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ARM Hopes To Lure Microsoft Away From Intel

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the there-would-be-this-software-ecosystem dept.

AMD 333

Steve Kerrison writes "With the explosion of netbooks now available, the line between PC and mobile phone is becoming much less distinct. ARM, one of the biggest companies behind CPU architectures for mobile phones (and other embedded systems), sees now as an opportunity to break out of mobiles and give Intel a run for its money. HEXUS.channel quizzes Bob Morris, ARM's director of mobile computing, on how it plans to achieve such a herculean task. Right now, ARM's pushing Android as the OS that's synonymous with the mobile Internet. But it's not simply going to ignore Microsoft: 'What if Microsoft offered a full version of Windows (as opposed to Windows Mobile or Windows CE) that used the ARM, rather than X86 (Intel and AMD) instruction set? Then it would be a straight hardware fight with Intel, in which ARM hopes its low power, low price processors will have an advantage.'"

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fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28889127)

ladies, get your pussies ready!

Re:fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28889277)

gentlemen, get your anuses [goatse.fr] ready!

Everyone loves being fucked up the ass with a strapon.

Re:fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28889979)

I just shaved and douched my pussy. What now?

ARM? x86? (4, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889137)

You will kneel before Z80!

Re:ARM? x86? (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889687)

Didn't they see what happened with the PPC market?

And does ARM actually make a desktop-class CPU (as compared to Intel/AMD's mid or high end cpu's)?

What market are they going after with this, netbook's with ARM instead of Atom cpus?

Re:ARM? x86? (2, Insightful)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889831)

I'm not sure what you mean with your PPC comparison? ARM have shipped 10 billion CPUs. Intel have shipped between 1 and 2 billion. ( http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9131098/ARM_Heretic_in_the_church_of_Intel_Moore_s_Law [computerworld.com] ) I'm not sure what total PPC sales, but they're not even remotely close to ARM.

What market are they going after with this, netbook's with ARM instead of Atom cpus?

Presumably. As TFS points out, the line between PCs and mobiles is becoming less distinct. I must admit, personally I'd have a preference for x86, because of compatability with PCs (which I will always prefer as a platform over locked down phones), but it's not like ARM are some niche player here.

Re:ARM? x86? (5, Informative)

radeon21 (1183313) | more than 4 years ago | (#28890043)

ARM doesn't actually ship or make CPUs, they license IP cores. There are a whole shit ton of ARM cores out there, though.

Re:ARM? x86? (3, Insightful)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#28890121)

I'm not sure what you mean with your PPC comparison? ARM have shipped 10 billion CPUs. Intel have shipped between 1 and 2 billion. ( http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9131098/ARM_Heretic_in_the_church_of_Intel_Moore_s_Law [computerworld.com] ) I'm not sure what total PPC sales, but they're not even remotely close to ARM.

What market are they going after with this, netbook's with ARM instead of Atom cpus?

Presumably. As TFS points out, the line between PCs and mobiles is becoming less distinct. I must admit, personally I'd have a preference for x86, because of compatability with PCs (which I will always prefer as a platform over locked down phones), but it's not like ARM are some niche player here.

First off, the install base counts for nothing. This is a from-scratch implementation, with an install base of zero cpu's and applications, just like Windows PPC. The number of existing systems with ARM embedded in them that can be "upgraded" to run this new OS is approximately zero. And given that Windows 7 is only slightly less cpu intensive than Windows Vista, which is what ARM wants for their CPU, and that "high-end" ARM cpu's seem to be comparable to Intel cpu's used in low-end netbooks, I don't see how people will like using it in this fashion. And it'll suffer the same problem as the PPC version of Windows did, no applications. When people read the specs and it says "Windows 7", they will expect to run Windows apps on it. Many will be disappointed when, AFTER they buy the netbook, they find out they can only run a few other applications besides whatever the system came with. And if people are just going to get stuck with using the pre-installed apps, why bother with the OEM fee to Microsoft?

Re:ARM? x86? (5, Informative)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 4 years ago | (#28890009)

And does ARM actually make a desktop-class CPU (as compared to Intel/AMD's mid or high end cpu's)?

ARM CPUs are advancing faster than x86 CPUs.

The Cortex A8 has roughly P3 performance (per clock), and clock speeds varying from 600-1000mhz. This is without Out of Order execution, 64bit support, or any other fancy stuff. The power envelope is about 50 milliwatts load. Most SoCs bundling GPU, DSP, LCD controller, wifi, etc. consume around or under a watt.

The Cortex A9 should be significantly faster. If I recall correctly, it has OoOe and sports a 2-4 core multicore architecture, with increased clockspeeds, in the same power envelope. Look up TI's OMAP4 SoCs. When these are released in 2010, we'll have Pentium D/GeForce 6600 level performance using up a hundred or so milliwatts, and generating a completely negligible amount of heat.

Now maybe you can see the implications of this?

