Windows 7 could mark the point at which Microsoft main consumer desktop operating system adopts other non x86 processors, a break that could end a 20-year tacit agreement between two of the biggest forces in the industry.
EETimes reports that there have been rumours for a while about Windows XP operating system running on ARM processors in Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond. The news would be significant since it could mark the beginning of the end of the so called Wintel duopoly.
Windows operating systems have been running on other platforms for a while. Smartphones like the Sony Xperia X1, run on Windows Mobile while running on an ARM processor. However, Microsoft has been dropping hints while releasing WIndows 7 Release Candidate today, that Windows 7 "will work on a broader array of hardware than any other release of Windows at launch."
There is a very real chance that ARM platform, because of their very low price and ultra low power consumption, will end up becoming Intel's biggest rival in the netbook market. Microsoft has Windows Mobile 7, destined for smartphones, scheduled for launch in 2010. Will the company therefore decide to launch two products, WM7 and W7, for the same ARM platform?
Either way, it cannot and will not allow Android, LiMo or any other operating system take the initiative in the red hot netbook market. Intel after all, is all too content to run other operating systems instead of Microsoft's. Microsoft currently owns 96 percent of the US Netbook market and 76 percent of the worldwide market according to the latest figures. But that could change soon.
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There have been cracks for some times in the relationship between the two but the partnership between Intel and Microsoft has withstood rough times before. The recession though could see the two partners seeking comfort elsewhere. Microsoft could start developing non x86 OS to combat Linux et al while Intel could continue courting Microsoft's competitors with even more assiduity.
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