Terry Myerson: “Windows ARM processors have a future”

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At the Build conference, last week, once piece of technology that we heard very little about was Windows RT (not to be confused with WinRT). Many were left wondering if Microsoft was still committed to Windows RT especially given the new leadership. All OEMs with the exceptions of Microsoft (and Nokia) had abandoned the ARM hardware. The most prominent Windows ARM tablets are the Surface RT, Surface 2, and Nokia 2520.  The Surface mini is also rumored to be based on ARM hardware.  I still maintain that ARM is the future of Windows and the desktop will die, but that is a minority opinion and a lengthier philosophical discussion for another time.

Mary-Jo Foley got a chance to interview Terry Myerson who commented, among other things, about Windows RT:

ZDNET: What about Windows RT — not WinRT, the API (application programming interface) — but Windows RT, the Windows flavor on ARM? Does that have a future?

MYERSON: Windows ARM processors have a future, and there’s tremendous innovation in the ARM ecosystem. I think Intel has a fabulous future. There’s tremendous innovation going on with Intel.

We want to take advantage of the innovations in ARM. I think ARM chipsets have a bright, vibrant future, and Windows will run on those chipsets.

Myerson also confirmed “The Internet of Things” (IoT) is simply an evolution of Windows Embedded.  The multiple embedded technologies are simply being unified into one:

We have a Windows Embedded product today that is a catchphrase for several different things. We have versions of full Windows, versions of Windows Phone, we have Win CE, we have .NET, versions of .NET. They’re all caught under this catchphrase, Windows Embedded.

We need to clarify this in the coming months for our customers. The classic Windows Embedded customer isn’t building a piano right now. What we’re talking about is an evolution of our Windows Embedded business, as well as our Windows Embedded offerings.

It’s quite exciting actually because these are our enterprise customers. Instead of like talking to them about their productivity desktops, (we are talking about) their products themselves. So it’s just exciting. We will see where it goes, but we (think we can ) help out our customers here with doing some really cool stuff.

During the rest of the interview Myerson gives non-answers for most of the questions. He does an impressive job sticking to the script and his message.

Source: ZDNet



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Suril is a scientist, journalist and obsessive Microsoft observer. He holds an advanced degree in Biotechnology with minors in Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Molecular Biology. Send him tips on twitter: http://www.twitter.com/surilamin

  • Bryan

    Whats the point of Myerson giving interviews if he is going to be more tight lipped than Ballmer or Sinofsky ever were.

    • Lj

      They gave us a LOT at Build. It’s unreasonable to expect them to tell us everything. They are already giving us more than Microsoft ever has before. Let’s have a little patience and see where this goes before we grab our pitchforks! : )

  • counterblow

    what a non answer.
    what he should have said is Windows RT has a future, but it is going to look radically different from today, with the Desktop stripped out and running a very lean hybrid of Windows Phone OS.

    • Prayaas

      I’d rather HAVE the desktop on ARM tablets. Maybe optionally. File Management is awesome with File Explorer, I can work with USB drives on a Surface (Not Pro) and still have a full PC experience. It replaces a full PC for most people because it has what most people need.
      Besides, it is impossible to remove the desktop from Windows RT in its present form without breaking everything. WinRT still depends on a subset of Win32 code. Windows Phone is VERY VERY different. Unifying the developer runtime doesn’t do anything. It is a very superficial layer on the top of the OS.

      • counterblow

        none of those things couldn’t be ported to a newer and better modern app

        • Prayaas

          Newer app, fine. Better? How so? A huge horizontal bar representing one file is much worse than an icon. When in file management mode, I’m more likely to use a mouse for basic tasks. Dragging, yes, finger, but icons are large enough.

          • counterblow

            if you remove the desktop you remove the need to mess with bunches of files in the first place because each app manages its own storage space. File management in the OneDrive app works just fine and provides a good basis for a modern file explorer.

  • Nham Thien Duong

    Microsoft should merge all those embedded versions of Windows with Windows, so it would be easier for those devices to ”talk to each other” as that is what the internet of things is all about. :-)

  • Bugbog

    I think a LOT of people conflate the lack of OEM support for Windows RT with the failure of the platform as an O.S.

    In my view the two do not necessarily go together. If anything, I believe there was an overt and concerted effort to denigrate and kill this platform, from a variety of diverse sources, all with the shared aim of making sure it doesn’t succeed!

    From the OEM’s POV: it interferes with their revenue stream; they would no longer be able to load up their new units with bloatware. No bloatware, no additional profits. (Anyone really think all those “full Windows” was them giving the customer what he/she wants?)

    From the Anti-viral crowd: we’ve all seen the [almost] absolute failure of anti-virus software to take-off on ARM phones. If the PC market successfully migrates even one-third to ARM devices? That would have a serious impact on their bottom line.

    Intel: the Big loser here if ARM proves successful. We’ve all seen their difficulty in breaking into mobile. If they lose out on desktop mobile they’ll be greatly diminished.

    GoogleApple User: that aren’t even interested in using the devices screaming their heads off about the uselessness or RT, the same people singing the praises of Chrome!

    And this is leaving aside all the other varied interests that just don’t want Microsoft to succeed at anything.

    So, me thinks, much more to all this than just the usefulness, or lack thereof of a new platform.

  • c4995z

    Learn to love the Modern Windows. The day is coming, and may soon be here, when it is what you get for free on a new device. A much improved chrome book if you will. The desktop complexity becoming an upgrade app for those who desire it. The rest of us will be rid of it’s archaic structure. Picture having to license the desktop just to run software, such as iTunes, from vendors who refuse to join Modern times. The young operating system nurtured in the marsupial pouch of the desktop will soon bound free!

  • Stuart

    From a Microsoft point of view, I think they need to focus on Windows RT on Surface and then any device they make under 9″ as per the new free versions of Windows. Windows RT is ideal for more consumption focussed devices, but not as much in the productivity space yet.

    By pushing the 9″ and below (mini tablets and phones) with ARM, it will help expand the app store for ARM based systems, which will in turn make it easier to make bigger devices in the future once the ecosystem has become closer to parity.