Microsoft may not be conceding the the ARM battlefield to Linux just yet, if comments made by the company's chief executive officer are true.
As reported over on Electronista
, Warren East has pointed to ARM support in Windows 7 as a possibility for the future – finally breaking the barrier that ARM's latest processor chips would face to mass adoption.
In comments to press, East stated that Windows 7 would work “on a broader array of hardware than any other release of Windows at launch,
” and despite this not including the non-x86 ARM instruction set at first he stated that “perhaps there will be support [for ARM] in future.
East went on to distance himself from the comments, stating that “that's really for Microsoft to comment on.
” The move should come as no surprise, however: with several manufacturers seriously looking at ARM's new Cortex A8 and Cortex A9 chips for their performance at a particularly low power draw – and with no current version of Windows available for the ARM instruction set beyond the simplified Windows CE – Microsoft would be foolish to concede the next generation of netbook devices to rival operating system Linux without a fight.
The move comes as Linux enjoys a boost in usage, largely due to netbook devices, to 1 percent of the Internet-connected PC market. Figures from research organisation MarketShare – via DownloadSquad
– show Linux breaking 1 percent of the market for the first time. While the open source operating system has a long way to go before it'll seriously challenge Windows – at 88 percent – or even Mac OS X – at 9.7 percent – the continued growth must be causing Microsoft a certain amount of concern.
Would an ARM build of Windows 7 running on a Cortex A9-based netbook be the king of the ultra-portable world, or is Microsoft barking up the wrong tree with this move? Share your thoughts over in the forums