Marvell CEO talks about ARM Powered Windows

Posted by Charbax – December 24, 2010 is posting an extensive interview with Marvell CEO Sehat Sutardja after the Holidays, of which they have posted an excerpt talking about what he thinks on Windows for ARM, he says it's inevitable.

They have said publicly that they were going to support it; the question is when. I remember I went to an ARM forum at Microsoft four or five years ago, where they invited basically everybody in the industry. It was not a secret.

100 percent of cell phone devices and more and more electronics will use ARM, as a byproduct of the investment people have put into cell phones and mobile devices. Once you’ve written software for the handset, the same software can run in a TV, in a digital picture frame, in washing machines, in toys.

If it’s true that they are going to introduce Windows on ARM, it’s going to be better for ARM, it’s going to be better for Microsoft themselves. It’s better for everybody. But if not, in a year or two they will be there anyway.

Here are more of my speculation for what I think the Microsoft Windows ARM announcement at CES could be about:

- Windows 7 version for ARM in 2011

- Windows 8 version for ARM in 2012

- Tweaking of Windows Phone 7 for Tablets

- Tweaking of Windows CE 7 for Laptops and Tablets

- XboX 720 could be ARM Powered, in the form of a pocketable tablet style product with gaming controls, with HDMI output thus doubling as portable and home console. The most modern ARM processors of 2011 will have graphics processing in the range of 200 million triangles per second, thus equaling the graphics capabilities of the XboX360 and PS3 in a battery powered pocketable product.

- Microsoft could be investing billions of dollars in tweaking their own ARM Processor designs in the style of Marvell or Qualcomm in cooperation with some specific ARM Processor designers and foundries. Their tweaks could be aimed specifically at powering future ARM Windows Laptops, Tablets, Desktops and Servers.

What do you think Microsoft will be announcing at CES that they have been doing with their ARM licence? Post in the comments.

  • Anonymous

    Eh, I’m not too optimistic about Microsoft unveiling anything big on ARM. If Windows already is pushing its limits running on Atom chips how will it do on ARM? I’d be happy if they did something big on ARM tho.

  • Windows 7 version for ARM in 2011? In my view, there’s no way that will happen. Why would you buy a Windows 7 ARM device if you cannot run Windows programs? Where are Office, Windows Live, games, etc. for ARM? MS best shot is a android-like platform based on Windows. I mean a platform with specific apps, not Windows as we know it.

  • Warmongerd

    They are gonna announce an antiperspirant that work for Steve Ballmer… ok that not.

    On the other hand porting Windows to ARM, one can dream, tegra 2 running Windows 7 desktop could be sweet, and even when that is in principle possible, desktop OS have quite the different architectural approach than say Android or iOS, porting W7 desktop would imply a major change in the core, .net, security, memory use, power use, processor use, etc etc etc.

  • Especially Office is something microsoft would absolutely have the means to port for ARM, if Ubuntu can recompile 30 thousand apps in Ubuntu’s App Marketplace, why shouldn’t Microsoft with it’s hundreds of billions of dollars not be able to do that kind of work?

    Microsoft can port their own apps first and then release tools for all third party developers also to recompile their apps and add them into a new kind of applications store for more secure and effective applications delivery.

    The rest can be done through virtualization, Microsoft has a bunch of tools for delivering apps like that as well.

  • Windows is in need to change in security policies anyways. A new platform with less apps may actually be a good thing for it. .net is supposed to be a part of Windows Phone 7 isn’t it. I’d like to know what it may imply to do some kind of recompiling of x86 .exe files into a Windows 7 for ARM format of some kind.

  • Anonymous

    When you interviewed the NuFront man at ARM techcon, he mentioned that they are a partner with Microsoft and are working with them on the next generation of Windows for ARM. He said NuFront is targeted at desktop and server.
    Windows 8 then seems the likely target to me. They’ve modularized the architecture and should be able to easily compile for specific device targets if the ARM community can work with them as they are with Linaro for Linux and Windows 7 Phone. I’m sure a “Winaro” team is hard at work. 🙂

  • Eveo1991

    Porting Windows 7 kernel or Windows 8 kernel to ARM does not mean you can get a ARM system on a chip with four core 2GHz processors and run the ported Windows 7 kernel or Windows 8 kernel trough the instalation proces. Always think logically about computing. A system on a chip can only code 0 or 1 so first you have to make programming code for the programming code for every system on a chip because every route of code is different in every system on a chip. Windows 7 will not support ARM because it is an 100 billion dollar costing risk. It is a risk because Windows 7 is a desktop system and does not work with fat fingers. Plus the non microsoft software is still x86 based and windows will be obsolete because of that.

  • James

    “Microsoft will never port Windows to ARM”
    “It’s too expensive”
    “It is a risk because Windows 7 is a desktop system and does not work with fat fingers”

    The first general assumption is that Microsoft will announce it’s intent to port Windows to ARM @ CES. Maybe Microsoft started this Windows-ARM project 4-6 years ago & development has been going on alongside Windows-x86.

    The second general assumption is that the reason Microsoft wants to port Windows to ARM is to have it running on pocketable sub-5″ MIDs & UMPCs. Maybe Microsoft’s goal is for Windows to run longer on thinner laptops (days instead of hours). Maybe Windows 8 will encompass the Media center OS, eReader OS, Desktop OS, Laptop OS & Tablet OS, similar to what Apple’s done with iOS & is obviously trying to do with OS X Lion’s iOS-esque interface. Maybe Windows-ARM will enable media center PCs smaller than the Apple TV & tablets thinner than the iPad & the Galaxy Tab. Maybe Windows-ARM desktop screens will measure 25″-30″ diagonally, maybe they’ll also be less than 10mm thick. Maybe Windows will live inside your next HDTV like Google TV currently does.

    The ARM architecture has a lot to offer when low power designs are flourishing as they are now. Around July of this year Microsoft acquired a ARM architectural license (, that says a lot & it makes much sense because Intel’s low power chips aren’t ready for primetime. Even Moorestown’s 2-3.5 watt TDP is too much for a lightweight, long-lasting mobile experience.

    Keeping the current Windows laptop form factor (clamshell) a very powerful 3-5 watt multi-core ARM SoC with Windows running would mean a notebook the size of the current Macbook Air could run non-stop for an entire day.

    Microsoft’s successful Metro UI could be the skin of choice for all these different platforms, even the fattest fingers will do ok with Windows-ARM on a med-sized tablet.

    Any thoughts?