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  • Voldenuit - Thursday, February 09, 2012 - link

    So the walled garden analogy that's been used against the Windows Store app install limitation becomes worse when we find out that we can't even buy WOA except on preinstalled devices.

    This isn't a walled garden, this is a portaloo, and somebody put a padlock on the door while you were busy taking a dump.
  • Pirks - Thursday, February 09, 2012 - link

    Well, Apple became the largest and most profitable company in the world precisely because of that walled garden thing - they were the first who realized that walled garden is the future, this is where real money is. I'm glad MS if finally starting to wake up to the idea. Better later than never. Reply
  • medi01 - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    I beg to differ.

    Apple is the only fashion gadgets manufacturer in the world. Incidentally, people that are into such gadgets, are eager to frequently upgrade and pay for various accessories and apps.

    Microsoft would gladly do the same as Apple gets away with a while ago, but they know it will almost inevitably end with some anti-monopolic comission kicking their greedy ass.

    Two companies mentioned above can very easily get along. Split the market and milk your customers, charge for OS, then for you private app store. But there is a problem. GOOGLE. and ANDROID. FREE OS which you can easily root on most devices, thatis NOT bound to particular MARKETPLACE.
  • LiquidLearner - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    Or you could just buy an x86 tablet instead and have far more freedom than any existing tablet device. Of course it's everyones favorite thing to do to leave that out of the equation. Yes they'll be more expensive, but they'll be faster, they'll be completely flexible from an OS standpoint and they'll be able to run all the shiny new WinRT Metro apps AND all of your existing software and games.

    The WoA devices will be cheaper tablets, in the range of what we see today, that are fixed consumer electronic devices. Microsoft is the ONLY tablet OS maker that is giving a legitimate choice. Get the x86 tablet and no rooting is required. Run Linux Mint on there if you please. Run Hyper-V, VMWare or VirtualBox and play to your heart's content.

    Of course you'd much rather ignore facts and get your panties in a bunch because the cheap solution can't do everything the more costly solution can.
  • TerdFerguson - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    I'm under the impression that the bootloader on Win8-supported X86 tablets will be quite well locked down. If you have reliable information that indicates it will indeed be possible to dual-boot Linux, would you please provide a source? Reply
  • dagamer34 - Saturday, February 11, 2012 - link

    Nope, on x86, Microsoft requires that users are able to disable Secure Boot. However, on ARM, Secure Boot cannot be turned off.

    So no change for x86 devices.

  • burntham77 - Tuesday, February 14, 2012 - link

    They're just doing what Apple has been doing for a few years. I say good for Microsoft. Reply
  • bobjones32 - Thursday, February 09, 2012 - link

    God forbid that Windows on ARM is sold like a true consumer electronics device just like every single iOS-, Android-, and WebOS-based tablet on the market.

    It's technically impossible to sell something called "Windows for ARM", as described in the blog post. There's no such thing as "the ARM version of Windows". It's "The many versions of Windows specifically tailored for each ARM device". The same holds true for every Android tablet out there too.

    So what you're bitching about is not only unfeasible for extremely reasonable reasons, but it's irrelevant too - why would you even want it? Just get the x64 version or wait for the inevitable jailbreak so you can mess with it on your own.
  • antef - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    This is incorrect - there are not going to be many versions of WOA tailored for each ARM device. A large portion of Steve's post is dedicated to explaining how they worked hard to make a single WOA version with common binaries for all SoCs. Reply
  • phoenix_rizzen - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    A slightly more correct explanation would be that there's a single "Windows for ARM", with multiple HALs tailored to the 4 or so ARM SoCs they'll support, with the HAL becoming more modular with pluggable drivers/modules/etc.

    Just like there's a single "Windows for x86" even though there's a non-ACPI single CPU HAL, ACPI single CPU HAL, non-ACPI multi-CPU HAL, ACPI multi-CPU HAL, etc. And the same for "Windows for x86-64".

    Above the HAL, everything is the same, regardless of what hardware it's running on.
  • Lugaidster - Saturday, February 11, 2012 - link

    Again, slightly incorrect. Manufacturers have strict limitations on what they can include in their SoCs. Of course there will be differences in driver, but nothing as extreme as multiple HALs. There will only be one abstraction layer. EFI and ACPI are mandatory and there's only one instruction set. Unless there's something I forgot from reading the post from Microsoft, I only see one version (WoA) for all three manufacturers (TI, Qualcomm and Nvidia).

