Microsoft & ARM Partnership Means End Of Wintel?

ARM announced earlier today that Microsoft is going to license the architecture IP of its ubiquitous processor family, something that may have been prompted by Intel's decision to partner with the world's largest handset manufacturer Nokia to launch Meego.

Intel has already publicly declared that Meego was launched because the company was frustrated by the lack of support from Microsoft for the Atom platform and it remains a mystery as to why Microsoft did not adapt Windows 7 to suit Intel's requirements.

It looks therefore increasingly likely that Microsoft and Intel, the two parties that made up Wintel, have tacitly agreed to let each other flirt with other companies.

Microsoft has historically supported other x86 manufacturers (VIA, AMD, Cyrix etc) and non-x86 (Alpha, MIPS) while Intel supported Mac, Linux and many others.

But they always avoided stepping on each other toes because the consequences would be disastrous for both of them. However, circumstances forced Intel and Microsoft to change their strategies radically.

The rise of ARM forced Intel to start looking at the mobile segment and develop its own power-sipping mobile architecture.

The two biggest threats to Microsoft in the mobile market - Android & Apple - have ARM hardware licensees (Qualcomm, Marvell & possibly Apple) which may have pushed Microsoft into developing hardware as well.

It is worth noting though that Microsoft has yet to release the press statement on its own international website.