While some are wondering what Microsoft is doing by trying to shove its operating system onto Arm chips, the Cambridge chip-maker claims that it has no choice.
ARM's president Tudor Brown told Reuters that Redmond's plan to make Windows compatible with ARM Holdingschip designs will help the software giant establish a major presence in smartphones and tablets. Redmond has not made much of an impact in the mobile market, dominated by Apple, Google and RIM.
However Brown said it was not too late, and Microsoft has always recognised that there was a time when it would have to do more than just support x86. Brown said that Arm had been coaching and cajoling Microsoft for some time.
ARM licenses its processor architecture to companies like Marvell and Qualcomm who use it to make chips that have come to dominate the smartphone market. While Arm chips are everywhere in the mobile market, Intel, a long-time Microsoft ally, has also had little success getting into smartphones and tablets because its processors are viewed as less energy-efficient than ARM-based chips.
"Microsoft needs ARM to have any chance of playing in that (mobile Internet) space," Brown said.