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Windows 8 could delay until 2013 because of Microsoft's SoC plans


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Company faces massive task say analysts

Microsoft’s announcement that it would be supporting ARM processors could cause the company serious problems with Windows 8 deployment analysts have warned.

In a webcast three analysts from Directions on Microsoft, all former Microsoft employees said that the ARM integration of Windows 8 would take until at least 2013. Furthermore the move would leave companies and manufacturers facing tough choices in the next two years.

“Even if they are a year into development we have reason to believe they have a long road ahead of them,” Wes Miller, lead analyst on server applications told V3.co.uk.

“This is a completely new platform, with new device drivers and issues for OEMs.”

Michael Cherry, lead analyst on platforms, said that historically Windows had always run on a variety of processors, including MIPS, Power PC and Itanium. When Microsoft was launched in 1990 the demonstration model was running a MIPS processor, albeit one jury-rigged for the task.

It took three years for a full x86 port of Windows NT he said and 26 months for a similar port to get Windows onto the 64-bit Itanium chip. Based on those timelines, and his instincts about the company, Microsoft was facing two years of hard coding and testing before Windows 8 would be ready for ARM.

“Taking this on level of complexity in the Windows Development Cycle has a large impact,” he said.

“Things just became a lot more complicated for Microsoft.”

Developers would also be facing difficult choices he said. While porting an application to a different processor platform wasn’t usually difficult, deciding which platform to optimise on would be a major complication.

Applications would be key to the success or failure of Microsoft’s plans the analysts said. While porting Windows to the new processors would be a challenge, then doing the same in the application sphere would require a company-wide effort.

“Microsoft hasn’t bet the farm on ARM,” said Rob Sanfilippo, lead advisor on developer tools.

“We’re not going to see people ripping out x86 PCs any time soon. Encouraging people to write new applications for ARM will be the key to success for the Windows 8 port.”

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This is a GOOD thing, I believe. My opinion is, there is no rush AT ALL, when (corporations) have barely gotten out of the starting gate with XP-to-Win 7 standardization. If I'm not mistaken, I think I read it here that those who have transitioned from XP to W7 has reached only 20% thus far.

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