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Microsoft Making Four ARM-Friendly Windows 8 Versions

According to an Intel executive, Microsoft will be making four different versions of its next Windows operating system to run on ARM processors. As we all know, most smartphones and tablets today are powered by ARM processors.

As the SFGate reports, Intel’s senior vice president of software Renee James opened his mouth and spilled some details during a conference for Intel investors regarding Microsoft’s plan to make four different Windows versions for ARM processors.

The idea here is the same as having multiple versions of an operating system targeting various user-groups such as students, consumers and enterprise users. The ARM version of Windows will be tailored for tablets and smartphones and might feature touch based navigation while the Intel version will run older apps and be used via a mouse-driven cursor.

There will be a “Windows 8 traditional” that will run on x86 chips and handle existing x86-based Windows apps, and there will be a separate version of the OS that runs on ARM. Windows 8 traditional will also include a “Windows 7 mode”.

“Windows 8 traditional means that our customers, or anyone who has an Intel-based or an x86-based product, will be able to run either Windows 7 mode or Windows 8 mode. They’ll run all of their old applications, all of their old files – there’ll be no issue. On ARM, there’ll be the new experience, which is very specifically around the mobile experience, specifically around tablet and some limited clamshell, with no legacy OS. Our competitors will not be running legacy applications. Not now. Not ever. We will also be able to run that [new] experience. So for an Intel user, we’ll kind of have the best of both worlds. So we think we’re extraordinarily well-positioned in Windows 8,” said general manager of Intel’s software and services group Renee James.

We could get more on this during the Professional Developers Conference this September.

Back in December, we learned that Microsoft planed on making an ARM based Windows 8 version that will be made specifically for battery-powered devices such as tablet computers and other handhelds.

Stay tuned as we keep you updated on this.

Update: May 18, 2011 – Microsoft issued a statement regarding this story:

Intel’s statements during yesterday’s Intel Investor Meeting about Microsoft’s plans for the next version of Windows were factually inaccurate and unfortunately misleading. From the first demonstrations of Windows on SoC, we have been clear about our goals and have emphasized that we are at the technology demonstration stage. As such, we have no further details or information at this time.

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