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Microsoft Developing ARM-Based Windows Server OS

October 29, 2014

Microsoft is reportedly testing a version of its Windows Server operating system that runs on CPUs using ARM-based processor chips, according to unnamed internal sources.

Intel has dominated the PC and server chip market for quite some time, whereas ARM is by far the most popular choice for chips used in mobile devices. If Microsoft is in fact running tests with ARM-based technology it could lead to an upset in the processor and server markets, and challenge the Microsoft-Intel alliance that has existed for quite some time.

Microsoft has experience with ARM technology, having incorporated it into the Windows Phone and the Windows RT operating system (a version of Windows 8.x optimized for tablets). The project was scrapped after it failed to catch on with consumers, but these rumors may indicate that Microsoft sees the technology as being more applicable to server computers.

Hewlett-Packard and several other companies have shown interest in using ARM-based chips in servers, foreseeing a more competitive market that challenges Intel’s dominance and presents opportunities for improvements in power saving technology and price. The company recently launched a version of its Moonshot line of servers that runs on ARM-based processors.  After initially announcing intentions to use it as early as 2011, Intel has gained an even stronger foothold in the interim as ARM-technology struggled to develop and match Intel chips’ level of capability.

Currently, all server computers running Windows software use Intel processors, but internal sources say the ARM-based version will be announced to the public soon. The company has reportedly yet to decide whether they intend to make ARM-based technology available in personal computers for consumers as well, but that will probably depend on the success of these current efforts.

Official spokespeople from Microsoft have declined to comment on the matter any further.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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