Re:ARM? x86? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#28890167)

>>>The Cortex A8 has roughly P3 performance (per clock), and clock speeds varying from 600-1000mhz

How on earth is something that slow supposed to handle the behemoth that is Windows Vista? Even with a 3000 megahertz P4, my brother's machine runs like a snail. I don't see an ARM processor with about 1/6th the power working well with Vista, unless you enjoy watching your programs operate in slow motion.

Re:ARM? x86? (2, Insightful)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#28890357)

Simple. I have already seen it working. You add an nVidia Tegra chip, any you still stay below 2 watt.

But Vista/Win7 really is pointless. On *any* computer.

On such a small system, Linux really can play its cards. Full HD + Flash in browser + 10 hours of battery life + nearly no heat = $100-$200. Out this fall.

What do you think about that? :)

Re:ARM? x86? (2, Interesting)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 4 years ago | (#28890025)

Samsung (and maybe others by now) have 1ghz ARM chips. Dual core is expected next year.

Dream on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28889139)

Intel has Microsoft by the balls. [maybe not, but i just wanted to say that]

Re:Dream on (2, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889187)

NT was originally designed to be portable. Whether that has been retained since the abandonment of support for Alphas and PowerPCs is something I couldn't say. However, it wasn't an insurmountable effort to port other operating systems like Linux over to new infrastructures, so I doubt it would be that horrifying awful for Microsoft. In fact, I'd be damned surprised if Microsoft, like Apple before it, didn't have some resources quietly working on it.

Re:Dream on (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889215)

Great! Let's just set the compile flag for NT 4.0 to "ARM" and.. waaaiiit a minute.

Re:Dream on (3, Interesting)

jernejk (984031) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889249)

Well, Microsoft can't just ignore the risk "if x86 goes down, we go down". For this reason some kind of even the lastest versions of windows portability is plausible, IMO.

Re:Dream on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28889255)

Windows runs on Itanium. So, yes, Windows is still portable.

Re:Dream on (2, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889261)

Yes, so all the standard (rubbish) arguments people make about linux apply equally here.

Oh but I can't run $software_2_people_use! It's useless!

JVM/CLR (2, Interesting)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889469)

The problem isn't the OS, it's the software for the OS. On Linux, you port the kernel, and then simply rebuild your distro (fixing portability bugs in the process relatively rarely). Job done. On Windows, you need mom & pop go to the car boot sale, buy Knitting Extravaganza 4.0, and still have it install/run successfully.

I think this is the whole reason why microsoft is pushing dot-net and higher-level languages -- not because they care about the languages so much, but because they care about abstracting the windows platform away from PCs until a virtual machine, like Java has been doing for years. Whether Windows, OS X, Linux, or something else wins the desktop wars, Java will survive. Microsoft wants to survive that loss too.

Re:JVM/CLR (5, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889589)

Exactly. A few people want to run Windows, but most don't care. What they do want is to run Windows apps. A port of Windows wouldn't be a straight hardware fight with Intel. Windows NT ran on Alpha and was a lot faster (and not much more expensive) than anything Intel had to offer, but all of the apps were emulated x86 apps, which ran slower than native apps on Intel chips.

The CLR helps a lot here. A .NET app isn't a native app anywhere, so it's a level playing field. Except that there are very few real .NET apps; they all include a load of native DLLs and unfortunately these are very often in performance-critical code.

Re:JVM/CLR (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889725)

If Microsoft does again decide to start pushing portable multi-platform versions of Windows, then I guess Microsoft developers are just going to have to learn what folks who develop for other operating systems have done for decades; and that is how to construct directives and a proper makefile, or move to .Net or Java. Microsoft has obviously wanted to push developers away from native compilation for a few years now, but let's face it, there's still a helluva lot of Windows software being pumped out that's natively compiled. Intel, of course, has made that very damned easy.

Re:Dream on (3, Insightful)

allaunjsilverfox2 (882195) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889559)

They do have a port for power architecture , its called the xbox360. :p

Re:Dream on (1)

dhavleak (912889) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889671)

Actually it's kind of true. And that's only part of the reason that this is a good idea (for Microsoft).

AFAIK (and I don't know much) - ARM chips don't require a translation layer that converts machine code to microcode - and this results in huge efficiency gains (compared to x86/x64 chips). If that's the case (second disclaimer - I don't know much about this so I could be wrong) - but if that's the case, the future of laptops/netbooks/mobile devices/perhaps even datacenters probably has ARM in it somewhere. After all, power efficiency is important in all these areas, and only getting more important with time.

So in other words, MS themselves might want to think about building ARM versions of Windows irrespective of any persuasion from ARM.

The reason Intel having MS by the balls comes into the picture -- Intel has been 'sleep around' a little over the last few years. For example Moblin. Or recall the Mac Book Air processor that debuted exclusively with Apple before an PC OEMs even knew it existed. So MS might want to keep Intel on their toes as well and let them know that they're not going to be the only game in town forever (with due apologies to AMD who are putting up a game fight).

