Intel CEO, Paul Otellini, remains bullish about the prospect of Microsoft supporting the ARM architecture in the upcoming release of Windows 8.
Down the coast in Anaheim Microsoft is hosting the Build Conference as Intel runs its IDF2011 conference here in San Francisco. There it was talking up its support for the ARM micro-architecture in the next version of the Windows OS.
Otellini though is unconcerned with the prospect of added competition in the Windows space.
"We've always had to have the best chip to run on Microsoft software," he said.
"When you have the best chip you win."
It's not just the architecture that's important though as there's a vast library of legacy applications out there supporting the x86 platform.
"In PCs the value of legacy in compatibility of the 6million applications to the billions of users is pretty substantial," said Otellini. "I don't think users will easily walk away from that."
Intel has long had competition in the x86 space with AMD in Windows and now outside that traditional x86 market comes ARM.
Nvidia could be one of the greatest beneficiaries of this change in the Microsoft OS with its ARM-based Project Denver chip looking to enter the mainstream desktop CPU space.
But Otellini thinks Intel could well benefit too. "I'm perfectly comfortable that this is actually an opportunity for us to go back to places like tablets. I think Microsoft could help energise the tablet market."
Stephen L. Smith, VP and Director of PC operations at Intel, thinks actually it should be the rest of the processor ecosystem that should be worried about Intel.
"You see these billboards down the road that start talking about how many GHz your phone has," said Smith. "That performance race and performance expectation that people had in PCs over the last 20 years is now showing up in smartphone and tablet devices."
"We believe we know how to play that game. We believe that we have the design and silicon process advantage that allows us to lead there."
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