back to article Intel has driven a dagger through Microsoft's mobile strategy

Intel’s retreat from mobile chips is one of the biggest disruptions to the Wintel relationship in Microsoft’s 35-year business relationship with the chip giant – if not the biggest of all. There have been tiffs before, but not like this – and it raises serious questions about Microsoft’s mobile investments. Don’t expect rebel …

  1. Mikel

    The war has been over for some time

    It turns out we don't need nor want the legacy Windows apps and all their associated horrors running on our phones. We need our phones to work more reliably than a PC. If you absolutely must, you can run that junk on an old PC or in the cloud, and access it from the phone. Until you can win free of the reliance on it.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: The war has been over for some time

      My PCs are far more reliable than my phones. That may be something to do with the fact that I control what's on my PC and I can choose to use an unprivileged account to run those associated horrors. On my phone, I haven't a clue what's running and I'm pretty sure that there is only a Chinese wall between the associated horrors that I get from the app store and total control over my device.

      My PC also gets automatic updates, which my phone doesn't. (Yeah, I know, I really ought to look at the Cyanogen ports for my phone models. Buy why? Why should I have to know all that shit and tank my warranty just to get the device's reliability and security up to the levels of a Wintel PC?)

      The war is not over. It's not even clear that the major players are fighting the right war.

      1. asdf Silver badge

        Re: The war has been over for some time

        >'m pretty sure that there is only a Chinese wall between the associated horrors that I get from the app store and total control over my device.

        Well then run with F-Droid with no accounts on the phone then you have can be reasonably sure of whats in the app store.

        >My PC also gets automatic updates, which my phone doesn't.

        Not buying the right phone then. Need to stay away from the off brands who don't really offer software support.

        >The war is not over. It's not even clear that the major players are fighting the right war.

        Pretty sure the old guy luddite market is not on top of most the major players battle plans.

        1. ZSn

          Re: The war has been over for some time

          @asdf

          'Need to stay away from the off brands who don't really offer software support.' I hate to disabuse you, but XP was supported for fourteen years, you’d be hard pressed to find a main brand that does two years reliably (apart from Apple). Even my nexus 7 was dropped by Google after two and a half years (and that's the 'owner' of android).

          1. asdf Silver badge

            Re: The war has been over for some time

            I agree Microsoft OS support has actually been quite good in the past but then they basically decided they weren't going to just sell the OS any more and get out of the way but instead will data mine you ala Google and give it to you free (at first like a drug dealer but soon comes the OS as a service subscription noise). Makes Apple even with their stupid hipster premium look like the only sane choice at least for phones under warranty.

            1. asdf Silver badge

              Re: The war has been over for some time

              As for WinPhone well about the time they maybe got their stuff together with the OS (haven't followed much if that has even happened yet) the market share rounded down to zero. Network effect does matter even for phones.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: The war has been over for some time

              I agree Microsoft OS support has actually been quite good in the past but then they basically decided they weren't going to just sell the OS any more and get out of the way but instead will data mine you ala Google and give it to you free

              Right. Microsoft saw falling Windows sales, decided they were doing something wrong, and switched from selling the OS to giving it away (much in the same way an unwanted letter bomb is "given" to you).

              Instead of "we must accept falling windows sales," it was, "Bejeezus, we need to do something different. Anything different!"

              1. asdf Silver badge

                Re: The war has been over for some time

                Wow someone agrees with me at least lol. Took a lot of downvotes on this article. Guess that's what happens when you start pointing out all the bullshit of the major players these days. Piss off all the tribes.

                1. Naselus

                  Re: The war has been over for some time

                  " Took a lot of downvotes on this article."

                  I can't speak for the others, but you got my downvote for claiming that ANY phone OS has any serious support. Apple deliberately break older hardware with new updates, with 'older' defined as 'three years', and Android is so fragmented it makes Linux look monolithic and so poorly supported by networks that it makes Apple's 3 years look extra-long-life.

                  Ultimately, I don't use my phone and my PC to do the same things, for much the same reasons I don't particularly need my vacuum cleaner to do the same things as my fridge. They're different devices with different use cases. Smartphones do completely replace feature phones, but aside from those who only ever use computers to check email and websurf (i.e., grandparents and senior executives) no-one is seriously looking at dumping laptops or desktops in exchange for just tablets and phones. I could build a toilet which checks my gmail account whenever I take a dump; that doesn't mean that I will immediately junk every other device in my house that can do the same thing.

                  1. asdf Silver badge

                    Re: The war has been over for some time

                    >no-one is seriously looking at dumping laptops or desktops in exchange for just tablets and phones

                    Wow haven't looked at the financials of any of the PC makers lately have you? Intel laying off thousands is just a coincidence. Wintel will dominate forever so saythe Naselus. I do agree there will be a mature market for some time to come but growth is not a word that will be used much if ever again.

                  2. asdf Silver badge

                    Re: The war has been over for some time

                    >I can't speak for the others, but you got my downvote for claiming that ANY phone OS has any serious support. Apple deliberately break older hardware with new updates, with 'older' defined as 'three years',

                    Ok I can agree phone support long term is pretty much garbage but my point is so will be Windows OS support as well. Your OS is just like Facebook now, ready to be changed at the whims of Redmond as you are the product and no longer the customer. The one good thing at least if you get Nexus devices beyond warranty cheap you can find plenty of aftermarket open source roms to get cheap support but as you say ridiculous this is the only way to get long term support.

        2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: The war has been over for some time

          "Well then run with F-Droid with no accounts on the phone then you have can be reasonably sure of whats in the app store."

          I'll take your word for it, but re-iterate my point that I shouldn't have to learn what F-Droid is in order to make the product safe to use.

          "Not buying the right phone then. Need to stay away from the off brands who don't really offer software support."

          Again, I agree, but re-iterate my point that all the major brands are off brands by that definition and I'm not actually sure that there is an on brand.

          "Pretty sure the old guy luddite market is not on top of most the major players battle plans."

          And finally, yes, I accept that the 0.1% of the population who just want a fucking phone that is safe to use are clearly not on the battle plans of the major brands. But ... I still just want a fucking phone that is safe to use and as an when I find someone selling it I will probably pay whatever they ask.

          1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

            Re: The war has been over for some time

            Agreed! I don't do phones, but I've yet to find an on-brand for tablets including the android source. Just got a Google services update and hard crashes to restart, UI services services not responding, and app crashes are the order of the day here.