Full Windows on a phone? (-1, Troll)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889143)

Does it Freeze, lock up, blue screen, crash & reboot like a full windows OS too?

Or more importantly... Can it run Linux?

Re:Full Windows on a phone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28889241)

Does it Freeze, lock up, blue screen, crash & reboot like a full windows OS too?

Or more importantly... Can it run Linux?

You're so cute. Who saw that coming?

Re:Full Windows on a phone? (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889487)

Does it Freeze, lock up, blue screen, crash & reboot like a full windows OS too?

Where is this freezing, locking, BSODing, crashing, and rebooting Windows OS that you speak of? Aside from a few driver conflict issues, I haven't had many problems since Win2k (and XP). I have yet to have a Windows issue on Vista x64 and Windows 7, actually... although I still really didn't like Vista at all.

Disclaimer: No, I am not a Windows fanboy. Yes, I run Linux. I work with AIX, HPUX, Solaris, Windows, and Linux as my day job. I don't like Macs out of principle.

Re:Full Windows on a phone? (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889547)

XP was pretty good. After patching it a few times. Windows Vista Home 32 bit still crashes while trying to play Oblivion, and somehow manages to freeze up when playing Pre-Win2K games in "compatibility mode". Windows 7 on the other hand, I haven't had much opportunity to really fiddle around.

Re:Full Windows on a phone? (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889673)

I used Vista x64. No problems with Oblivion, one of th few games I do play. Maybe it was a hrdware or driver issue, I don't know. Hooray for two conflicting anecdotal evidences! ... hehe.

Windows 7 seems much smoother, so far, than Vista - even though I just said I didn't have too many issues with Vista, hehe. I've run some pretty old programs on it with no problems. If you do use Windows, I'd actually recommend it. Oblivion "has issues," according to MS - which I think is an alt-tab issue - but it handles it fine otherwise. It switches the desktop to 'classic' mode before running and switches it back afterwards. NWN2, Sid Meier's Pirates!, Sibelius (music notation software), Age of Empires III ... all working fine so far.

Re:Full Windows on a phone? (0, Flamebait)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889611)

Where is this freezing, locking, BSODing, crashing, and rebooting Windows OS that you speak of?

It's called Windows Mobile (formerly Wince) and it already runs on phones.

Re:Full Windows on a phone? (3, Interesting)

DrLang21 (900992) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889639)

Was it Linus who said that Microsoft hating was a disease? I am a Linux user at home. I'm not much of a fan for Windows XP and I loath the Vista user interface. Windows 7 actually has me a little excited. And all of these are stable systems. The benefit to Windows XP being around for so long is that Microsoft had a long time to make it stable. I haven't had a blue screen of death on Windows in years. It's time for people to move on from knocking Windows for instability. It just makes them look like lackeys.

Re:Full Windows on a phone? (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889755)

I haven't had a blue screen of death on Windows in years.

Then that means you're doing it wrong!

I'm just kidding, I only ever have them when I'm pushing the limits, IE, running something slightly below the Minimum Requirements.

(Damn you AutoCAD!)

Re:Full Windows on a phone? (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889893)

The benefit to Windows XP being around for so long is that Microsoft had a long time to make it stable.

Before that even - Windows 2000 is rock solid. The important point is that they're all derived from the much more stable NT line, as opposed to the shoddy Windows 9x that everyone remembers, and still seems to give Windows a bad name, even though it was a completely different OS (it would be like criticising OS X for the flaws in the joke that was classic MacOS).

Re:Full Windows on a phone? (3, Informative)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889759)

Actually, the first BSOD I had in a number of years was when I installed Vista recently (fully SPed too). I quickly went back to XP until 7 RTM came out.

Yes, I will admit 7 has been quite smooth, apart from the odd lock up/crash when playing TF2. Still, there's your lock up.

Whether you're a fanboy or not, you seem to be ill informed about windows issues. They still exist and are still a thorn in Microsoft's side.

Re:Full Windows on a phone? (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 4 years ago | (#28890195)

I bought a new laptop preloaded with Vista, which blue screened as soon as a USB mouse was plugged in.

You can imagine how impressed I was with my first Vista machine. This was with Vista SP2 out of the box a few months ago.

Re:Full Windows on a phone? (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 4 years ago | (#28890367)

It's pretty hard to blame the OS for a game lockup. In most cases it's the graphics driver getting woefully confused and eating it, resulting in a hard lock, or the game just wedging (if you could get the processor time to switch out you could kill the process, but often you can't--this happens in Linux gaming, what little there is of it, too).

Some ARM twisting going on? (4, Funny)

Anonymous CowHardon (1605679) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889179)

Employing strongARM tactics? Better keep them at ARM's length. (Don't worry, these horrible puns are quite ARMless.)

Re:Some ARM twisting going on? (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 4 years ago | (#28890377)

Your lame-ass puns can suck my Dragonballs.