  • cfaalm - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    Considering they want to make splash with this, they better be in control of the hardware WOA is on or else they'd be in no man's land if they didn't. It's not a bad idea to take a page from Apple's book this time. Someone will find a way to get hold of a WOA-distro someday ;-) Reply
  • name99 - Saturday, February 11, 2012 - link

    MS have had more than thirty years of experience with the alternative model, and became very rich off it. Don't you think that if they're abandoning it, they're doing so for some pretty good reasons?

    [Or perhaps you'd prefer that they stick to the old ways and become as relevant to computing as Bull, or Wang, or DEC, or all those other computer companies that saw a changing world around them but refused to change with it?]
  • Unimaginative - Sunday, February 12, 2012 - link

    Because you see so many Consumer-grade ARM tablets sold without operating systems, and the others available make it so easy to install an alternate OS to the one they are sold with...

    I think the greater emphasis should be on; "That said, Microsoft is firm in its insistence that it will not support running, emulating, or porting existing x86 apps on the Windows on ARM desktop..."

    This comes across as an immediate sales and marketing cluster-fun. How do you explain to Average Joe that his new tablet with 'Windows' won't run the applications he's used on 'Windows' for years, let alone new Metro applications for his Windows 8 x86 machine? Unless Microsoft have worked a very classy method of differentiating them I can't see this going well with the masses.
  • Guspaz - Thursday, February 09, 2012 - link

    Well, it's unfortunate that Microsoft is restricting the platform to approved devices, and not doing their own emulation, but there may be room for a third party to develop a userland x86 emulator. The problem will be that there may be no way to do that if Microsoft forces everything through the app store. Reply
  • B3an - Thursday, February 09, 2012 - link

    X86 emulation is a bad idea, as pointed out in the MS blog post. It will only drain the battery faster and use more resources. I'm glad MS are not doing this. Reply
  • FunBunny2 - Thursday, February 09, 2012 - link

    I'll go out on a limb, and say that all that Office stuff will include a "runtime" that re-codes X86 instructions on the fly. It's a fact that there isn't an X86 cpu been made in years, a decade plus/minus, that has X86 ISA in silicon; those chips are RISC with a X86 de-coder. Lots more easy than re-writing all that Office code for the ARM ISA; can't happen. Reply
  • fluxtatic - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    Wat? You got some sauce on this? Reply
  • danielkza - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    Office isn't written in x86 assembly, it's written in high level languages like C/C++/C#. You don't need to rewrite the program to get it to run in a new architecture, you just need to recompile it targeting ARM. Reply
  • FunBunny2 - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    Most of a Windoes program consists of calls to the Windoes API's, thus OS, not chip, dependent. Reply
  • jwcalla - Thursday, February 09, 2012 - link

    The takeaway here is that WOA provides no competitive advantage in the tablet space. The second takeaway is that Windows 8 on desktops contains no significant updates to Windows 7 that would make an upgrade worthwhile, unless that upgrade is aggressively priced.

    Unless the tile interface can really grab some interest, I'm not really seeing what the point is here.
  • N4g4rok - Thursday, February 09, 2012 - link

    I agree with the second point, but what makes you think it can't competitive in the tablet market? Reply
  • jwcalla - Thursday, February 09, 2012 - link

    It may or may not be competitive -- maybe at least as "competitive" as Android (heh). But it doesn't bring any advantages to the table when compared to what's currently available IMO. Reply
  • B3an - Thursday, February 09, 2012 - link

    ....What? You seem to know absolutely nothing about what you're saying. Win 8 on desktops has many big updates and advantages over Win 7:

    It's faster than 7.

    It uses considerably less RAM than 7.

    Boots, shuts down, sleeps, and hibernates quicker. A lot quicker.

    Lasts longer on battery.

    Runs atleast as good as XP on very old hardware (tested this myself with the Dev Preview). MS have literally enhanced all the underlying code to be more efficient and light. A side effect of optimising everything for tablets.

    Storage Spaces (go read about this, EXCELLENT feature). This alone is a good reason to get 8.

