Microsoft and Intel are two of if not the biggest companies in the tech world, both of which have played large roles in bringing us to where we are today in the 21st century, but today’s surprise announcement at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) could spell the beginning of the end of the dominance that these two companies have had over the market.
Described as “Unthinkable” by the former manager of Nokia this announcement made by the head of Microsoft Steve Ballmer stated that the next version of the company’s Windows operating system (Windows 8 if you will) will run on chips made by the little known (at least in the world as a whole) company Arm.
What this means for the development of the PC world we’ll look at later, but first it’s worth noting that this is a great move for the British company Arm who have seen their shares spiked today. But whilst Ballmer unsurprisingly held this as a good move the aforementioned former Nokia manager Horace Dedlu has suggested that perhaps Microsoft have been forced into this move by the changing face of the PC market, something that is no small part down to their rivals Apple.
As technology has improved we have unsurprisingly seen a power shift from the old giants of PC makers to the manufacturers of more mobile technology (such as mobile phones and tablet devices), but how does this relate to the news announced today? Well if I told you that whilst Intel have become a multinational corporation thanks to their development and production of chips for PCs it is Arm chips that are powering the latest phones and tablets.
Somewhat ironically the tablet revolution that has seen Google (thanks to its Android o/s), Apple (thanks to the iPad) and their contenders (the most notable being Samsung’s Galaxy Tab) was announced by the former head of Microsoft Bill Gates back in 2001 where he promised that it would be the most popular form of PC in five years.
Needless to say he was a little wrong – although ambition never seemed to stifle him – and Microsoft have been nowhere near the recent boom brought about by the 14.5million says of the Apple iPad which alone account for around 90% of tablet computer sales.
The short of all of this is that Microsoft are, unsurprisingly, trying to get into the expanding mobile tablet market; the obvious suggestion would be to convert the promising-but-not-yet-successful Windows Phone 7 into a tablet form, but it would appear that only the full-style Windows will be on tablets meaning there will be a lengthy delay whilst they are re-written to work on Arm chips rather than Intel.
So whilst it would be incredibly naive to suggest that we are in any way heading to a revolution of the tech world powers it is clear that both Microsoft and Intel are going to have to re-think their strategies with regards to their long term future. Microsoft in particular will have difficult questions to answer centring around whether they will continue to rely on the Windows brand to sustain themselves (which in itself isn’t actually as bad an idea as it sounds as about 90% of the world’s computers run Windows) or commit more to the emerging markets. We won’t know for quite some time, but for now it’s definite that the times are definitely a’changing.
What do you think to this news? Is this the path that Microsoft needs to go down to bring their tablet vision to fruition? Would you like to be able to use your regular Windows operating system on a tablet device?
Via – Guardian