Good way to enter the market (1)

OrangeMorange (1373381) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889185)

Given a Microsoft OS, these processors could easily pierce the market as many people would not even notice the difference between an Intel netbook or an ARM netbook. This seems like the best way to enter the market.

Re:Good way to enter the market (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889211)

many people would not even notice the difference between an Intel netbook or an ARM netbook.

They'd notice when none of Window's vaunted software library would run. I don't even want to know what ix86 emulation on ARM is like...

Re:Good way to enter the market (1)

Orange Crush (934731) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889369)

If they keep it to netbooks (most don't have optical drives), then they'd ostensibly create a windows market of sorts that contains only ARM-compiled apps. Get enough ARMbooks in the wild, and the vendors will just make fat binaries for both arches.

Re:Good way to enter the market (1)

johnsonav (1098915) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889667)

Get enough ARMbooks in the wild, and the vendors will just make fat binaries for both arches.

Yeah...

Imagine, for a moment, that some people would buy a netbook with no third party software; they just use Microsoft products (assuming MS ports more than just the OS). Are those the people who are going to buy enough software to create a viable market? After all, if they wanted third party software, they probably would have gone with an x86 to begin with.

Re:Good way to enter the market (2, Insightful)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#28890347)

Well they've been selling Linux netbooks. Remember that lots of people are buying these to access the Internet, and not to run general applications. An ARM Windows netbook won't have the disadvantages of unfamiliarity, or people who insist on Windows because that's all they know. It'll also be much easier to port apps to it from x86 Windows, than to Linux.

Anyhow, Microsoft themselves could supply web browser, email client, IM program, complete office suite, media player, which covers most people's uses of netbooks.

Re:Good way to enter the market (1)

johnsonav (1098915) | more than 4 years ago | (#28890361)

Anyhow, Microsoft themselves could supply web browser, email client, IM program, complete office suite, media player, which covers most people's uses of netbooks.

This kind of proves my point. If the people who buy these netbooks have all their needs met by MS products, those people aren't really much of a market for third party developers.

Re:Good way to enter the market (1)

porkThreeWays (895269) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889395)

Porting isn't THAT huge of a deal. Very low level libraries would need to be ported and compilers and the kernel, but everything above that usually isn't that huge of a deal. Modern OS's are pretty darn abstracted. Look at how quickly Apple ported Mac OS to Intel.

Re:Good way to enter the market (4, Informative)

Orange Crush (934731) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889435)

^Apple didn't suddenly port Mac OSX to x86. Both versions had been in development since OSX's inception so Apple could keep its options open if the PPC roadmap didn't unfold to their liking. It didn't, so they exercized the option.

Re:Good way to enter the market (2, Interesting)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889497)

I don't even want to know what ix86 emulation on ARM is like...

Well, it was ok for light use in 1988 [chriswhy.co.uk] (NB: PDF file, parent page is here [chriswhy.co.uk] ). That was back in the day when ARM was pitched as a high-performance workstation chip rather than a low-power option.

Seriously, though, the windows back-catalogue might not run on ARM, but the .NET framework is MS's preferred platform for new apps, and that is VM-based and supposed to be CPU independent, is it not?

Re:Good way to enter the market (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889627)

MS could use the transition to marginalize Windows application competitors unwilling or lacking resources to support the ARM version of Windows. For the most part that process was completed with the transition from DOS to Windows (bye WP and Lotus 123).

Re:Good way to enter the market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28889853)

It's been done. My 1987 ARM2-based Archimedes A310 runs eighties DOS games in emulation at a good speed. But this was back when ARM performance was taking a giant dump on x86, so it probably won't work out so well now.

An interesting idea. (2, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889205)

But it wouldn't be a straight fight between ARM and Intel. It would be a fight between ARM, StrongARM, Asynchronous ARM (yes, there really is an asynchronous CPU based on the ARM core), and every other ARM variant out there.

Re:An interesting idea. (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889355)

You say this as if it would be a bad thing?

As long as the instruction sets are compatible in such a way that I can take all my programs from platform A and move it to platform Q, how can we not be the winners in this competition?

Re:An interesting idea. (1)

mschoolbus (627182) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889461)

Drivers barely work in windows as is, like adding ARM and variants to the mix will help at all.

Not to mention getting software compiled to run on it, developers won't like it at all. Adding a compatibility layer for x86 apps would defeat the point.

Re:An interesting idea. (1)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889525)

Not to mention AMD.

Here's what I think would be funny... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28889221)

Mac users have had to endure 2 processor family changes and finally had to settle for the same one the PC uses. Could you imagine the irony if the PC switched to ARM and the Mac was left using the "outdated" x86 architecture?

Re:Here's what I think would be funny... (2, Funny)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889489)

Apple would probably be quite happy to start over on a new arch with Windows. Competing head-to-head on a new platform would be a big catch-up compared to their current position of limited drivers.

