Windows 7? On ARM Tablets? I don't think so!

Windows 7? On ARM Tablets? I don't think so!

Summary: Seriously, Windows 7 on ARM-powered tablets? Is Ballmer off his meds? Tablets belong to Apple and Linux.

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You've got to be kidding me. First, Bloomberg and then the Wall Street Journal reported that at CES next month, Microsoft will unveil a full-featured version of Windows that runs on ARM processors. The expectation is that it will be used in tablets... in 2013.

2013!? Come on, would someone please fire Ballmer already. I have no love for Microsoft, but if this is true, this has got to be the dumbest plan I've heard from Microsoft since 1995's Microsoft Bob.

As Eric Lai explains, there are several ways that Windows on ARM could play out. I don't think any of them can work though.

The only reason for Microsoft to bring Windows 7, Windows 8, or whatever to ARM is to put it on a tablet. The best existing fit would be Windows Phone 7, but the story being spun by Microsoft rumor spiders seems to be that this will be bigger and better than Windows Phone 7.

Excuse me as I roll my eyes. Microsoft has always promised that their next big operating system will be the greatest thing ever. The business reason for this is to try to freeze the market. Ideally, a customer goes: "Oh, I can't buy WordPerfect today; Word 6.0 next year will be sooo much better." This tactic worked for decades, which is why the younger among you will never have even heard of WordPerfect, much less used it.

That was then. This is now.

Today, tablets are the technology toy of the year. IPad sales are hotter than ever. OK, so maybe some people won't want to buy an iPad for this Christmas, but that's probably because they're waiting for an iPad 2.

Apple doesn't have it quite its own way though. Android Linux, after a slow start, is finally gaining some tablet traction with models like Samsung's Galaxy Tab and the Nook Color. Many more Android tablets are on their way.

In addition, HP will be showing off its PalmPad at CES. This will be running the WebOS operating system. WebOS, like Android is a Linux spin-off.

In April 2011, Ubuntu will start its first real tablet move with Ubuntu 11.04 and its Unity interface. Unity, in case you haven't heard, is Ubuntu's new GNOME-based desktop interface and it was meant for touch. In addition, you also had MeeGo, Intel, Nokia, and friends efforts towards a lightweight, Linux-based operating system.

Against all this competition, can Microsoft really produce a tablet rabbit out of its hat at CES that will get people's attention? I doubt it. The future of tablets belongs to Apple at the high-end, with an interesting fight ahead in the lower ranks of Android-tablets, Ubuntu and the rest of the Linux family. In this tussle, by 2013, Microsoft will bring much too little and be way too late to the market to matter.

Topics: Hardware, Tablets, Software, Processors, Operating Systems, Open Source, Mobility, Microsoft, Laptops, Windows

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  • I've been saying for a while now...

    That Ballmer has no direction. He has no ambitions, or no foresight. Microsoft needs someone yonger at the helm, like Billy back in the day, he had the foresight, the ambition, and the knowledge to take Microsoft to the front. While, Microsoft has put out some killer products even with Ballmer at the helm, I still agree that Ballmer just doesn't have what it takes to be a leader in the tech field.

    The way I see it, Windows needs to become compartmentalized, that way it can run on a wide range of devices. I still believe Windows offers more than the iPad does in terms of usability. I wouldn't trade my T101MT for the world (Seriously Firefox 4 + OneNote ARE killer apps), but I do wish it had better battery life, so who knows what porting Windows to ARM could do for that. But 2013 is a little late for that, they should be pushing for a sooner date, no later than Q1 2012 at the latest.

    Anyway, it's time to get going to vacay. Have a good Christmas everyone and see you in the new year!
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • Microsoft is the laughing stock of the tech world

      It's kind of amusing and sad at the same time, to watch Ballmer ineptly leading Microsoft into oblivion.

      I mean, every year he pops up at CES and gives another hapless keynote about tablets. Last year, the Tablet PC was the centerpiece of Ballmer's keynote, but it became vaporware as nobody wanted a Tablet PC any more.

      The multitouch slate is what people want (eg iPad or Android Galaxy Tab). Nobody wants the mouse-driven energy-guzzling desktop Windows running on a small portable multitouch device.

