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Microsoft Gives Details On Windows 8 Running On ARM-Based Chips

--Software giant says ARM-based PCs should ship at same time as Intel- and AMD-powered computers --ARM-based PCs will have special desktop apps and run all Metro-style apps --Microsoft hopes partnership with ARM-based chip makers will help it gain traction in mobile devices By Shara Tibken Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) Thursday provided more details about how its newest operating system will work with chips using ARM Holdings PLC (ARMH, ARM.LN) architecture, saying the product will "look and feel just like you would expect." Steven Sinofsky, the head of Microsoft's Windows business, said in a blog post Thursday PCs using ARM chips should hit the market the same time as those using processors from Intel Corp. (INTC) and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD). That echoes previous comments from ARM-based chip makers such as Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM). In addition, ARM-based machines will include certain Office desktop apps, such as Word and Excel and codenamed "Office 15," that have been created to use touch and consume less power, he said. Windows on ARM also will support all new Metro-style apps, Sinofsky said. Metro is Microsoft's interface that presents information in small squares of moving images and text called tiles. Microsoft sent shock waves through the tech sector a year ago with a radical shift in strategy, a plan to develop its next generation of Windows software that relies less exclusively on 30-year partner Intel. Windows 8's biggest departure from Microsoft's past is that it works on cellphone-style chips, based on designs licensed by ARM, as well as the x86 chips Intel and AMD sell for computers. Microsoft, which once held unchallenged sway over software developers, has largely missed out on increasing opportunities in the smartphone and tablet markets. Hardware and operating systems from Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Google Inc. (GOOG) exploit ARM-based chips, whose low power consumption extends the battery life of mobile devices. Microsoft hopes its partnership with ARM-based chip makers--including Qualcomm, Nvidia Corp. (NVDA) and Texas Instruments Inc. (TXN)--will help it gain traction in mobile devices. The semiconductor companies hope to profit from an expanded market for their chips, namely PCs. For Intel and AMD, the use of ARM-based processors presents the threat of new competition that could potentially chip away their market share and profits. Thursday, Sinofsky said Microsoft is working with ARM-based chip suppliers to enable a new class of PC that have unique capabilities and look different from current notebooks and desktops. "Windows on ARM enables creativity in PC design that, in combination with newly architected features of the Windows OS, will bring to customers new, no-compromise PCs," he said. At the same time, Sinofsky said Microsoft has had "a deeper level of collaboration with Intel and AMD on the full breadth of PC offerings than in any past release." He noted Windows 8 will work on new low-power processors like those Intel demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show last month. "We could not be more excited or supportive of the new products from Intel and AMD that will be part of Windows 8," Sinovsky said. Sinovsky added a beta version of Windows 8 on x86 chips will be available for download by the end of February. A "limited number" of ARM-based Windows 8 PCs will be made available to developers and hardware partners in a closed, invitation-only program at a later time, which Sinovsky said would be "around the next milestone release" of Windows 8 on x86. -By Shara Tibken, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2189; shara.tibken@dowjones.com

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