Re:Here's what I think would be funny... (5, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889657)

Apple already ships a huge number of OS X machines with ARM chips, they just brand them as iPhones and iPod Touches. OS X makes it easy to add another architecture for fat binaries and most OS X apps have already been ported from PowerPC to x86 so have no CPU dependencies; porting them to ARM would be relatively easy. That said, since Apple bought PA Semi, I wouldn't be entirely surprised if they released a PowerPC chip that competed in the same area as ARM.

Re:Here's what I think would be funny... (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#28890371)

No, Iphone OS is not OS X. Even if they did share some code. You might as well claim that Windows already runs on ARM and loads more (due to Windows CE).

Re:Here's what I think would be funny... (1)

szark (1066530) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889765)

OS X already has a version running on ARM for the iPhone and iPod Touch. They could release a full MAC OS X ARM port quite quickly if Microsoft announced they were transitioning to ARM.

That's pretty amazing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28889229)

We've never been at a point where we could run a full OS in a mobile profile. Yet this could be the bridge we cross over to reach such an awesome concept.

Only five years ago, people would have laughed at the idea of music and video on computers, but today we can use the power of the Internet to access this content with our televisions and stereo systems. It really makes you wonder, if with the decreasing cost and increasing capacity of Compact Flash (CF) technology, not to mention built-in WiFi, we're reaching the level of convergence where it is possible to run the same operating system everywhere.

We can send e-mail with a cellphone, or place phone calls from a computer. Why not play DVDs on a handheld, or browse the Internet with your television? The future is now.

Re:That's pretty amazing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28889313)

Only five years ago, people would have laughed at the idea of music and video on computers

False.

Re:That's pretty amazing... (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889781)

I'm guessing the OP meant to say "on phones", not "on computers".

Re:That's pretty amazing... (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 4 years ago | (#28890183)

2004 era phones (RAZR, for example) supported music and video.

Re:That's pretty amazing... (2, Insightful)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 4 years ago | (#28890337)

Only five years ago, people would have laughed at the idea of music and video on computers

I'm guessing the OP meant to say "on phones", not "on computers".

Even on phones, I doubt people would have been laughed at the idea five years ago. Remember that the Motorola Rokr (the iTunes compatible phone) was out almost four years ago, and it's not like playing MP3s on your phone seemed such a big deal even then.

Ten years ago, perhaps. It's almost exactly 10 years since Napster arrived, and most people at that time hadn't even heard of- let alone listened to- MP3s. The first style/youth-oriented phone, the Nokia 3210, had only just arrived as well, offering (*gasp*!) customisable ring tones- customisable monophonic beeps that is.

So, ten years ago, the embryonic parts of today's market had literally just arrived on the scene, though perhaps it wasn't obvious at the time. However, five years ago, I doubt that (given the ever-increasing power of electronics) MP3 and video on phones in the near future would have seemed that far fetched.

Re:That's pretty amazing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28889351)

Only five years ago, people would have laughed at the idea of music and video on computers

WTF? I was doing multitrack recording on my Mac back in 1989!

Re:That's pretty amazing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28889479)

5 years ago was only 2003. What a crock of shit..

Re:That's pretty amazing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28889507)

Typo, 2004. Point still stands.

I was downloading torrented movies before that.

Re:That's pretty amazing... (1)

Gerald (9696) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889661)

Only five years ago...

Only five years ago, Twitter was still steam-powered! [marriedtothesea.com]

Re:That's pretty amazing... (1)

True Vox (841523) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889709)

Only five years ago, people would have laughed at the idea of music and video on computers

Wait... I CLEARLY remember watching porn on my PC in the 90's... And that had crappy porno music.... So.... WELCOME TO THE 90's!

Re:That's pretty amazing... (1)

Guy Harris (3803) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889993)

We've never been at a point where we could run a full OS in a mobile profile.

What's your definition of "a full OS"? Presumably you're not counting iPhone OS, even though it's based on much of the same core OS code that Mac OS X is based on (heck, jailbreak it and you can even get a terminal emulator with a shell prompt). (I don't know whether the rumored Nokia N900 would be a phone or not, or whether it'll be Maemo-based.)

The only important question is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28889231)

Will I be able to download and run J Random Application and have it execute on my ARM PC?
If the answer is no, then it is simply not going to fly. .net might be heading that way, but there is still a hell of a lot of native x86 apps out there.

Applications are the problem (3, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889235)

Windows on ARM would be as pointless as every other port Microsoft has tried and eventually killed off. And for the same reason, lack of applications.

Microsoft itself has never bothered porting any of their consumer apps such as Office. Remember DEC having to use FX!32 to get Office running via emulation at a fraction of native speed... leading customers to fail to see the advantage of the Alpha. Now we are to expect the hundreds of large and small shops making the Windows apps people associate with "Windows" to all port to a platform where there are no suitable developer workstations available and Windows development tools lack much in the way of cross compiler support.

