Top analyst is baffled by Ballmer's move to ARM

An analyst who makes his money watching every move Microsoft makes says that he is completely baffled by Steve Ballmer’s expansion onto ARM-designed chips.

This week Ballmer announced that its next version of Windows will run on the ARM chip architecture.

But Michael Cherry, from Directions on Microsoft, whose specialty is Microsoft’s operating systems said that Ballmer was sending out the wrong message at the wrong place, said an industry analyst.

He told Computerworld that he was baffled as he can’t see what Microsoft got out of it.

Cherry couldn’t figure out why Microsoft would even talk about Windows 8 running on an ARM system-on-a-chip, or SoC particularly at CES.

He said that such an announcement was not “consumer” it should not be about processors, but features. So, by Ballmer making such an announcement, he was implying that there was a major consumer use.

The obvious target would be tablets, but Redmond has been quiet about what features such a chip would be expected to perform.

Cherry didn’t think people went into shops and said gimme a tablet that runs Windows and that applied to Intel and ARM-designed microprocessors too. He thinks people will buy a portable device that turns on instantly and has interesting apps to read books, browse the Web, check their email.

But Ballmer was quiet on what those chips would be doing.

Cherry said that there was no question that Redmond could pull off porting Windows to the ARM architecture, and in time for the next upgrade.

But he’s mystified why Microsoft would want to migrate the entire operating system to a tablet platform.

Cherry doubted there was anything to gain by taking the entire client OS of today and porting it across. The power consumption of Windows is still going to be the same.

He said that it would be better for Microsoft to strip down its OS to provide only those parts necessary for a tablet. Yeah, it’s Groundhog Day on the 2nd of February.