The biggest loser from the success of Windows 8 will be ...

It's not what you think it might be.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

If Windows 8 tanks, then Microsoft and the PC industry will have to absorb the blow. But if Windows 8 is a success, then the losers from this success might surprise you.

The PC industry is in trouble, possibly heading for a collapse. Units shipped seem to have flatlines and the PC is under considerable pressure from the iPad and Android tablets. Failure on the part of Windows 8 could push PCs over the precipice and possibly change he PC landscape forever.

But what if Windows 8 is a success? That's when things get interesting!

Who, or what, would be the biggest loser if Windows 8 was a success?

I'll tell you now, it's not what you think!

  • It's not Apple. Apple and Microsoft aren't really competing against one another any more. Yes, they sell similar products, but not to the same customer base.
  • It's not Linux. That operating system isn't a threat to Microsoft any more in any way, shape or form.
  • It's not Android. Android will continue to grow no matter what happens with Windows 8.

So what it is?

It's the x86 architecture.


Because Microsoft is finally getting serious about the ARM architecture, and while it's currently under the guise of getting Windows tablets to market, there's no doubt that we're going to see ARM-powered PCs before long.

And there begins the slippery slope for the x86. The architecture that has been dominant now for three decades is showing its age. ARM on the other hand is lighter, more versatile and offers significant advantages over the older platform. We're looking at smaller, quieter, more power-efficient systems. We're looking at the demise of the big-box PC, and the introduction of smaller, more personal devices.

The more people are exposed to ARM, the more they will appreciate the advantages, and this means that the new platform will gain a foothold. This isn't going to happen during the tenure of Windows 8, but it will. The fact that Microsoft is offering an ARM version of Windows will give the platform a much-needed boost. Thanks to improved performance, it's likely that ARM CPUs will quickly get to the point where they're powerful enough to handle day-to-day computing, and eventually even high-end applications such as gaming and encoding multimedia.

The ARM version of Windows will also grow to accommodate the changing landscape. Right now it seems that ARM versions of Windows are primarily aimed at tablets, but as the platform evolves, so will Windows.

A few more iterations of Windows, the ARM version of Windows will be the default, and x86 will be on the way out

Windows 8 is just the beginning. And it will be the death of x86.

Editorial standards