Compare to Linux on ARM where pretty much the entire Debian/Ubuntu collection is up and running and Adobe has ported the one key closed piece, Flash Player.

Re:Applications are the problem (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28889381)

> Remember DEC having to use FX!32 to get Office running via emulation at a fraction of native speed

I'm assuming by fraction you mean somewhere between .9 and 1.1. Yes, if you had some ancient, assed-out Multia running at 166MHz you weren't
going to be happy compared to a then-smoking 450MHz P3. However, at the same time Intel was stuck around 450MHz, Digital was cranking their
processors to much higher clock speeds.

P.S. Word and Excel had native AXP ports. You were stuck using FX!32 to run Outlook, but be honest -- who really gave a shit about Outlook 97?
That's like complaining that Schedule+ or Microsoft Bob didn't run on your PWS500

Re:Applications are the problem (1)

BUL2294 (1081735) | more than 4 years ago | (#28890305)

I'm assuming by fraction you mean somewhere between .9 and 1.1. Yes, if you had some ancient, assed-out Multia running at 166MHz you weren't going to be happy compared to a then-smoking 450MHz P3. However, at the same time Intel was stuck around 450MHz, Digital was cranking their processors to much higher clock speeds.

Except the example you use is of a more powerful server or workstation-class behemoth trying to run x86 desktop/notebook class software. That's doable and probably quite useful. But here, we're talking about an underpowered ARM netbook trying to run x86 desktop/notebook class software. The user experience will suck. So why not just go with an x86 netbook and run everything natively?

Give my Blackberry enough RAM and it could probably run MS-Office--but it would suck...

Re:Applications are the problem (1)

Giometrix (932993) | more than 4 years ago | (#28890047)

Windows on ARM would be as pointless as every other port Microsoft has tried and eventually killed off. And for the same reason, lack of applications.

Microsoft itself has never bothered porting any of their consumer apps such as Office. Remember DEC having to use FX!32 to get Office running via emulation at a fraction of native speed... leading customers to fail to see the advantage of the Alpha. Now we are to expect the hundreds of large and small shops making the Windows apps people associate with "Windows" to all port to a platform where there are no suitable developer workstations available and Windows development tools lack much in the way of cross compiler support.

Compare to Linux on ARM where pretty much the entire Debian/Ubuntu collection is up and running and Adobe has ported the one key closed piece, Flash Player.

With .NET getting more popular, maybe now (or at least the near future) this will be less of an issue?

Re:Applications are the problem (3, Interesting)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 4 years ago | (#28890329)

> With .NET getting more popular, maybe now (or at least the near future) this will be less of an issue?

I'm old enough to remember when people said these silly things about Java. No it won't help much. As someone else in this topic has already noted most non-trivial .net apps use native .dlls to make up for the performance problem with .net. Just like Java did. Then there is the problem that while Microsoft has spent oddles optimizing the compiler and virtual machine to perform fairly well on x86 it is doubtful much effort will be expended on ARM. Again Java is the reference model except Sun did make Sparc a first class Java platform along with x86.

But finally there is the bigger question, just how many application domains are even suitable for .net? Anyone expecting games (not counting little cellphone suitable stuff) to EVER be released as managed code will grow old and die waiting. Tier one applications will also be unlikely to forego the performance advantages of native code. Adobe won't be releasing Creative Suite on .net. And don't expect Microsoft to eat their own dogfood anytime soon with IE or Office.

And since I'm posting a followup anyway I forgot one other point in my assertion that few 3rd party ISVs would bother with ARM. Windows is mostly a platform for commercial applications and shareware. This means they expect to have people actually pay money for applications, usually a pretty nice price. What market segment is ARM netbooks targeting? $300 will likely be the high water mark this Xmas, never to be seen again as by Xmas '10 the ever lowering price tags will have moved down again. How many copies of Creative Suite would Adobe expect to sell? Even Intuit would probably be dubious as to how many units of Quickbooks they would move to such price sensitive customers.

Note, I believe the ARM advantage is more than price but doubt the market will realize that anytime soon and produce my dream machine. I want a replacement for my Thinkpad X31. Something with a 12" widescreen with at least 1280x720 resolution, 2 GB ram, 32 or 64GB of SSD and with the ARM enough staying power to run all day (12+ hours at least) while still being lighter than the X31.

Re:Applications are the problem (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#28890391)

That's the really nice thing on Linux. You can recompile nearly all of your 13745 applications (current Gentoo Portage app count) for ARM, and do everything you want. Firefox, Amarok, VLC, OpenOffice, you name it...

Good Luck With That (0)

bruciferofbrm (717584) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889237)

Do you remember the last time they tried to introduce a new Windows platform on a non-Intel based architecture?

Yes, it was Windows CE.

The biggest stumbling block was that MS made it look to much like Windows and gave it a confusing name. Users who bought in wondered why none of their favorite apps would work.