            I was pretty certain several quarters ago that mobile wouldn't end well for Intel. I also don't expect much pickup for IoT (embedded) beyond what Intel already has (fully merged firms) in FPGA. Data center, yeah those server cpu's with built-in FPGA's will do well.

            They're flailing for a strategy. Good luck with that. And Intel is what we all use here. Sad.

          2. asdf Silver badge

            Re: The war has been over for some time

            >I'll take your word for it, but re-iterate my point that I shouldn't have to learn what F-Droid is in order to make the product safe to use.

            Fair enough.

            >And finally, yes, I accept that the 0.1% of the population who just want a fucking phone that is safe to use

            Which coincidentally is now about the market share of Blackberry and Windows Phone so there is a few safe options for your demographic.

    2. asdf Silver badge

      Re: The war has been over for some time

      Not having all this in place when windows 8 shipped is why the war was lost. Years are almost like decades in the computing industry. Something that asshat Ballmer cost them which is why he is poo-pooing the idea even now.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Logic & Gui

    I think that the real problem here is combining both the logic and the gui in the app, not whether it runs on x86 or ARM. If the gui is split from the app logic then re-compiling the app logic to run on a different architecture or platform is relatively easy; you then just create whatever interfaces you need to control/talk to the logic in the app.

    A lot, even a majority, of server software already works this way.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Logic & Gui

      Nah. The real problem is closed source software.

      Microsoft *have* versions of all their dev tools that target ARM. Building for ARM is no more than "flip a compiler switch". The testing costs are insignificant because hardly any of your bugs are platform-specific. The only thing stopping you is the fact that the source code belongs to someone else, who can't be bothered to flip the switch, or doesn't exist as a commercial concern anymore, or who doesn't actually have the source anymore.

      A secondary problem is probably the absence of any consensus on what a "standard ARM PC" actually looks like. I recall that Linus had one of his rants on that topic a year or so back.

      None of these are a problem for MS if they want to build a full-fat version of Win10 for ARM hardware of their own choosing. To date, they've taken the view that anything smaller than a desktop machine needs to be hobbled in some way. At some point, they will eventually realise what an utterly stupid notion this is. When that day comes, they will actually *reduce* their testing costs (because of the reduced test matrix) and increase the utility of Windows-powered phones and tablets. Intel shouldn't bet on MS remaining unbelievably dumb indefinitely.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Logic & Gui

        Im not so sure its a flip of a switch for some MS products.

        As I understand it Outlook (for example) cannot be compiled to run on ARM...I cant remember why and I think this may have contributed to the failure of Windows RT (since the office suite on there didnt come with Outlook for this reason).

        In fact im not sure ive ever seen a 64bit build of Outlook...I could be wrong there though.

        I think Visual Studio has some issues as well...which is why it still only comes in 32bit variants.

        Basically, I think MS have coded themselves into some very dodgy corners.

        Of course, correct me if im wrong!

        1. captain veg

          Re: Logic & Gui

          > Outlook (for example) cannot be compiled to run on ARM...I cant remember why

          Because it's a load of useless crap?

          -A.

          1. ThomH Silver badge

            Re: Logic & Gui

            The Mac Office 2008, the first after Apple switched processors, shipped without support for VBA macros because the Mac version of that code was too PowerPC dependent; support wasn't reinstated until the next release, Office 2011. So in that case Microsoft had cleverly written two different versions of its interpreter and managed to tie each so closely to the CPU+OS combination that, even with two years' warning, it couldn't either change the CPU target for the one implementation or the OS target for the other.

            So it's evidently not as simple as flipping a switch for Microsoft; I'd dare imagine they're not alone.

            1. gnasher729 Silver badge

              Re: Logic & Gui

              "So it's evidently not as simple as flipping a switch for Microsoft; I'd dare imagine they're not alone."

              On the other hand, all my iOS code runs just fine on ARM and on Intel, both 32 and 64 bit, without any changes (Intel code obviously on the iOS simulator on a Mac).

        2. agatum

          Re: Logic & Gui

          As I understand it Outlook (for example) cannot be compiled to run on ARM..

          There must be some clever business/strategy reason for this.

          Alternative: slurp engineers are truly incompetent bunch of twats. Calendar & mail software can not be compiled to run on ARM, really? Or maybe outlook really does some real weird low-level stuff that's all the more reason to stay away from it.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Logic & Gui

          Yes indeed. You are wrong.

          My Surface RT runs Office, including Outlook.

          All on ARM.

          Four years old, or thereabouts. And still supported with the usual monthly patches.

        4. Timmy B Silver badge

          Re: Outlook RT

          The 8.1 update for RT did deliver about 95% of Outlook 2013 - some of the integration features didn't work but then they didn't work with the rest of Office 2013 RT.

          I loved my RT tablet. It performed well, was incredibly stable too. But no apps was what killed it. If MS unlocked it and allowed 3rd Party desktop ARM apps then it may have worked better.

        5. Deltics

          Re: Logic & Gui

          Why, precisely, do you think Outlook *needs* a 64-bit version ?

          If Visual Studio doesn't need it (and that is the reason, at least given) then a trifling email and calendar app sure doesn't. Unless you're just playing "Keeping up with the Bit-Jones'".

          1. colinb

            Re: Logic & Gui

            Outlook might not need a 64-bit version for its own functions as such but people do need Outlook to be 64 bit.

            On a Citrix Farm here running x64 Excel for large financial calcs requires x64 Office (side-by-side install not MS supported) so things like links to documents in emails can work.

        6. tiggity Silver badge

          Re: Logic & Gui

          "In fact im not sure ive ever seen a 64bit build of Outlook...I could be wrong there though."

          I have run 64 bit Outlook 2013 on windows for ages (holding off on 2016 upgrade until it's had a few more patches)

          The Office suite has been available in 64 bit for ages (typically a few less bells and whistles but can cope with various large files that makes 32 bit Office apps die, plus DEP)

          Businesses like 64 bit office as Hardware Data Execution Prevention is always on so a bit more secure for your average luser than 32 bit.

        7. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: Logic & Gui

          "As I understand it Outlook (for example) cannot be compiled to run on ARM"

          To be honest, I don't believe that. As is pointed out further down these comment pages, Office has been compiled natively over the years for x86, x64, PowerPC, MIPS, Alpha, Itanium and probably others. The only barriers are firstly that you might have to port any assembly language bits and secondly that you might be dependent on something like a version of DirectX that has been super-accelerated but only for certain GPUs. I can't believe there is much hand-coded assembly in Office, especially given its porting history. Neither can I believe it is terribly dependent on external sub-systems that are themselves hard to port.

