3 reasons Microsoft shouldn't port Windows to ARM processor

Microsoft Corp. is facing increasing pressure to bring its mainstream Windows operating system to the ARM mobile CPU. But analysts say the company should take a different route.

Nicholas Negroponte, head of the One Laptop Per Child Association Inc. (OLPC), said Wednesday that "like many, we are urging" Microsoft to support the ARM processor already used in several billion cell phones and which the OLPC, as well as others, plans to use in the next version of its children's laptop.

The week before, Warren East, CEO of ARM Holdings, the designer of the CPU, said that with 10 ARM-based netbooks likely to hit stores by year's end, Microsoft is in danger of missing out.

"I think it's a dangerous missed opportunity for them," East told the Financial Times. "Personally, I think they should be supporting ARM now."

Through a spokeswoman, Microsoft was noncommittal.

"Microsoft's plan is to offer a quality Windows experience on the current XO device," the spokeswoman wrote in an e-mail. "Microsoft is not commenting on any future plans with regard to OLPC, nor does it comment on speculation."

Proponents say ARM's low power usage and low cost will enable a new wave of smaller, less expensive (sub-US$300) netbooks that can run all day on a single charge.

Already used in cell phones and in Amazon.com Inc.'s Kindle 2, ARMs will prove so attractive to netbook makers and consumers alike that by 2012, 55% of netbooks will ship with an ARM processor instead of an x86, such as the current market-dominating Intel Atom, predicts analyst Robert Castellano of The Information Network.

Without a version of Windows tailored for ARM netbooks, Linux-based platforms such as Google Inc.'s Android mobile operating system could thrive and turn the search and Web services company into "more of a competitor in the desktop operating system business than we ever have before," admitted Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to Wall Street last month.

Despite this threat, analysts say Microsoft shouldn't counterattack by porting Windows 7, XP or even Vista to ARM. Why?

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags arm processorMicrosoft

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Eric Lai

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?