If MS went with an ARM architecture, the biggest issue would be everything else. All your apps would have to be specifically compiled to run on one architecture or the other. (Didn't Apple have this problem, and come up with FAT Bits and then carbon?) How many sales would be lost because WoW or game of the day doesn't run on that yet?

Or ARM would have to implement an X86 compatibility layer.

Hmmm. Windows 8 Ultimate Extreme Business Gamer ARM Edition Pro. Sounds like a winning SKU to me.

But will in run on a Mac or in VMWare?

still not a straight fight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28889263)

If Windows runs on ARM, you still have to convince hardware manufacturers to make drivers for your platform. And don't forget you also need to get software houses to compile for your platform as well. good luck with that.

Make MS come to you (3, Insightful)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889273)

Don't even bother trying to make a deal with the devil. The rotting corpses of the scores of companies screwed over through their dealings with Microsoft line the landscape of the past decades tech industry. Instead, make them come to you and don't make any deals with them either. If ARM based netbooks start becoming a huge commodity, Microsoft is going to have to port a version of Windows to run on ARM processors or they'll end up missing out on sales.

It would probably make a great deal of sense for Microsoft to work on this as well as it would most certainly help out their ailing phone technologies as well. They'd probably rather that ARM-based netbooks not take off in the market, but if they were to do so, Microsoft wouldn't be able to ignore them. I wouldn't bother making any plans with them at this point; they'd only find some way to fuck you over.

Re:Make MS come to you (2, Interesting)

dhavleak (912889) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889549)

Do you mean, like they fucked Intel over on IA32/IA64?
Or the way they fucked Alpha over (when NT used to run on that arch.)?

Oh that's right -- they didn't!

And for that drivel you wrote to be ranked +3 Insightful just goes to show how worthless this site has become.

It's not gonna happen! (1)

synoniem (512936) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889307)

Intel and Microsoft do have the same interests and earn a lot of money because of their relationship. What has ARM to offer against that? Mobile phones? Who wants Windows on his phone anyway? Or Linux? Nokia with Symbian still do have lead there simply because they deliver what the customer wants.

Re:It's not gonna happen! (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889839)

It depends, except for the stupidity of app "approvals" the iPhone is pretty much a perfect phone and runs a pretty high level OS which is basically Mac OS X ported for ARM minus the GUI. The difference is the applications. If I have Linux on my phone I can run a -ton- of applications even with almost no commercial support (see the GP2x) because most apps are OSS. On the other hand Windows will fail because of the fact that it relies so much on proprietary software. ARM CPUs aren't fast enough for emulation of x86 at a decent speed, so you end up with Windows that is effectively useless.

vaporware (1)

quantic_oscillation7 (973678) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889341)

why wait for vaporware when you got already available today linux on systems like, android, moblin, ubuntu remix, maemo etc? not to mention the future googleOS, which is based...right...linux!

Not quite what people expect (1)

downix (84795) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889359)

ARM can't run x86 software, so would be nothing other than a GUI and name recognition, due to the lack of app support. Same issue Windows NT on MIPS and PowerPC had back in the day.

Please stop with these (4, Insightful)

fat_mike (71855) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889389)

The article is nothing but FUD. They base the relationship of Microsoft and Intel cooling on a comment an Intel employee made at a trade show that some Microsoft employees in the next booth overheard and said "Hey, we're listening."

This is just another crappy article that is spread over a bazillion pages when one when would do so they can push their advertisers.

"What if Microsoft switched to ARM?"

"What if Count Chocula and the Cookie Monster teamed up kidnapped the Keibler Elves? What if monkey's flew out of Cowboy Neil's butt? What is Megan Fox showed up naked at my front door with Natalie Portman covered in grits?"

Its about the same comparison.

Watts (1)

hyperion2010 (1587241) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889409)

I honestly hope this works, ARM always seems to use a more stable and generally applicable architecture, besides, at this point it the game we can get speed and cores and performance no problem, but in the long run it will always boil down to performance/watt. This might apply more to servers, but I think it is still a good idea for all tiers of computing. Might finally get people to accept a reasonable standard so we can stop splitting the compiler developer community. *pieinthesky*

It's all about the apps (1)

overshoot (39700) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889411)

And the only reason to use Microsoft is the huge supply of binary-only applications distributed for it.

Which means that an ARM market gets into the same chicken/egg problem that a shift to Linux does.

Re:It's all about the apps (1)

et764 (837202) | more than 4 years ago | (#28890271)

It's probably a lot easier to convince application makers to port their application from Windows (x86) to Windows (ARM) than from Windows (x86) to Linux (x86). There's a pretty good chance that switching architectures for most applications just requires a recompile, like porting from x86 to amd64. It's not always that simple, but in this case you'll still have all your Win32 APIs available, whereas porting to Linux will often times mean rewriting the whole thing in GTK or QT.

ARM processors still aren't being targeted at desktop machines either, but mostly Netbooks. I could see application makers being convinced that writing a netbook edition would be worth porting architectures, but maybe not being worth the full cost of porting to Linux.

