Ballmer Demos Windows on ARM Processors

By Reuters  |  Print this article Print

Microsoft's move to embrace ARM processors follows the rise of tablets and smartphones in the marketplace. The move is viewed as one away from Microsoft's longstanding alliance with processor giant Intel.

High-powered, low-battery chips made by ARM dominate the smartphone and tablet markets, and are featured for instance in Apple Inc's iPhone and iPad.    

During Ballmer's presentation, he demonstrated a Windows desktop running off ARM-based chip architecture, including one powered by Qualcomm's popular Snapdragon processor and another by Texas Instrument's OMAP.    

Also demonstrated was a desktop powered by Nvidia's Tegra.    

Microsoft's operating software for mobile devices -- Phone 7 -- already supports ARM processors, but the new version of Windows would mark a shift in its core operating software for computing.    

Samsung , Dell and Asustek have already announced that tablets running Windows 7 -- Microsoft's core product -- will go on sale this year.    

"They have to evolve the PC, they have to redefine the PC. And it looks like they kind of got the memo on this now," IDC analyst Hilwa said.    

Shares of ARM rose 7.7 percent on the London Stock Exchange ahead of the announcement. Microsoft shares edged 0.3 percent lower to close at $28.    

(Additional reporting by Alexei Oreskovic; Writing by Edwin Chan; Editing by Gary Hill and Steve Orlofsky)