today

Monday January 9, 2017 7:15 am PST by
To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller sat down with tech journalist Steven Levy for a wide-ranging interview about the smartphone's past, present, and future. The report first reflects upon the iPhone's lack of support for third-party apps in its first year. The argument inside Apple was split between whether the iPhone should be a closed...
iphone 12 colors 2021

iPhone 12 Colors: Deciding on The Right Color

Thursday November 5, 2020 8:35 am PST by
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro arrived in October 2020 in a range of color options, with entirely new hues available on both devices, as well as some popular classics. The 12 and 12 Pro have different color choices, so if you have your heart set on a particular shade, you might not be able to get your preferred model in that color. iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 The iPhone 12 mini and iPhone...
maxresdefault

'Being James Bond' Retrospective Will Be Free to Watch Through Apple TV App

Tuesday August 31, 2021 8:25 am PDT by
Update 9/7/21: "Being James Bond" is now available to watch through the Apple TV app. Ahead of the theatrical release of James Bond film "No Time To Die" on October 8 in the United States, a 45-minute retrospective titled "Being James Bond" will be available to watch for free through the Apple TV app, according to Deadline. The story from MGM is said to feature Daniel Craig reflecting ...
maxresdefault

New MacBook Pro Models Coming at WWDC, Suggests Leaker

Monday May 24, 2021 1:27 pm PDT by
New MacBook Pro models are coming at WWDC, according to leaker Jon Prosser who has a mixed track record when it comes to predicting Apple's plans. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Prosser provided no additional information, but there are new 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro models in the works. The new MacBook Pros will feature the most radical redesign to the MacBook Pro ...
calculatorapp

iOS 11 Bug: Typing 1+2+3 Quickly in the Calculator App Won't Get You 6

Tuesday October 24, 2017 2:03 pm PDT by
A bug in the built-in Calculator app in iOS 11 is getting some major attention this week, despite the fact that it's been around since iOS 11 was in beta testing. At issue is a calculator animation that causes some symbols to be ignored when calculations are entered in rapid succession. You can try it for yourself: Type 1+2+3 and then the equals sign into the Calculator app quickly. Due to...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Full iPhone 13 Feature Breakdown: Everything Rumors Say We Can Expect

Tuesday August 31, 2021 7:50 am PDT by
With the launch of Apple's iPhone 13 lineup believed to be just a few weeks away, we have compiled all of the coherent rumors from our coverage over the past year to build a full picture of the features and upgrades coming to the company's new smartphones. For clarity, only explicit improvements, upgrades, and new features compared to the iPhone 12 lineup are listed. It is worth noting that...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Kuo: iPhone 13 to Feature LEO Satellite Communications to Make Calls and Texts Without Cellular Coverage

Sunday August 29, 2021 7:39 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 will feature low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication connectivity to allow users to make calls and send messages in areas without 4G or 5G coverage, according to the reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Kuo explained that the iPhone 13 lineup will feature hardware that is able to connect to LEO satellites. If enabled with the relevant...
studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
Top Stories 75 Thumbnail

Top Stories: Last-Minute iPhone 13 Rumors, Apple Announces App Store Changes, and More

Saturday September 4, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
The finish line is in sight! Apple's annual iPhone event is likely just a week or so away and all eyes will be on the company as it unveils the next version of its most popular product line. With any luck, we'll also see the next-generation Apple Watch and perhaps even some new AirPods. Other news this week saw Apple making some more changes to its App Store policies in response to a...