Gag me with a spoon. (0, Troll)

Joseph_Daniel_Zukige (807773) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889441)

nt;

Smart move to cut loose with Mac OS X (1)

cyrilc (126593) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889459)

Microsoft was once king on the Intel platform and then came Linux which was much less expensive, followed by Mac OS X which was more user friendly.

So that would mean they would have to fight 2 fronts to survive and try to keep their supremacy.

Now, with notebooks being the new eldorado, Microsoft could benefit a lot more if they try to gain momentum on ARM which Apple cannot afford to follow (yet) because of another big CPU switch.

Re:Smart move to cut loose with Mac OS X (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28889605)

Microsoft was once king on the Intel platform and then came Linux which was much less expensive, followed by Mac OS X which was more user friendly.

So that would mean they would have to fight 2 fronts to survive and try to keep their supremacy.

Now, with notebooks being the new eldorado, Microsoft could benefit a lot more if they try to gain momentum on ARM which Apple cannot afford to follow (yet) because of another big CPU switch.

I think the iphone osx runs on ARM, correct me if im wrong?

Apple is already investing heavily on the field, even more if the tablet rumor is true.

Re:Smart move to cut loose with Mac OS X (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28889681)

I'm not sure what backwards world you're from but Microsoft is still king of the Intel platform. An OS that has been claiming every year that this is the year it will take over the world for the last 18 years but has barely managed a percent at best of the desktop market is hardly a "front" that Microsoft has to fight. Stallman stench going to your brain.

Re:Smart move to cut loose with Mac OS X (1)

kinabrew (1053930) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889703)

OS X already runs on ARM processors. If you have an iPhone, you already have a copy of OS X running on an ARM processor.

CORE (1)

d4nowar (941785) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889467)

Wherever there are ARM, the CORE will come to destroy. Long live CORE!

Re:CORE (1)

codecore (395864) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889623)

CORE forces have gone to a better place.

X86 Compatibility (1)

linuxguy (98493) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889513)

Someone here is ignoring one of the biggest draw of Windows. People can run *their programs* on Windows. They wont be able to do that with Windows on ARM. Then they might as well be running Chrome OS or some other variant of Linux. At least with most variants of Linux they'll have huge selection of software that runs on ARM.

Applications? (4, Interesting)

Phroggy (441) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889777)

When Apple switched from Motorola 680x0 to PowerPC processors in 1994, they built an emulator into the operating system to allow m68k code to run transparently on the new platform. In fact, they didn't even port the entire operating system itself; bits and pieces of it ran under emulation for years as Apple gradually finished porting it all.

In addition, they created an easy way for applications to be compiled natively for BOTH architectures at the same time, and encouraged application developers to release fat binary [wikipedia.org] versions of their apps. This worked so well that the majority of users weren't even aware that the PowerPC was a completely new incompatible architecture, as opposed to simply a new faster version of what they'd always had.

When Apple switched CPU architectures again, they mostly duplicated this success. Some applications and drivers aren't compatible with Rosetta (the PowerPC emulator), and it's not possible to use a plugin compiled for one processor in an application compiled for another, but Apple's own developer tools offered a simple checkbox to recompile an app as a Universal Binary, and most developers have moved away from third-party compilers.

Microsoft does have x86 emulation technology that they bought from Connectix a few years ago, but they have no experience getting applications to work transparently across dissimilar architectures, and moving from a faster Intel CPU to a slower ARM CPU makes emulation pretty unappealing anyway. Look at what a pain in the ass it is just to get everything to work on a 64-bit version of Windows!

Mac developers are accustomed to following Apple's spontaneous whims, because users consistently reward them with big piles of cash, but Windows developers have a lot less incentive to play ball by releasing native applications for a platform that doesn't exist yet, has no users, and seems unlikely to get users because there is no native software. If they can make the emulation work perfectly, then they might get some users, and if they have users, some developers will start porting their apps. You'll never get all of them, of course, but the ones most people use every day will probably have ARM-native versions introduced. Also, pure .Net applications should work perfectly out-of-the-box. Microsoft wouldn't use a universal binary architecture like Mac OS X; since virtually all Windows applications require an installer and you can't easily move an app from one computer to another without reinstalling it from scratch, there's no reason to do that.

In contrast, Apple could announce a new ARM-based Mac netbook tomorrow, and a majority of developers would have native applications ready to go in six months.

There's already something like this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28889845)

There is a HTC Shift, a 7" mobile running Vista Business, 800MHz CPU, 1GB RAM and GMA 900.

Remember that.. (1)

Paracelcus (151056) | more than 4 years ago | (#28889877)

NT came in Alpha and MIPS once too, you can see how well that went.

Vista? (2, Insightful)

Moof123 (1292134) | more than 4 years ago | (#28890343)

If M$ can shove Vista down consumers throats (admittedly their success rate has been low), why can't folks imagine something just as preposterous on the hardware front?

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