    Many security improvements, and includes features from Windows Security Essentials, previously a separate download.

    Better multi monitor support.

    Native ISO and VHD (virtual hard drive) support.

    Windows To Go: Run Win 8 from a USB  flash drive.

    And the best Task Manager ever.

    For desktops it's a bigger improvement than 7 was to Vista.
  • jwcalla - Thursday, February 09, 2012 - link

    JMO but none of those features even combined justifies another $100+ purchase. Then again, so many people are on XP that even they can't justify paying for an upgrade to Win 7, despite the dramatic differences.

    If it's a cheap upgrade -- maybe $20... $40 max -- then a 7 -> 8 upgrade is a good deal. Much above that and you're getting ripped off.

    But I guess part of it is that I'm not so impressed since most all of those features have been available in other OSes for decades now.
  • SpartanX - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    I'm not trying to be offensive or a jerk but it really doesn't matter whether you think all of those features combined justifies another $100+ purchase. The fact is, there is more to Win 8 than you'll likely ever admit and it will sell insanely well.

    In other words, MSFT doesn't really need to impress you... honestly, they don't. Microsoft knows, they'll easily half a billion + Win 8 licenses in record time...especially with the advent of the "ultrabook" and Win 8 based tablets. It's inevitable Windows 8 will do insanely well in the market.

    As for you not being impressed...that also doesn't matter. All of these features may have been available on other OS's...but all of those other OS are statistically insignificant when compared to Windows...and likely always will be.

    I hate to be the one to break the hard facts of life to you...but I'd rather you hear it from someone like me, who cares, than from some stranger on the Internet.
  • FunBunny2 - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    The problem with win 7 (and may be vista, don't recall) is that a disc wipe is required. Normal users won't do that, and haven't. No matter how much better win 7/8 may be. Reply
  • Lugaidster - Sunday, February 12, 2012 - link

    A disk wipe is required to what? upgrade? Go watch a video made from a guy that started with the first version of DOS to Windows 7 updating each release to the next. It even saved some preferences all the way from Win 1.0 to Windows 7. So, again, disc wipe for what? Reply
  • FunBunny2 - Sunday, February 12, 2012 - link


    However, you will not be able to do an upgrade installation, in which your existing programs and data are left in place. Instead, you’ll have to do what Microsoft calls a custom installation. This is essentially a clean install, but your existing operating system, programs and data are squirreled away in a folder labeled WINDOWS.OLD. You end up with a fresh Windows 7 setup, but you can access that folder to get to any needed data. (Sorry, the programs in there won’t work – you’ll need to reinstall them.)

    That’s good news for folks who worried they’d have to do two operating system installations to get the final version of Windows 7 on their PCs.

    But there’s a catch. If for some reason you later need to reinstall the finished version of Windows 7 from scratch using the upgrade copy you bought, you’ll first need to install and activate Windows XP or Vista.

    This is different from Windows Vista’s installation procedure. Vista would let you install an older Windows OS, skip activation, and then install with an upgrade version. You can no longer skip activation when installing Windows 7 via an upgrade disk.
  • steven75 - Sunday, February 12, 2012 - link

    "As for you not being impressed...that also doesn't matter. All of these features may have been available on other OS's...but all of those other OS are statistically insignificant when compared to Windows...and likely always will be."

    You say this as if Windows market share hasn't been headed down the last 2 years.
  • FunBunny2 - Thursday, February 09, 2012 - link

    What, you don't want to write in Word on the 7th Ave. Express??? Lazy. Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    Are you still using Windows 2000? Reply
  • vailr - Thursday, February 09, 2012 - link

    Isn't Intel planning to make their Atom processor more competitive (power usage-wise) with ARM?
    Not to mention possible future AMD low power CPU's. And with x86 version of Windows 8 designed for less of a "resource hog" compared with Windows 7, wouldn't most shoppers want a fully (x86 desktop) Windows compatible tablet (or netbook)?
    I know which of the two options that I'd prefer, anyway.
    So: Windows 8 may be the first AND the last Windows version compatible with ARM.
    And: is Microsoft going to go to the trouble of trying to prevent hackers from booting and running Windows 8 "ARM edition" on an iPad?
  • Andrew.a.cunningham - Thursday, February 09, 2012 - link

    A lot of the optimization done for Windows on ARM is also going to apply to x86 SoCs, but whether the ARM port of Windows somehow disappears depends on whether Intel can make inroads into the smartphone and tablet markets that are SO DISRUPTIVE that they completely undo a five-year headstart. That won't be easy.

