Comments by an Intel executive about Microsoft's under-development Windows 8 may -- or may not -- have provided some hints about Microsoft's plans for the next generation of its desktop operating system.
What they have done is create some tension between the chipmaker and the software giant.
The dustup began Tuesday when Renee James, Intel senior vice president and general manager of the company's Software and Services Group, suggested that Microsoft is developing multiple versions of Windows 8 to run on ARM systems-on-a-chip (SoC) processors from Nvidia, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments, according to a Wall Street Journal story on James' comments.
James also suggested that those ARM editions of Windows 8 won't be backwardly compatible with current software programs, and that only the version of the OS Microsoft is developing for Intel x86-based PCs would run existing PC applications.
Microsoft issued a brief statement disputing James' comments -- but didn't specify exactly how. "Intel’s statements during its Intel Investor Meeting about Microsoft’s plans for the next version of Windows were factually inaccurate and unfortunately misleading," the statement said. "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."
At the Consumer Electronics Show in January Microsoft said the next version of Windows, which is expected sometime in 2012, would support SoC processors based on the ARM architecture from chip manufacturers Nvidia, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments.
But Microsoft hasn't disclosed just how and in what form it will deliver that support. Many expect Windows 8 details to emerge at the company's Professional Developers Conference in Anaheim in September.
Microsoft is hoping that supporting ARM microprocessors, which are used in hand-held devices such as Apple's popular iPad, will help the company gain share in the market for mobile devices.