Paul McDougall, InformationWeek:
In a clarification, a Microsoft executive said x86 applications
built to run on the desktop version of Windows 8 won’t be
compatible with the tablet version of the operating system. The
executive also said that the tablet version won’t be able run any
applications built for previous versions of Windows.
“We’ve been very clear since the very first CES demos and forward
that the ARM product won’t run any x86 applications,” said Stephen
Sinofsky, president of Microsoft Windows unit, during a meeting
with financial analysts Wednesday.
No one should be surprised that existing x86 binaries won’t run on Windows on ARM. That would require something like Rosetta, the on-the-fly emulation layer that allowed Intel-based Macs to run compiled-for-PowerPC apps.
The question is, though, will Windows developers be able to recompile existing apps for ARM? I’ve been looking for a definitive answer and I don’t think Microsoft has given one. This bit from Sinofsky suggests, though, that they will not:
“The challenge is very interesting. If we allow the world of x86
application support like that, or based on what we call desktop
apps in our start yesterday, then there are real challenges in
some of the value proposition for [ARM] System on a Chip,”
Sinofsky said. “Will battery life be as good, for example? Those
applications aren’t written to be really great in the face of
limited battery constraints, which is a value proposition of the
I’m feeling good about my prediction the other day that ARM-based Windows machines will be Metro-only. (I say “machines” rather than tablets because I think we’ll see Windows ARM notebooks too.)
★ Friday, 16 September 2011