      I guess the spectacle of bumbling Ballmer offers entertainment value, for those who like to laugh at his ineptness.
      Vbitrate
      • RE: Windows 7? On ARM Tablets? I don't think so!

        @gyepera

        Not saying the have nailed it, but Microsoft seems headed in the right direction. Just lately:-

        - Kinect
        - Windows Phone 7
        - Office 365
        - Azure
        - IE 9
        - Windows 7 (Okay its been out a while)

        They have some promising research for distributed computing to. Nice to see someone developing something other than implementations of Google's Map/Reduce and GFS being developed.
        andrewjg
      • RE: Windows 7? On ARM Tablets? I don't think so!

        @andrewjg

        It's a little early to be calling Windows Phone 7, Office 365, Azure and IE9 successes. It's interesting that you bracketed these with two that are admittedly doing well, Kinect and Windows 7. Why didn't you jam the XBox in there while you were at it, or the Zune?
        symbolset
      • RE: Windows 7? On ARM Tablets? I don't think so!

        @symbolset

        I was not referring to success per se. With the newer products I was I referring to quality products with interesting fresh takes that are a step in the right direction for Microsoft that demonstrate Microsoft is aware of where things are going, that they are assessing what the market wants but also take the time to add their own ingenuity or creativity to creating products.

        Even the Kin which was a failure is an example of the new Microsoft. I am sure they learned a lot from it, but was an example of an innovative company willing to take a few risk. I am of the opinion that any big company without some failures is missing something. Yes you want to increase the success ratio, but taking risks is important.

        I thought about putting XBox in, but it was the oldest so I left it out. I agree Zune could go in there.
        andrewjg
      • Or maybe SJVN is?

        @gyepera, weren't you in agreement with him that the iPad "killed" the Kindle?

        And here we are , Kindle sold 8 million verses iPad's 1 million.

        You're the laughing stock now.
        AllKnowingAllSeeing
      • RE: Windows 7? On ARM Tablets? I don't think so!

        @andrewjg <br><br><i>"Even the Kin which was a failure is an example of the new Microsoft."</i><br><br>Actually the whole Kin project is a good example of how MS has not changed one bit. The usual internal politics killed the Kin before even being released. <br><br><a href="http://www.zdnet.com/blog/microsoft/kin-more-proof-that-warring-fiefdoms-rule-at-microsoft/6729" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.zdnet.com/blog/microsoft/kin-more-proof-that-warring-fiefdoms-rule-at-microsoft/6729</a>
        dave95.
      • &quot;You're the laughing stock now.&quot;

        @AllKnowingAllSeeing : "... Kindle sold 8 million verses iPad's 1 million." In what time period, one month? Sorry, according to the reports, that number is for 11 months and the Kindle had to reduce its prices to even get that far. The iPad has sold almost 10 million in only 8 months without changing its price.

        Maybe the iPad hasn't killed the Kindle, but at least it drove the price down to a more realistic level for such a limited device.
        Vulpinemac
      • RE: Windows 7? On ARM Tablets? I don't think so!

        @AllKnowingAllSeeing

        Your 8:1 ratio does sound like a Kindle annual number compared with iPad's first month out of the box. But I do think that Kindle will continue to do well with an audience that only wants a device for reading basic eBooks.

        In the next couple of years, when the eBook expands to include diverse distributed content iPad, Color Nook, and other Android devices like Alex and eDGe will have a distinct advantage. The question is, how fast will the audience follow the technology?
        chalicemedia
      • RE: Windows 7? On ARM Tablets? I don't think so!

        @chalicemedia I think a big demographic for the Kindle are iPad owners who've bought books on the "Kindle App". The iPad is quite a nice reader, especially for colour material. But the dedicated hardware of the Kindle device offers a lot of advantages. If you start off reading Kindle books on the iPad, there is likely to be a point when you have a big enough library that the Kindle hardware becomes VERY attractive.