          Instead, my guess is that MS didn't *want* to offer full-fat Outlook on ARM and the reason for that is because they seem insanely wedded to the idea that ARM has to be hobbled. Eventually, they will realise this is stupid.

        8. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Logic & Gui

          The much-maligned Surface RT came supplied with an ARM version of Office 2013 (RT) including Outlook.

          Office is also available in 64bits versions (including Outlook) since 2010 - see https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee681792.aspx for details.

          Visual Studio's IDE may be 32bits, but that does not limit the ability to develop for 64bit intel or ARM as the code and compilers for both architectures are available in 32bits and 64bits versions.

      2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Re: Logic & Gui

        "The only thing stopping you is the fact that the source code belongs to someone else"

        No, its the fact that you have built your code to assume a specific API, like win32, and a specific model for GUI, maybe even worse with assumptions of the size of 'int' or similar instead of using int32_t or whatever options were supported. That makes even a small program an absolute PITA to port. That is what most legacy software is like.

        The exceptions are stuff that was written to be multi-platform, even if just two variants of "UNIX" (say Linux and later MacOS) as then you have to write your code with some degree of abstraction for GUI and low-level stuff, and that greatly mitigates the pain for porting because you are probably started using two compilers/dev environments and can never be quite sure of what API consistency will be like, so you learn to segregate from the beginning.

        1. bazza Silver badge

          Re: Logic & Gui

          No, its the fact that you have built your code to assume a specific API, like win32, and a specific model for GUI, maybe even worse with assumptions of the size of 'int' or similar instead of using int32_t or whatever options were supported. That makes even a small program an absolute PITA to port. That is what most legacy software is like.

          The exceptions are stuff that was written to be multi-platform, even if just two variants of "UNIX" (say Linux and later MacOS) as then you have to write your code with some degree of abstraction for GUI and low-level stuff, and that greatly mitigates the pain for porting because you are probably started using two compilers/dev environments and can never be quite sure of what API consistency will be like, so you learn to segregate from the beginning.

          MS have needlessly and artificially made it difficult for themselves. Windows always has been multi-platform (back in the early days there were PowerPC and Alpha versions of Windows - all quite trivially easy really). A few years ago MS pulled the same trick with ARM. They wrote the required Hardware Abstraction Layer, recompiled Win7 and Office2007 for ARM along with an Epson printer driver, and showed the whole lot working satisfactorily at some conference.

          To a lot of us this looked like a good idea. It made sense, it built nicely on what went before, there were no big problems to solve. Visual Studio could easily have been made to automatically build fat binaries for x86 and ARM (just like Xcode on OS X used to for PowerPC and x86), and the distinction between an x86 and ARM based machine could have been made irrelevant.

          The only thing was that ARMs at the time were only 32 bit and not that fast, nothing that a bit of Moore's law wouldn't solve (which has since happened). An ARM PC? Why not, it'd be smaller, quieter, cheaper, etc... Even back then one could see there being an ARM server running Windows.

          But no way was it anywhere near ready for a universal mobile desktop / mobile app. With ARMs as they were, desktop was going to have to remain desktop, mobile was going to have to remain mobile. There simply wasn't enough compute power in ARMs to support a full desktop. MS tried too soon to unify them, but the result was the hideous mess that was WinRT, Windows8, etc.

          They probably tried to do it simply to be different to Apple. Whilst the allure of a universal app is strong, Apple had seen quite clearly the advantage of building a completely new ecosystem for mobile (iOS). This advantage was that at that time it would work, and that really devs would cope quite readily with the idea that there was no way that OS X apps would run on iOS and vice versa.

          Now the idea of a fat binary application is realistically achievable (at least from a hardware point of view). Many mobiles now have more compute resources than the PCs that were around when Windows 7 first came out. I like the idea of a mobile that can be plugged in to a monitor, keyboard and mouse and becomes a full PC. If only a fraction of the apps work in mobile mode that'd be fine; I'd only want a browser, messaging client and a few specific apps (trains, etc) to work when in mobile mode. If MS put full fat Windows on ARM like they did all those years ago and have visual studio build fat binaries, that'd solve their upcoming server problem, supply software for an mobile ARM desktop, etc.

          1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

            Re: Logic & Gui

            > Windows always has been multi-platform

            You must be quite young. Windows 1 to 98 were x86 only. The much later Windows NT was initially developed on MIPS and ported to x86 and others.

            > (back in the early days there were PowerPC and Alpha versions of Windows - all quite trivially easy really).

            It was _not_ 'trivially easy'. NT was written in C so it could be recompiled to various architectures, but it relied on being 'little-endian' and had to run those processors in little-endian mode which, for some, was not optimum.

            When they initially moved to AMDx86-64 much of the code had to be rewritten such that the 64bit versions could not run 32bit software (this was later fixed) and would no longer run on the other architectures.

            However, the main problem with other architectures was that most of Microsoft's and others' software was not suitable for making run on other CPUs, some had to be run under emulation, such as Office.

            > showed the whole lot working satisfactorily at some conference.

            They showed a limited subset that worked well enough to get through a scripted demonstration. Choosing a menu item not in the script may have crashed the whole system.

            > With ARMs as they were, desktop was going to have to remain desktop, mobile was going to have to remain mobile. There simply wasn't enough compute power in ARMs to support a full desktop.

            It is nothing to do with 'ARMs as they were', it was the MS software that was the problem. Raspian on a Raspberry Pi was perfectly adequate as a simple full desktop system, and that was using a chip that was several times less powerful than the top ARM chips. A Pi2 is more powerful than the machines used to run Win95 or 98.

            There wasn't enough to support _Windows_ desktop, and they didn't even try, RT only had Metro except for the cut-down version of Office which used a limited Win32 API.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Logic & Gui

              Windows NT started at version 3.1

              The reason given, for not starting at v1, at the time was that it was the 'NT' (New Technology) version of the mainstream Windows 3.1

              And yes, it was multi-architecture even then. MIPS and Alpha and IA32 and PowerPC.

              That's the early 1990's. 92 or 93, I'd guess.

