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
121 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
121 months ago
Crossing my fingers for a real Microsoft renaissance here. :D
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Ryth Avatar
121 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
121 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
121 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
121 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

prosser macbook air colors stacked

Images Reveal Colorful New MacBook Air Design

Tuesday May 11, 2021 5:06 am PDT by
Apple's next MacBook Air will feature a completely new design and come in a range of colors like the 24-inch iMac, according to leaker Jon Prosser, who has now released supposedly accurate renders of the new machines based on leaked images. In a new video uploaded to YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Prosser elaborated on his previous prediction that Apple's next-generation MacBook Air models ...
m1 ipad pro chip

M1 iPad Pro Over 50% Faster Than Previous Generation in Early Benchmarks

Tuesday May 11, 2021 11:56 am PDT by
Last month, Apple introduced a new iPad Pro with the same M1 chip found in the latest Macs, and early benchmark results indicate that the M1 iPad Pro is over 50% faster than the previous-generation iPad Pro. Based on five legitimate Geekbench 5 results (here's the fifth) for the fifth-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro with the M1 chip, the device has average single-core and multi-core scores of...
iPhone 13 Camera Backs

iPhone 13 Models Will Be Slightly Thicker and Will Have Larger Camera Bumps

Monday May 10, 2021 10:41 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone 13 models will be slightly thicker than the iPhone 12 models and will also feature larger, thicker camera bumps with lenses that protrude less, according to iPhone 13 schematics seen by MacRumors. The new iPhone 13 and 13 Pro models are expected to feature a thickness of 7.57mm, up from 7.4mm in the iPhone 12 models. That's an increase of 0.17mm, which won't be hugely ...
apple park drone june 2018 2

Apple Fires Newly Hired Ex-Facebook Product Manager Following Revelations of Past Misogynistic Comments

Thursday May 13, 2021 12:10 am PDT by
Apple has fired Antonio García Martínez, an ex-Facebook product manager and author of the controversial book "Chaos Monkeys," following public and internal calls for removal and investigation due to past misogynistic statements, The Verge reports. Apple hired Martínez earlier this week to join its ads team, however, comments that Martínez made in the past sparked condemnation from users...
imac m1 blue isolated 16x9 500k

M1 iMac is Up to 56% Faster Than Prior-Generation High-End 21.5-Inch iMac

Wednesday May 12, 2021 10:03 am PDT by
Apple's M1 iMacs are set to start delivering to customers next week, and ahead of the official launch day, benchmarks for the machines have been showing up on Geekbench, likely from reviewers who are testing them. It will come as no surprise that M1 iMac benchmarks are right on par with benchmarks for the M1 MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac mini, coming in with an average single-core score...
iPad Pro Feature

Early M1 iPad Pro Orders Now Preparing to Ship

Tuesday May 11, 2021 9:41 am PDT by
Apple will soon ship out 11 and 12.9-inch M1 iPad Pro models, according to multiple Twitter users and MacRumors readers who have seen their orders shift to "Preparing to Ship" status. So far, we haven't seen any shipment notifications, but that's the next step and is likely to happen in the near future. Apple has not provided an exact delivery date to those who ordered a new M1 iPad Pro, but ...
fortnite apple logo 2

Judge in Epic vs. Apple Case Floats Potential Compromise

Wednesday May 12, 2021 3:54 pm PDT by
In the ongoing legal battle between Apple and Epic Games, the two companies are this week calling up their expert witnesses to argue their points before Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who will make a decision in the case after a three week trial. Expert testimony is not as exciting as some of the leaked App Store documents that were highlighted last week, especially as much of what's being...
AirTag in Envelope Feature 2

AirTag Used to Successfully Track a Mailed Package Across the UK

Wednesday May 12, 2021 8:44 am PDT by
An Apple customer in the United Kingdom has successfully used Apple's Find My network to track an AirTag as it was being sent by mail to a friend in a completely different city. Outlined in a blog post at Intego, Kirk McElhearn said he taped an AirTag to a piece of card, wrapped it inside a small bubble envelope, and then sent it on its way. Kirk lives in the small town of...
maxresdefault

Video: Make Your iPhone Last Longer With These Battery Preserving Tips

Monday May 10, 2021 1:23 pm PDT by
Maximizing battery life is something that many iPhone users deal with on a regular basis as we all want our iPhones to last as long as possible. Sometimes there are bugs in iOS that make the battery drain faster, and sometimes we just need to eke out as much as possible on a long day out and about. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. In our latest YouTube video, MacRumo...
macos big sur ios 14 iphone 12 pro macbook air icloud drive desktop documents hero

Apple Merging 'iCloud Documents and Data' Service With iCloud Drive in May 2022

Tuesday May 11, 2021 2:36 am PDT by
Apple plans to merge its iCloud Documents and Data service with iCloud Drive starting in May of 2022, according to a support document published late last week (via MacGeneration). iCloud Drive and iCloud Documents and Data share the fundamental ability to backup data from apps. However, iCloud Documents and Data was often a cumbersome, confusing experience. In contrast, iCloud Drive is more...