Did Microsoft Castrate Windows 8 For ARM To Protect Windows 8 For x86?

A rather interesting discussion has been stirred up by Jon Honeyball from PC Pro entitled "Has Microsoft blown Windows 8 on ARM".

Honeyball, a respected columnist for PC Pro, points to a paragraph in Microsoft Windows 8 Consumer Preview Product Guide for business document (PDF) that clearly says that Windows for ARM will not have the same manageability features compared to the 32-bit/64-bit versions of Windows 8.

The document suggests that businesses uses thse "power saving devices in unmanaged environments".

Power saving appears to be the underlying tone of Microsoft's approach to the ARM ecosystem. The same paragraph uses terms such as "constantly on the go", "long-lasting battery", "use less power" and "extended uptime".

But critical business features such as joining Active Directory domains, Active Directory policy integration, System Center integration have been left out.

That said, Windows 8 for ARM will have Remote Desktop, will be able to access HyperV devices and start Terminal Services sessions.

Some cynics will argue that Microsoft may be wanting to protect Windows 8 on x86 because of its quarter-of-a-century old legacy, because Intel is still a hugely important partner and because Windows 8 for x86 could cost (slightly) more than Windows 8 for ARM.

The reality though may be different; Microsoft, unlike Apple, is very conservative with legacy (and supporting legacy implementations) very much a top priority.

With ARM however, Microsoft is taking a massive bet (as per Steve Ballmer himself) and it knows it can't f*c* things around.