              1. werdsmith Silver badge

                Re: Logic & Gui

                On the other hand, all my iOS code runs just fine on ARM and on Intel, both 32 and 64 bit, without any changes.

                So does mine, thanks to QT.

          2. Mage Silver badge

            Re: ARM PC

            Archimedes. possibly in 1985 with RISC OS (UNIX in 1987)

            Apple has now got a tablet with stylus and keyboard running ARM.

            They have growth in iTunes revenue.

            How much money does Apple make from x86 Mac?

            How much money do Mac OS users make on iTunes for Apple?

        2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: Logic & Gui

          "No, its the fact that you have built your code to assume a specific API, like win32, and a specific model for GUI, maybe even worse with assumptions of the size of 'int' or similar instead of using int32_t or whatever options were supported."

          Sorry, but those are *non*-issues for the case I was discussing, which is compiling a version of Windows for ARM hardware. Having done that, they are also non-issues for compiling Microsoft's applications for ARM, to run on the resulting platform.

    2. BurnT'offering

      Re: Logic & Gui

      There's a difference between application architecture decisions and political platform log-in decisions. As the article mentions, MS already have a dandy set of Android apps. They don't need to downgrade them to ports of the Windows versions

    3. Zippy's Sausage Factory

      Re: Logic & Gui

      Didn't they almost split the logic and the GUI once - or at least, make a start on it? It was part of the philosophy of Windows NT <= 3.51 if I remember right.

      I also seem to remember Gates felt it was too slow so they ditched the idea of trying to move to that sort of idea with NT 4.

  3. Bob Vistakin
    Mushroom

    Windows is Burning Platform 2.0

    Watching their decline is like an ultra slow car crash where the camera pans round to mobile, zooms into browser market share loss, flies over cloud irrelevance as it heads for The Road Ahead of IoT which is, and always will be, a Microsoft free zone.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Windows is Burning Platform 2.0

      The IoT is exactly where it doesn't want to be. Broadcom is predicting 50 billion IoT devices by 2020 so the profit margin per device must be extraordinarily low and the market competition will be terribly fierce in the race to the bottom. Perhaps that is why Broadcom has just quit that market.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
        Trollface

        50 billion IoT devices

        And nearly all of them will be shelved two months after being bought.

        1. theblackhand

          Re: 50 billion IoT devices

          Re:margin

          Typical ARM pricing is around US$5-$15/SoC per 1000

          Typical Atom pricing was around $25-30/SoC per 1000 (possibly even lower with rebates/subsidies to get their chips into products)

          Typical x86 pricing is US50-$2000/CPU per 1000

          These are rumoured prices manufacturers were paying versus RRP. Price isn't everything, but you have to have sufficient yields and sales to cover your R&D/manufacturing/sales/C-level bonuses/dividends.

          ARM has the advantage of being cheaper and easier to make, but Atoms weren't where the money was for Intel. There might have been a window where Atom could have been brilliant and ARM failed to increase performance that gave Intel the opportunity to compete in mobile devices, but it didn't happen.

          As ARM move forward, they will need to increase their complexity to incorporate a longer pipeline and cache which will drive an increase in SoC size and therefore cost per unit. ARM manufacturers can put pressure on Intel and Intel's margins will continue to fall, but Atom being dropped isn't the death of Intel and they still have a 2+ year lead in process technology.

          At the risk of insulting them, Intel may not have the best technical CPUs on the planet, but they have been the best CPU manufacturer (sometimes at the cost of performance/technical excellence to allow higher yields) for decades.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Windows is Burning Platform 2.0

      Sounds like the introductory credits to Deadpool.

  4. Nate Amsden Silver badge

    windows phone on arm

    How many windows phone models shipped with intel cpus?

    I think the number was quite small if there were any so intel dropping support shouldn't matter MS wasn't using them anyway

    1. Scary Biscuits

      Re: windows phone on arm

      The answer is zero. Neither Nokia nor Microsoft has ever made a non-ARM based phone.

  5. Mage Silver badge

    Continuum today is dead.

    Unless MS ports EVERYTHING to ARM.

    But that doesn't fix Sage Accounts and all the other legacy stuff, too much of which now runs badly on Win 10.

    They sacrificed Windows Desktop for a market that they can't get into. They can hardly even sell ARM based Windows phones!

    The entire Zune derived Modern UI strategy was stupid and now is dead.

    If I had all the Android apps to do what I want, I can actually plug in a keyboard, mouse and HD HDMI screen to my ancient Z1 Sony phone.

    But actually I have a laptop with XP no longer on Internet for legacy stuff and 2 off 1600 x 1200 screens on a high power Linux workstation for most work. Some of the Windows stuff works on WINE. Linux Mint + Mate has many native versions of applications I was using on Windows. Android is too lacking in Privacy (as is Win 10) and the applications, like MS Modern UI are mostly too lightweight and widgety.

    No way Intel has any traction on IoT.

    1. garethf

      Re: Continuum today is dead.

      Actually Continuum is a great feature, just doesn't have great app support.

      HP's new W10M phone the x3 will have virtualisation support running off Azure and Sage Accounts is one that's apparently going to be available Day 1. So maybe MSFT don't need to go for Intel chips but use virtualisation similar to HP...

      The proof will be how well HP sells.

    2. Scary Biscuits

      Re: Continuum today is dead.

      MS is porting everything to ARM, including their full-fat desktop Office apps. That is what UMP is all about.

  6. Herby Silver badge

    Just remember...

    If IBM back in 1890 or so chose a different processor/operating system for its PC, both Intel and Microsoft would be much different than they are today.

    When a major desktop machine builder goes away from X86 architecture people will need to adapt, and quickly. I believe that the trend started by the likes of a Raspberry Pi are just the beginning.

    Sadly (or not as you chose it) both Microsoft and Intel are eating dust from the trail that is being pioneered by others now.

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Just remember... If IBM back in 1890

      That would have been when they were called Hollerith and used punched cards, no CPU.

      Yes, 1980. But the PC was a rush job out of a catalogue. IBM themselves had better CPUs. It wasn't meant to be a success and set an industry standard. That's why they didn't even bother with an OS, just let MS supply the one that MS just bought reverse engineered from CP/M 86, which was easy to port from CPM as the 8088/8086 was so similar to 8080/8085/Z80 that Intel's machine code translator worked well (after all you still only had 64K RAM at a time, even some 8085/Z80 systems had more than 64K then via external paging). It was pretty much same architecture and instructions, just added segment register and memory management instructions. Writing for PC DOS was pretty identical to CP/M on 8 bit. Even a lot of the system calls / Software interupts etc are indentical, hence almost instant Wordstar and Supercalc.

