Microsoft has been experimenting with using ARM-based processors on Windows 10, according to a report from Petri.
ARM differs from Intel in how the chipset is designed and, as such, cannot support applications designed to run on an Intel-powered machine (described as either x32 or x86).
Microsoft originally made two versions of the Surface: An Intel-powered version (known as the Pro) and an ARM-powered version (known as the RT). The latter was later killed.
It’s unclear why Microsoft is experimenting with ARM-based technology in Windows 10, but one reason could be to work out how to ship another Surface device that contains a non-Intel CPU.
One theory, put forward by Petri, is that Microsoft could be building an ARM-based version of Windows Server, the software that is used to power larger-scale server computers.
The benefit of ARM over Intel is efficiency, both in terms of space and power. Mobile devices often use ARM-based chips over Intel because they use less powerful and take up less space.
Petri notes that Microsoft hired someone to build a way of making Intel-based applications run on an ARM machine. One of the core criticisms of the Surface RT was that it didn’t run Windows 7 apps, and this software could solve that issue.