        I think the iPad is the best thing that could have happened for the Kindle ecosystem, it sold a lot of Kindle Books - and the Kindle hardware offers an attractive complement to the iPad.
        jeremychappell
      • kindle schwindle

        @Not at all Knowing, totally blind
        no one knows how many kindles have been sold because amazon refuses to tell us (probably because they don't sell many). the 8 million number is just another baseless estimate from a news source. on the other hand apple sold 8 million ipads in the first six months on the market and is on track to sell another 6-7 million this quarter alone. how do we know? well, they actually tell us their sales numbers because, unlike amazon, they have nothing to hide.
        banned from zdnet
      • RE: Windows 7? On ARM Tablets? I don't think so!

        @gyepera

        "It's kind of amusing and sad at the same time, to watch Ballmer ineptly leading Microsoft into oblivion."

        Interesting that you talk about him, and not about somebody else. It appears to me that even if you hate him, you pay attention to him.

        "I guess the spectacle of bumbling Ballmer offers entertainment value, for those who like to laugh at his ineptness."

        And because they know that Microsoft can drive sales like no other business. For being such an "inept" corporation, they have yet to be beaten down by the competition in any of their core products.

        And that includes netbooks, which originally were Linux. Linux didn't last very long once Microsoft started putting Windows on netbooks.

        I have no idea what will happen with tablets, but I wouldn't rule Microsoft out just because they don't do well at a trade show.

        And Microsoft has more than just their desktop OS - their phone OS is also a good candidate for tablets. I'd say that they may try their phone OS.
        CobraA1
      • Do You Have a Link for iPad Sales after May?

        @banned from zdnet
        I was wondering if you had a link for iPad sales figures beyond the first couple of months. I've looked a bit, but I've only found projected sales figures beyond that (we all know how reliable projected figures are). I was curious about how sales had played out since then and would like to see the actual figures somewhere.
        CFWhitman
      • RE: Windows 7? On ARM Tablets? I don't think so!

        @ CobraA1
        <i>And that includes netbooks, which originally were Linux. Linux didn't last very long once Microsoft started putting Windows on netbooks.</i>

        If Microsoft had accomplished that by out-competing Linux on netbooks, rather than by flexing their economic size and power in the consumer market to kick Linux off of the store shelves, you'd have a fair point.
        bswiss
      • Or to put it another way&amp;hellip;

        <blockquote style="padding-bottom: 1em;"><p>Why would you buy a run-your-life-on-it software system from somebody who acts like a parody of the sleazy used-car salesmen that used to be all over late-night UHF stations?</p><p style="float: right;"> Me</blockquote><p style="text-align: justify; margin-top: 1em; margin-bottom: 1em;">Not that MSFT need someone younger, necessarily; someone less self-glorifyingly, pathologically clueless would goose the stock price at least $30.</p><p style="text-align: justify; margin-bottom: 1em;">Someone who can actually demonstrate that he has some coherent understanding of how to deal with customers, developers and office furniture would take it up another $50, and maybe, just maybe, start shipping some great software for their own operating system.</p>
        Jeff Dickey
    • Amazing how the reporting has changed

      "Microsoft has always promised that their next big operating system will be the greatest thing ever."

      And this was the line of most tech mags. Now the emperor is outed as nude the transformation to the position of ridicule has been amazing.

      Fun to reread the position of most Talkbackers over the years. The internet records everything;-)
      Richard Flude
      • And was Microsoft lying? No there weren't

        but then Apple allways claims that their next OS or computer will be the greatest thing ever.

        Fun to reread the position of most Talkbackers over the years. The internet records everything :)
        John Zern
      • John Zern, seriously?

        MS never lives up to their hype, killing many of the features before market.

        Apple is criticised for it's secrecy.

        Your comment highlights how little some people know of our industry. Another addition to the permanent internet record.
        Richard Flude
      • RE: Windows 7? On ARM Tablets? I don't think so!

        @Richard Flude
        Windows 7 lived up to the hype. Xbox and Kinect too. So, wheres the problem?
        I dont understand why so much hate about Microsoft. Now, they cant even try to enter in the tablet market because Apple Gods rules this world?
        Why healthy competition when you can have a very safe monopoly?...
        Nevellin
    • RE: Windows 7? On ARM Tablets? I don't think so!

      @Cylon Centurion 0005

      "But 2013 is a little late for that..."
      Isn't 2013 very late for everything, because some people think the world will completely change late 2012
      DoomsdayParanoia