  7. hellwig Silver badge

    AMD? VIA?

    AMD owns an x86 license. Couldn't Microsoft just hire them to create a low-powered x86 on par with the Atom? Atom was based on the Pentium Pro, wasn't it? So it's not like the last 15 years would affect AMDs ability to create a similar chip.

    Microsoft already pays AMD for XBOX chips, seems like Microsoft doesn't need Intel to create a device when Microsoft themselves can just pay to have one created. That's what Apple did after all.

    Heck, does VIA still have their license? Seems like they could use some business. They were already focused on low-power embedded x86 chips last I heard of them.

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: AMD? VIA?

      "Couldn't Microsoft just hire them to create a low-powered x86 on par with the Atom?"

      The Atom was never going to do it.

      The problem is the x86 architecture. If you can do tricks to get an Atom running at decent speed at say 1W, then an ARM doing same job in a phone/tablet in an SoC will use 0.1W

      The x86 can't compete with ARM in mobile period. If Intel can't do it, AMD certainly can't!

  8. Joerg

    Microsoft Windows Mobile and Surface don't have 30% market share!

    "Today, only a third of connected devices are Microsoft devices" .. 1/3rd ? 30% ? Since when?

    Tablet market share for Surface is in the 10% to 15% range.

    Smartphone market share for Windows Mobile is around 3% to 4%

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: Microsoft Windows Mobile and Surface don't have 30% market share!

      I think AO is pointing out that in spite of still having ~90% of the desktop PC market due to legacy software investment worldwide, MS now has only ~30% of the total number of internet-connected computers, that means PCs, tablets and smart phones (most of which are not x86 nor Windows in any form but cheap Android devices).

    2. nkuk

      Re: Microsoft Windows Mobile and Surface don't have 30% market share!

      The 30% of client computers includes PCs. Many people, in fact most according to these stats, don't use PC's for general computing tasks any more.

    3. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: Microsoft Windows Mobile and Surface don't have 30% market share!

      > 1/3rd ? 30% ? Since when?

      Android sold nearly 1.2 billion phones (plus some tablets) last year. Apple sold 230million phones and lots of tablets.

      So Windows was around 1/3 of the connected devices.

      Smartphone stats for 2015

      Rank . . OS . . . . . . . . . 2015 units . . share . . .2014 units . . share . . 2013 units . . share

      1 (1) . . Android . . . . 1,168.8 M . . . . 81.3% . . 1,062 M . . . . . 78% . . . 767 M . . . . . 65%

      2 (2) . . iOS . . . . . . . . . 231.4 M . . . . 16.1% . . . 193 M . . . . . 16% . . . 153 M . . . . . 20%

      3 (6) . . Windows Phone . 28.6 M . . . . 2.0% . . . .35 M . . . . . . 3% . . . . 33 M . . . . . . 3%

      4 (3) . . Blackberry . . . . . . 4.0 M . . . . 0.3% . . . 9.0 M . . . . . .2% . . . . 23 M . . . . . . 5%

      5 (-) . . . Tizen . . . . . . . . . . 3.0 M . . . . . 0.2%

      Others . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.5 M . . . . 0.1%

      TOTAL . . . . . . . . . . . 1,437.3 M . . . . . . . . . . . 1,301 M . . . . . . .. . . . 990 M

      > Tablet market share for Surface is in the 10% to 15% range.

      It is currently less than 10%:

      IDC: """with its 8.4 percent market share estimated to grow to 17.5 percent by 2019."""

      They predicted that Windows Phone would overtake Apple by 2015 too.

      > Smartphone market share for Windows Mobile is around 3% to 4%

      It may have been that a couple of years ago, but currently is less than 2% - around 1.7% last quarter by most analysts.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Microsoft Windows Mobile and Surface don't have 30% market share!

      Windows phone at its peak, best case Microsoft reporting was less than 2%.

      It's well under half a percent these days. Flying pigs are more common

  9. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Linux on Azure, Office for Android, Subsystem for Linux

    Microsoft have have been preparing for the transition for some time. I am not sure what the next small step will be. The big one will be when Windows==Linux+WINE. For some of us, that happened years ago. I cannot see Microsoft going there while they get such hefty troll revenue.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Linux on Azure, Office for Android, Subsystem for Linux

      Yes, despite the ill-fated Surface on ARM devices, it looks to me like Microsoft fired the first shot here because they made no serious attempt for an x86 version of Windows Phone. The few x86 phones that do exist show that this would be possible: the market as a whole might not like them but they're okay devices. The problem for Intel was that there was no compelling argument, other than sacks of cash, to switch to x86. Intel did lots of work to make Android run nicely on x86, but with more and more apps switching to the native kit, it was only going to get harder to convince sceptical users that "only a very few" of their favourite apps wouldn't run. It only takes one high profile game not to run as expected to kill a platform (shades of MS' private APIs back in the Windows 3.1 days).

      No, what we're seeing is Intel's mobile division being burned on Nadella's "cloud first, mobile first" bonfire. "Cloud" also avoids the need for the same architecture on screen 1 (mobile device) as on screen 2 (desktop or whatever). Programs either continue to run on the mobile (ARMs are now powerful enough to drive 5k screens and multitask) or are already running on the "cloud". Just stick somethng like a remote desktop server on the phone and add NFC. Moreover, this is also what companies are buying into: mobile devices accessing tightly controlled services.

      I reckon we'll see lots of demonstrations of continuum and the like from MS, Apple and Google this year.

      1. tony2heads

        Re: Linux on Azure, Office for Android, Subsystem for Linux

        "cloud first, mobile first" is turning out to be cloud servers running some version of Linux and mobile running Android or iOS.

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Linux on Azure, Office for Android, Subsystem for Linux

        Every phone and its dog can do remote desktop, there's no need for a Windows Phone for that, unless MS are going to do some RDP lock-in...

        OTOH if that is the strategy then having to have a net connection to get to the cloud version of a piece of software to do Continuum is pretty crap.

  10. asdf Silver badge

    not to be a dick but

    I was going to throw poop about that unnecessary jarring Samuel Johnson bit but seeing the author is AO ah hell I am still throwing poop at it. I am not a writing critic usually and my own writing often hints at barely literate so that bit must really suck if I groaned at it.