    Re: Windows on iPad (or Windows on any existing ARM tablet, for that matter), I won't say that it's *impossible* but I will say that it's *extremely unlikely*. There's a lot going on at the very low levels where hardware and software meet that are going to make it difficult for enthusiasts to port this to anything that isn't nearly identical to an existing Windows tablet (look how hard the Cyanogenmod team and its associates works to port Android to different hardware, and they're working with freely available source code that Microsoft is never going to provide).
  • fluxtatic - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    Yes, by the end of the year. It's surprisingly impressive (but maybe that's just because they're using the Atom branding - why didn't Intel go with a series that didn't make people think "utter crap'? We'll never know...)

    As to preventing it on iPad...probably not. Given that it will only run on Tegra, OMAP, and Snapdragon, and the A5/A6 is a modified Snapdragon, it's possible it would work nearly out of the box. I don't know the details of why it will only work on the three, or how difficult porting it would be (to A5 or any other ARM proc.) But, it would be such a fantastically low number of neckbeards that would do it, why should MS bother? Anyone know if MS still owns a piece of Apple? If so, they're making money no matter what you do!
  • Lugaidster - Sunday, February 12, 2012 - link

    Windows on ARM requires EFI and ACPI to enumerate the hardware amongs other hardware requirements. I don't see WoA running in iPad any time this decade.

  • B3an - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    ARM tablets will apparently be significantly cheaper than the Intel / AMD versions. Reply
  • SimpleLance - Thursday, February 09, 2012 - link

    A slight error on the article:

    TPM stands for "Trusted Platform Module" and not Trusted Platform 'Hardware'
  • Andrew.a.cunningham - Thursday, February 09, 2012 - link

    Ha! If that's the biggest error I made in 1800 words I'm pretty happy about it. :-)

    Thanks for the catch. Fixed.
  • Rishi100 - Thursday, February 09, 2012 - link

    I don't know how many people are left there to pick up another walled experience after Apple iPad. Those who have still to dip into tablet world, may have deferred the purchase because of their strong distaste for the walled experience that Apple provides. If Windows tablet don't provide the same openness to their PC counterparts, IMO it is stillborn. I believe then the market will have only two proven tablet players: Androids and iOS. Reply
  • Andrew.a.cunningham - Thursday, February 09, 2012 - link

    I think this "walled" vs. "not walled" dichotomy is something that exists mostly among tech enthusiasts, and it doesn't have a ton to do with whether something can succeed commercially. The iPad is walled, and it has succeeded on a massive scale. Ditto for just about every successful game console ever launched. Consumers ask "can it do what I want," "is it easy," and "does it work," not "is it walled/not walled."

    Also, it's not as if walled vs. not walled is the ONLY difference between iOS and Android. There's plenty of room for something in between.
  • fluxtatic - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    As long as you know going in that the garden is walled, maybe not that bad. Much as I hate Apple, you have to admit their walled garden seems a lot nicer than the crap- and spyware-infested Android land.

    Like the current Win7 Phone, it sounds like MS is trying to strike a balance between iOS and Android, and that seems to be the right approach.

    Who could have guessed, MS seems to have the right approach on something, not the old 'embrace, extend, extinguish' mentality.
  • danielkza - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    It will be a walled garden for sure, but the height of the walls might be different. We'll only know if Microsoft will follow Apple's 'morality stance' and 'religious experience guarantees' when they start evaluation real applications for their Store. Reply
  • Malih - Saturday, February 11, 2012 - link

    can I use wifi to connect to the internet? can it run a browser, and let me browse the internet? can I take note with it? can it run games? can I purchase an office app for it? is there an app for this/that?
    these are the questions that'll mostly be heard later.

    most users won't care whether it's walled or not - probably a small percentage of potential users will, but these people can just buy an x86 tablet.

    if walled means more secure, more stable, and less hassle (mostly because of less hardware drivers to worry about) then why not?
  • steven75 - Sunday, February 12, 2012 - link

