Microsoft to Drop Traditional Desktop From Windows 8 ARM Tablets?

Mary Jo Foley:

Back in September, there was controversy as to whether Microsoft planned to allow “Desktop” (non-Metro) apps to run on Windows 8 ARM-based tablets. But I was told they would, and, indeed, the Softies and partners showed off the Desktop app on ARM tablets at the Build conference.

However, if my Windows Weekly co-host Paul Thurrott is right, Microsoft has rethought that plan and is leaning toward cutting the Desktop from Windows 8 ARM tablets. That would mean only Metro-style apps would be supported on that platform. (Thurrott just dropped that bomb while we were taping Windows Weekly on December 1.)

My theory from September is looking pretty good.

If Microsoft does do away with the Desktop App on ARM, it also would mean — unless Microsoft also changes its strategy for x86/x64-based Windows 8 tablets — that Windows 8 will be different on different hardware.

As I wrote back in September, though, that was always going to be the case, because ARM-based Windows 8 machines were never going to be able to run already-compiled x86 binaries. The only question was whether Windows 8 ARM machines would be different because they could only run compiled-for-ARM software (Desktop and Metro), or whether they’d be different because they could only run Metro software. Either way they must be different somehow.

Friday, 2 December 2011