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Intel rubbishes Windows RT's chances

Intel rubbishes Windows RT's chances

Paul Otellini claims that Windows RT is doomed to failure thanks to a lack of support for legacy software.

Intel chief executive Paul Otellini has poured scorn on Microsoft's Windows RT plans, claiming that a lack of legacy support will hinder the company's adoption of the ARM architecture.

It's no surprise that Intel isn't keen on Windows RT: as the first more-or-less mainstream Windows release to support chips based on the ARM architecture of the eponymous British chip giant's design, it represents a clear and present danger to the company's near-monopoly on consumer computing.

Windows RT, for the moment, is clearly aimed at tablets rather than desktops. Should the software prove popular, however, its use will doubtless extend: already ARM licensee Qualcomm is talking about an ultra-slim laptop based around its Snapdragon processor and running WIndows RT as a serious competitor to Intel's Ultrabook programme.

It is, however, interesting to hear Otellini explicitly warn against Windows RT and its ARM processors in a meeting with investors late last night. 'There has been a lot of debate that [Windows RT] is going to be a real entry for the ARM camp into Windows for the first time. While at face value that's true, I think they [ARM licensees] have a big uphill fight,' Otellini told attendees at the briefing. 'We have the advantage of the incumbency, advantage of the legacy support, not just in terms of applications but devices'

Otellini used the event to point out that Windows 8 devices based on ARM processors will have the distinct advantage of being able to switch out of the new touch-centric Metro UI mode and into 'legacy' mode with a single click. Windows RT, while based on the Windows 8 core, doesn't offer the same functionality, restricting the legacy 'desktop mode' to a small selection of pre-loaded software provided by Microsoft alone.

'This [legacy mode] is critically important for CIOs [chief information officers] who want to preserve all of their investments in software,' Otellini claimed, pointing to 'tens of millions' of business-critical legacy packages coded for the x86 instruction set.

Intel itself is working to offer alternatives to Windows RT, pushing its Clover Trail low-power chipset into tablets capable of running the full-fat release of Windows 8 as a direct competitor to ARM-based devices and claiming twenty design wins from ten original equipment manufacturers (OEMs.) The company also showed off a range of touch-screen Ultrabooks, in an effort to head the likes of Qualcomm off at the pass.

14 Comments

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coolius 11th May 2012, 12:24 Quote
Intel exec doesn't rate Windows on ARM?? Shocker! :-P
Ending Credits 11th May 2012, 12:47 Quote
Perhaps they should just pay microsoft to stick to their platform, like they do with everyone else.
Bauul 11th May 2012, 12:51 Quote
Trying to rubbish Windows RT because it doesn't support the same desktop software as Windows 8 is nonsense: RT was never designed for full-fat desktops, because up until now ARM based systems have never been designed for such things either.

It's like Porsche dismissing the Ariel Atom because it doesn't have an on-board computer.
oblivion181 11th May 2012, 14:40 Quote
When are ARM processors for desktops going to be released :(.
p3n 11th May 2012, 15:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by oblivion181
When are ARM processors for desktops going to be released :(.

Think you missed the point....
Gareth Halfacree 11th May 2012, 15:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by oblivion181
When are ARM processors for desktops going to be released :(.
1986, as a companion chip for the BBC Micro.

What? :p
runadumb 11th May 2012, 19:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bauul
Trying to rubbish Windows RT because it doesn't support the same desktop software as Windows 8 is nonsense: RT was never designed for full-fat desktops, because up until now ARM based systems have never been designed for such things either.

It's like Porsche dismissing the Ariel Atom because it doesn't have an on-board computer.

It is relevant. His point is businesses won't jump to ARM designs as they will lose legacy support. Which keeps Intel in the game while they improve their chips to be more competitive with ARM, thus making a move to ARM more hassle than its worth and winning the long race.

I can say, as a consumer, that I have no interest in an ARM tablet/laptop hybrid for those very reasons. Any such device I buy will be X86 based (probably AMD for the GPU). Maybe in time as more software I use is ported over to ARM but if desktop chips remain competitive I have no reason to take that hit at all.
nchhabs 11th May 2012, 20:16 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bauul
Trying to rubbish Windows RT because it doesn't support the same desktop software as Windows 8 is nonsense: RT was never designed for full-fat desktops, because up until now ARM based systems have never been designed for such things either.

It's like Porsche dismissing the Ariel Atom because it doesn't have an on-board computer.

Except in this case the Porsche will likely be so close to the price of the Ariel Atom that the Atom won't be successful; I think ARM is going to have to seriously differentiate the price of their tablets with RT from the Intel offerings, which may be difficult.
Bauul 11th May 2012, 20:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by nchhabs
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bauul
Trying to rubbish Windows RT because it doesn't support the same desktop software as Windows 8 is nonsense: RT was never designed for full-fat desktops, because up until now ARM based systems have never been designed for such things either.

It's like Porsche dismissing the Ariel Atom because it doesn't have an on-board computer.

Except in this case the Porsche will likely be so close to the price of the Ariel Atom that the Atom won't be successful; I think ARM is going to have to seriously differentiate the price of their tablets with RT from the Intel offerings, which may be difficult.

My point was that someone's who interested in tablets aren't interested in legacy programs. At the moment, 99% of tablets are iOS or Android, neither of which support anything other than their own relatively recent offerings.

People who buy tablets want the tablet experience, i.e, ultra portable streamlined media consumption. They aren't interested in anything else. To them, an Intel based Win8 tablet is no different to an ARM based WinRT tablet. Intel's legacy program point is regarding a feature no-one cares about.

That was what I was trying to get at with the car analogy: people who are interested in the Atom for what it does (i.e. mental track racing) aren't going to be instead persuaded to buy a Porsche because of an on-board computer. It's simply irrelevant to them.
stoff3r 12th May 2012, 10:31 Quote
We'll still have windows 7
ssj12 13th May 2012, 18:30 Quote
Intel has no reason to worry. Win8 will be a failure like Vista.
dicobalt 13th May 2012, 23:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by oblivion181
When are ARM processors for desktops going to be released :(.

Never. That's what Nvidia was trying to do. Nvidia's ARM solutions can't even beat out other ARM implementations. All of which vie for the same market. They all strangle each other to death by their wallets. While Intel stays busy and develops better manufacturing processes far ahead of ARM vendors. Intel also goes on to do things that everyone said was impossible two years ago. ARM will never make it do the desktop and they will have some serious market share losses if Intel keeps meeting roadmaps. Tick tock, tick tock, ARM has little time left.
r3loaded 13th May 2012, 23:22 Quote
I'd at least wait for Silvermont before calling the death knell of Intel. 22nm on a brand new architecture for the Atom line is nothing to be taken lightly.
duckenberg 18th May 2012, 22:28 Quote
Intel has everything to worry about -an ARM laptop with 20 hours of battery life could be quite a crowd-puller this Xmas. If such a product were to run Ubuntu Linux rather than Windows RT then the Ubuntu "Wine" application could be used to run both current and legacy X86 programs.
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