    Judging by sales numbers, Android is not "proven" in the tablet market unless you're counting the forked Kindle Fire which seems like a stretch. Reply
  • secretmanofagent - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    I can only imagine that as some form of punishment. Reply
  • Malih - Saturday, February 11, 2012 - link

    People using office on tablet will mostly use it to view files, and maybe light editing while they're mobile,

    There are also some accessories for the iPad that can be used as keyboard, there will be some for WOA also, and people who are using their tablet as desktop/laptop replacement, will probably purchase one.
  • gamoniac - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    I will read MS Steve's full article, but there is nothing like reading a good summary at 1:30AM. Nice job distilling the information, Andrew. It's not exactly an easy task. Reply
  • Andrew.a.cunningham - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    You're welcome! Thanks for reading! Reply
  • CSMR - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    There is what seems to be a contradiction here.

    Microsoft will include access to the desktop with Windows 8.

    But "apps can only be downloaded and installed through the Windows Store, and only apps written to target the new WinRT APIs can be distributed through the store".

    But WinRT is only for the metro interface. So if this is true, then no 3rd party applications can be run on the desktop.
  • Andrew.a.cunningham - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    That's right. In WOA, the desktop is only for Explorer operations and the programs Microsoft sees fit to bundle. There's no official support for third-party programs. Reply
  • B3an - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    Are you sure? I read the whole blog post and i couldn't find anywhere that specifically said there will be no 3rd party apps for desktop on WOA. It said you cant recompile, port, or emulate current x86/64 software. It didn't say new software couldn't be made from scratch with new dev tools... Reply
  • Andrew.a.cunningham - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    Sinofsky's comments to AllThingsD seem pretty definitive: Reply
  • antef - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    There is nothing stopping you from writing new software for the desktop on WOA - not sure why so many people are misunderstanding this point. All he said is there's no way to simply port existing stuff, because you MUST target WinRT only. The desktop can run anything that targets WinRT. Reply
  • Lugaidster - Sunday, February 12, 2012 - link

    I would tend to agree with you, but as Andrew pointed out, Synofsky said that
    “there are no other compiled dekstop apps that are available, [...] all of the other apps for Windows on ARM will be the new-style “Metro” apps."

    So, if that doesn't mean that there will be no way to create apps to target the desktop, I don't know what does.
  • antef - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    WinRT is not only for Metro. It's a new Windows API, which you must target if you want to use Metro, but there's nothing stopping you from writing a desktop app targeting WinRT. The only thing is not everything that Win32 can do is available, so the app will be limited in a number of ways. Reply
  • B3an - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    "if the company can achieve a similar balance in Windows on ARM and get it to market on competitive hardware by the end of the year, that (combined with Android's relative weakness in the tablet market so far) might just be enough to establish Windows as a major player in the tablet space."

    I think it can only do well. Already it looks SO much better than any other tablet OS out there. Myself and many others i know will be getting Win 8 tablets on launch, and it will be replacing my laptop as well :)

    One thing that i REALLY want to try is running Photoshop on a Win 8 tablet (x86, although i think ARM will likely get a Photoshop version at some point) and using a pen to draw directly on to a high res screen.
    I already use a Wacon tablet (not to be confused with a tablet computing device) and drawing directly on to the screen instead would be so great.
  • Arnulf - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    "very signigicant shared code"

  • FunBunny2 - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    So, why is Office a good thing for a pad or phone?? No one has made that case yet. Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    If microsoft thinks they are going to get away with walling off their OS they are going to fail miserably. This is a company that can easily bankrupt itself if they are not careful.

    What made windows great is that any amateur programmer can write a simple "hello world" app, and place that app on their desktop, click on it and have it run. And they can take that program and put it on their friend's desktop and wow low and behold it will run there too. They can upload it, post a link to it, and 500 people can download it. As long as they got the correct libraries, it will run on any machine.

    Apple can get away with having a store because their costumers are dumb yuppies who dont understand anything but shopping. If microsoft tries to do the same thing they are going to fail.
  • B3an - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    Dont know why you're complaining, it's only for Metro apps and insures quality and no malware. Plus Metro supports loads of different coding languages, even a web developer could easily make something. The process of getting your app on the Windows App store is also a lot easier than with Apples store. Anyway, all existing desktop software will work exactly the same as usual. Reply

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