    1. Geoffrey W Silver badge

      Re: not to be a dick but

      Yes. That quote, in this context, is not only confusing but offensively confusing. Johnson was trying to say that a woman preacher is like a dog walking on its hind legs; that is, wrong. But Johnson himself is wrong (unless you're an ugly reactionary with ugly views).

      So, is Mr Orlowski saying that continuum is like a dog walking on its hind legs, or is he saying that it is like a female preacher being like a dog walking on its hind legs? Is continuum wrong or is Orlowski, like Johnson, wrong?

      Ah, decisions, decisions...

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: not to be a dick but

        Yes, that would be enough to trigger those lying in wait for such opportunities.

        Stable lad - tack up the high horse now, we are going a hunting.

  11. Sean Timarco Baggaley

    It's not just Microsoft.

    Apple are also reliant on Intel investing heavy R&D into CPUs that can crunch lots of data without hammering the power. Their MacBook range is built on the same "Core M" CPU as used in Microsoft's own Surface 3.

    If Intel are effectively giving up on all this, then they're placing Apple in a similar situation to the one they found themselves in back in 2003, when they had similar problems with PowerPC.

    Now here's the thing: AMD have licenses for both x64 and ARM. They even have chips that include both on the same die, though the ARM part is usually one of the smaller ones. It doesn't take a genius to see how they could reverse this, with the ARM part doing the heavy lifting while a couple of x64 cores are retained to provide legacy compatibility when plugged into a dock.

    Coupled with AMD's graphics IP and this makes AMD a rather tempting purchase for Microsoft, who then have everything they need to design and build their own hardware, from phone to Xbox, effectively in-house, allowing a managed migration away from Intel's legacy architecture to something less monumentally shite.

    Apple already have their own ARM-centric chip design teams, and an ARM version of OS X is doubtless already up and running in their labs. They also have a strong track record in switching architectures (680x0 >> PowerPC >> x86/x64), and no worries about legacy software, so switching to ARM isn't going to be a huge deal. Remember, Intel aren't giving up on the Xeon end of the market, so the Mac Pros should be fine for a while yet, though with GPUs already doing so much of the grunt work these days, it may matter less and less whether even these run on Intel or ARM.

    As for Office: this used to run on a number of different architectures and platforms, and has even made the transition from 680x0 to PowerPC in its long lifetime. The key problem isn't porting to a new CPU architecture, which would require spectacular levels of incompetence to cock up in this day and age, but the fact that it's a very old app designed in an era when WIMP and CLIs were the only user interface games in town.

    Furthermore – and this is something too many people forget – MS Office is itself a major development platform. There are entire industries that have built up around integrating Office into their own custom solutions. When people talk about Open/LibreOffice, they conveniently forget all this; some businesses have invested 6-7 figure sums into customisation that cannot be trivially ported to another office tool platform.

    Which means Microsoft need to find a way to support all this stuff on anything from a tiny 4" touch-screen smartphone to a 55" Surface Hub, by way of a conventional laptop. This is a big ask, but it's likely they realised they had to bite this bullet a while ago. They just weren't expecting it to be shot into their face so much sooner than expected, nor by such an old friend.

    *

    While I don't think Microsoft are even remotely perfect, they do currently sell the only mainstream alternative to the myriad thinly-disguised flavours of Unix out there. Given how often the Commentariat prattle hypocritically on about "choice" and "freedom", I, for one, would rather Windows stay. Without it, the only "choice" is Unix, and the only "freedom" is to choose one slightly different flavour of Unix over another. There is no way that ends well.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: It's not just Microsoft.

      I am mostly a Linux user, with a few VMs for specialist Windows software. I most certainly don't want Windows to disappear, but I would like its desktop share to drop further, say to 60-70% so that companies are willing to supply device drivers (or supporting documentation) for non-Windows OS.

      Quite a few do fairly well in this respect already, offering Mac & Linux support, but its still an issue for some things where they are just not supportable due to a lack of any openness or effort from the company.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's not just Microsoft.

      As I understand it Intel are not killing off mobile processors per se, just the smartphone SoCs.

      Most likely this is due to the development cost of unique SoCs that have GSM and/or WCDMA support - BIG design wins are needed to hit breakeven, and then for what when the smartphone market has peaked and competitors like Broadcom are feeling the pinch?

      Power-efficient "full fat" processors will stay, certainly for laptops and I can't see any reason why tablet applications shouldn't also be covered.

      I suspect Intel will end up sticking to the high-margin businesses (and therefore don't expect anything to come of the "connected sensor" push).

      Your idea about AMD hybrids is interesting - though at the moment (based on instruction sets and attainable clock speeds) a "big X86" outperforms a "big ARM" and everything that runs on ARM seems to be nicely portable, so there is limited benefit to such a hybrid*. But I have yet to get a 64-bit ARM to have a play with, so could easily be wrong.

      * reasoning based on TI's Keystone hybrids where the DSP cores are much faster than the 64-bit ARM cores - but still comparable to contemporary X86 cores especially when code has not been hand-optimised.

      1. Captain DaFt

        Re: It's not just Microsoft.

        "As I understand it Intel are not killing off mobile processors per se, just the smartphone SoCs."

        And really not difficult to figure out why.

        The major user (practically only) of these chips is Microsoft, who owns a very small and shrinking portion of the smartphone market.

        There's just no money in it for Intel.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's not just Microsoft.

          You realise that Microsoft / Nokia does not, and has never made an x86 smartphone, right?

          They use ARM.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: It's not just Microsoft.

      "Apple are also reliant on Intel investing heavy R&D into CPUs that can crunch lots of data without hammering the power.

      ....

      If Intel are effectively giving up on all this, then they're placing Apple in a similar situation to the one they found themselves in back in 2003, when they had similar problems with PowerPC.

      ...

      Coupled with AMD's graphics IP and this makes AMD a rather tempting purchase for Microsoft"

      By the same token it must make AMD a tempting purchase for Apple, maybe even more so.

      Bidding war?

    4. dajames Silver badge

      Re: It's not just Microsoft.

      Apple are also reliant on Intel investing heavy R&D into CPUs that can crunch lots of data without hammering the power. Their MacBook range is built on the same "Core M" CPU as used in Microsoft's own Surface 3.

