All about the legacy

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I have been reading and watching reviews about Windows on ARM. The Surface Pro X and, most recently, the reviews of the new 5G ARM based Lenovo. The latter being on this site.

I think it’s fair to say there seem to be benefits of battery life and making laptops thinner for these devices. However, they all seem to stop at the legacy of Windows. Microsoft isn’t moving to ARM. More accurately it seems to be not moving from Intel to Qualcomm. ARM chips are an option in the roadmap. Microsoft have wasted a decade of trying to move Windows forward. Windows RT, Windows 10S, Windows 10 in S mode. All of which seem to have been curtailed by legacy. If Microsoft really is a cloud services company with no ecosystem for consumers it doesn’t really need a “modern Windows”. All it needs to do is supply apps for client computing and management tools to connect people to Microsoft subscription services. Windows for business, the legacy client, can chug along with incremental improvements and security updates. It really doesn’t need to move to ARM. No substantial Windows applications are being developed and the ones in maintenance are Intel based.

The removal of consumer services and the billions Microsoft makes from business means that other than collecting license fees from PC manufacturers nothing much needs doing.

I use Windows every day at work and it’s my preferred way of using PCs. However, I am a dinosaur. I saw Windows 1.0 being demoed and used DOS primary until Windows 3.x came out. Even then I used it inside OS/2 Warp. The last version of Windows should be Windows 10.

ARM hasn’t even got parity of esteem in the world of Microsoft. Windows for ARM doesn’t seem to have attracted developers. Hence the need for emulation. Developers are Azure developers, Office developers, PowerApps developers in the Microsoft world. Not Windows developers. There is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong with Windows becoming a venerable old OS that businesses use to keep themselves in business. The default for PC buyers, now fewer in number, will be to get some version of Windows that most don’t even need because they use the web.

I think Microsoft should forget about Windows on ARM. Instead, if they want to create a new “lite” client OS it should be something else not called Windows and not supporting Win32. I really don’t see the point of supporting legacy in 2020. There is a legacy OS. It’s called Windows.

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