Microsoft Spars With Intel Over Windows 8

Intel argues that the new OS won't hurt its mobile business

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Longtime partners Microsoft and Intel are decidedly not on same page when it comes to the future of Windows 8, according to The Wall Street Journal.

At an analyst meeting Tuesday, Intel tried to convince investors that it can compete with rival ARM Holdings—whose chip designs are used in Apple and Android devices. In January, Microsoft announced that the next generation of Windows software would work on ARM chips as well as the x86 design sold by Intel and AMD, meaning that Intel would lose its advantage.

But Renee James, head of Intel’s Software and Services Group, argued that Windows 8 won’t negatively affect Intel. While ARM chips will only be able to run new PC programs developed specifically for Windows 8, she said, Intel’s chips will run existing Windows programs that users are already accustomed to, in addition to the newer ones.

James also said that companies using ARM designs could face software compatibility issues. Because chip makers using ARM designs often create their own customized chips, multiple versions of Windows 8 will have to be developed to adapt to these different chips—which means that software developed for one ARM device running Windows 8 might not work on a different ARM device.

Microsoft didn’t respond well to James’ comments. “Intel’s statements during yesterday’s Intel investor meeting about Microsoft’s plans for the next version of Windows were factually inaccurate and unfortunately misleading,” said a Microsoft spokesman Wednesday, without specifying what the inaccuracies were. “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.”

@adweekemma Emma Bazilian is Adweek's features editor.