      If I'm reading the report correctly it's the Atom CPUs and the SoFIA system-on-a-chip lines that are being axed. "Core M" is something very different, offers far more performance, and has a higher entry cost. The message from Intel seems to be that there aren't enough profits in the bargain basement so they'll only be selling higher-end chips with higher-end margins in future.

      I'm not sure that that's a bad thing ... and I don't think it affects Apple at all.

      1. MrTuK

        Re: It's not just Microsoft.

        The message from Intel seems to be that there aren't enough profits in the bargain basement so they'll only be selling higher-end chips with higher-end margins in future.

        This is how Intel has always operated and that's how AMD makes its bread and butter, Intel just won't bother competing when CPU's prices get too low, they just end of line them - Sometimes extremely quickly like the old Celeron 300 which went from an easily obtainable CPU to unobtainable over night, this was probably also due to it being a great overclocker (300Mhz to 450Mhz no problem at all)

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just shrink the non pro Surface 3 into a phone. Please. And while your at it, make it thick and heavy with a big ol battery. I don't need my phone thin. I need my phone to stay on. You got that? Thaaaaaanks.

    1. Adam Jarvis

      You say that...

      You say that, but when it comes to it, when users genuinely have the choice, having a nice slim aesthetic phone that fits in your pocket and looks good, wins the money ever time, in terms of sales, over chunky phones with a slightly better battery life. Yep there is a market for chunky phones but its a lot smaller.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  14. gtarthur

    Learn to distinguish war(s) from battle(s)

    My 35 years of experience in computing tells me this is yet another battle that may be lost, but is probably just a strategic retreat. How do I know - follow the money. Who has it to spend, and who doesn't? The big players will continue to be big because they know how to stay big - with both talent and cash. If Intel can't build an internal mobile chip, then they can buy someone that does. Failure for these guys is an acceptable and manageable risk. Just like the startups, the big guys can have failures that they learn from and keep growing. Too soon to bury anyone in this war.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    "Now put yourself in the position of a user wanting to use Microsoft apps and services..."

    I'm sorry, my imagination only gives so far.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Saw this coming

    Android scales up to full hardware nicely, windows scales down to mobile hardware really badly.

    I have no need for windows,, Microsoft must know this, take a look at Microsofts android offerings vs windows store crap.

  17. joed

    silver lining?

    Maybe with mixed feeling but somehow I can't feel bad that one of outcomes is weakening of desktop-less branch of Windows.

  18. W. Anderson

    Science fiction story of Microsoft Mobile dominance

    The "impression" from Andrew Orlowski in this article is that if Intel had not dropped it's mobile Atom Chip project, then Microsoft was on a path to significantly expand it's Windows mobile base in competition to that from ARM.

    Since ARM based mobile computing, involving Apple, Samsung and all the other hardware and software OEMs account for approximately 96% versus about 2% (and declining) for Microsoft in the entire Mobile market, just how would Microsoft mobile with "continued" Intel Atom chip base ever gain any traction beyond a very small niche market?

    I am aware of the many efforts of Microsoft, as an extremely wealthy corporation pouring good money after bad projects in the past, but such improbable rise from the ashes in mobile competitiveness is delusional thinking on any level.

    Microsoft's "Mobile First and Cloud First" mantra is faltering badly, being overwhelmed by Linux and other Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) technologies, on any CPU Chip base, with the company having no alternative approach except embedding Linux, Hadoop, Docker Containers and other premier FOSS into their solutions, creating a Frankenstein hybrid solution with no advantage what-so-ever.

  19. J J Carter Silver badge
    Windows

    This *good* news for MSFT

    Intel's abandoning of mobile x86 stops all the distracting noise from churnalists about running legacy Win32 binaries on Windows Phone.

    MSFT's approach of OneCore W10 available multiple platforms, universal apps delivered via the Store and the flexibility of having phone with the option of Continuum is a 100% coherent strategy.

    Indeed after Intel's screw-ups with video drivers for Windows 10 and the chipset drivers for Surface Pro 4, I expect it was MSFT who informed that the Windows Phone would always be ARM based, prompting Intel to shutter the Atom unit.

  20. Danny 5

    I used to be a huge windows mobile fan

    As a long time fan of Nokia and long time (happy) user/admin of windows platforms, it wasn't a huge surprise that i'd take on the Lumia when they started to hit the market. I started with a Lumia 900, which was a pleasure to work with. Next came the Lumia 1020 and that too was a wonderful device. Having smashed the screen of my 1020, i upgraded to a Lumia 950 and it's been hell ever since. I am now so fed up with the device that i am never going to get another windows mobile device. It's so crappy that i'm truly astounded that Microsoft dared to release it in it's current state. The OS (it's their first windows 10 designed phone) is clearly unfinished and buggy and the interface has infuriating new "features" that make it horrible to use. To add insult to injury, this "flagship" device feels cheap, has a terrible battery and doesn't deserve to be badged a Lumia, let alone "flagship".

    How they managed to go from the beautiful design of the previous Lumias to this generic piece of crap is beyond me.

    I heard that Nokia will likely start branding smartphones under their own name and i assume they'll never have anything to do with Microsoft again either, so as soon as that happens, i'm switching. Failing that, i will move to Android on my next device.

    I feel utterly betrayed and am sorry is spend so much money on this craphole of a phone.

    *edit*

    oh wait, i did have a point to make before i started writing this anti windows 10 tirade......

    The Intel move is not the biggest problem they have. With their push of Windows 10 mobile unto their customers, they have alienated a lot of their fans, as i'm not the only one who's been this disappointed. Their new course, which their new CEO is responsible for, is going to doom them. With 8.1 things were great and i was more than happy to promote the devices to friends, but in one fell swoop they destroyed their own platform. I almost feel sorry for them (almost).

    1. Schlimnitz
      Thumb Up

      Re: I used to be a huge windows mobile fan

      Thanks,

      Every now and again I find myself wondering if I should upgrade my 735 to Windows 10.

      Then I read a comment like yours and remember the right answer :)

    2. jimbo60

      Re: I used to be a huge windows mobile fan

      Agreed. My Lumia 1520 running 8.1 is my all time favorite mobile phone. When it developed some hardware issues after years of use I picked up a cheap holiday special and put the fast ring Win Phone 10 betas on it. There is just no comparison. Fortunately the last two weeks of betas are almost decent, so it is getting better.

  21. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Meh

    It's really Microsoft's own fault

    Windows Phone failed to win hearts and minds because the UI was just not up to the offerings from Android and Apple. in much the same way that instead of listening to their customers and what they wanted and were used to, Windows 8 introduced the menu system that only a mother could love. When Windows GUI first came out, MS copied Apple, which itself copied Xerox. A pity that this trend didn't continue, as Windows phone could have been great. Not to detract from Microsoft's innovation, as IMHO, they did the GUI better than anyone, for a while anyway.

    But I see Intel's point in pulling out of a market in which they're not selling much. A rewrite where necessary would mean that MS could use any chip family it wants, and not to detract from the enormous effort that converting applications requires, but I think that MS management these days is too moribund with 'market surveys', meetings, and yes men (and women) playing 'cover my ass' to just see the light of common sense and do what needs to be done to be relevant and functional. Maybe if they recruited people from their very successful X-Box division, which is one of the last bastions of continuing innovation at MS IMHO.

    1. J J Carter Silver badge

      Re: It's really Microsoft's own fault

      >the UI was just not up to the offerings from Android and Apple<

      I've drawn the short straw of testing a bunch of Android phones for my company, from pricey Samsungs to bargain bucket Moto-Gs.

      IMHO all variations of Android blow chunks compared to Windows 10 mobile on my 950 and iOS 9.x on my iPad. No consistency across apps, settings scattered all over, non-intutive UI, rag-tag of 'widgets', crazy task-switcher etc. etc. Windows 10 mobile and iOS just work.

      1. Unicornpiss Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: iOS just works..

        Having supported hundreds of iOS devices for the last several years, I can assure you they definitely don't "just work". That said, I'm sure if we had all Android or any other platform to support, they wouldn't "just work" either. Hardly anything in IT "just works" most of the time, evidenced by the recent article about the US military's woes with the software on their newest fighter planes, and the fact that most of us manage to stay employed in this industry. Consumer-grade devices come and go so fast that by the time a platform is mature and the bugs are mostly worked out, we've all moved on to the next half-assed delusional attempt at what the manufacturers think we want.

        Android is very consistent IMHO when it comes to where to find settings, and menus are similar in MOST applications. To me, Android seems very logically designed, while it's iOS that has settings scattered hither and yon. The only consistency in iOS is the big button to get home; to me the menus are just laid out appallingly. And the way iOS will nag and nag and nag you to enter a password for everything that it doesn't see as constantly logged in, popping the dialog right into the middle of what you're trying to do, is reprehensible and aggravating. Today while trying to help a user with a device, a 2nd password dialog kept popping up in the middle of my entering a password, thwarting me enough times that I really wanted to do violence to the poor iPhone.

        But probably anything you're used to seems consistent to the person using it, while platforms with which someone isn't familiar seem horridly illogical.

        P.S. It wasn't me that downvoted you.

  22. picturethis
    FAIL

    No one to blame but themselves and their greed

    Microsoft had/has a very nice solution to UWA, but their greed got in the way...

    UWA could be accomplished with using .NET runtime as their basis. When .NET first was released MS even said, this has the possibility of running apps on top of different processor architectures unchanged (the technical part). Yes I know that some portions of .NET rely on Win32 API calls underneath, but they could have finished that part up, if they wanted to.

    When Windows RT was released (for the ARM), MS chose to completely cripple it because they wanted to control the ability of which apps could run on it to support their walled-garden (the "greed" part). Afer all, they couldn't allow just anyone to be able to use "legacy" applications on ARM devices, "OMG we would lose control".

    I don't shed a tear for the greedy, stupid bastards that made that decision and made life hell for the rest of us. I hope they rot in their offices.

  23. Will 10
    WTF?

    Microsoft has a mobile strategy?

  24. EvilBanana

    The wintel relationship was a US Government protectionist racket to make money for America and lock out competition. It's not needed, no thank you.

  25. Howard Hanek Bronze badge
    Childcatcher

    Plan B

    Oh wait? There IS no Plan B! Back to the tin cans with the strings but the design department have made the cans so attractive. Sky Blue with a great hologram logo.

  26. Sil

    I would argue this isn't the most brilliant move of Intel, which needs every friend it has.

    Intel can dream of drones and Curie-powered fashion, but the processor is what brings food to the table.

    The more mobile processors become powerful, the more they will look like classic processors.

    So unless it thinks Core processors will soon be energy efficient to be used in phones, it lets a potential market go away, making the ARM company more powerful by the day.

    A dangerous situation when ARM wants to eat your datacenter business too, and where Google, Facebook & co have a deep financial interest in diversifying their datacenter purchases.

    Windows may not be the ecosystem it used to be, but where will Intel go without Windows ?

  27. Andrew Harding

    I have been a fan of Atom/Windows since the beginning since I returned my first, first-gen Suface RT. I returned it for the first gen Asus Transformer and now I have the second gen too.(https://www.asus.com/2-in-1-PCs/ASUS_Transformer_Book_T100HA/)

    Both are great and I use it as my main device for work. (VDI, and AWS run fine on both, the second gen gave me Ubuntu Virtual Box. What I liked was the low power, low cost, and the ability to power my laptop with microusb.

    Now my new gen also has USB-C. Once everything moves to USB-C, what's the point? Intel can provide small cool cheap x86 chips within their existing pipeline

    It just means the standard architecture has caught up to Atoms capabilities (price,size, power)

  28. Ilgaz

    Look at Apple

    Apple switched over one CPU to other so smoothly that people weren't even aware they were emulating another CPU down to its endianness until they removed it's support at OS level.

    If MS can't do the same, the issue is way more deeper. Industry guys say Symbian's real problem was not being able to run on newer ARM arch for instance.

  29. Scary Biscuits

    Windows's future is on ARM not Intel

    Intel's withdrawal of Atom doesn't blow away MS's mobile strategy, it validates it. Windows 10 mobile, just like it's Windows RT forbear, runs on ARM. Microsoft have preserved with ARM support, because they didn't want to be tied to Intel's fortunes. The same UMP apps run on Windows 10 desktops, Xboxes and mobile. Microsoft is already working on porting its full-fat desktop Office apps to UMP and other major software vendors are likely to follow. Legacy apps can run in a window on the cloud (Citrix-like). Then there really will be no reason for to be tied to an Intel box or laptop. HP have already announced effectively an ARM laptop running Windows, the Elite x3.

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