Intel: Win8 on ARM won't support current PC apps; Microsoft: Shut up!

Microsoft/Intel sniping reaches new levels of intensity, but doesn't answer question Intel raised.

It's so painful to sit in on the sniping and bitterness that goes on between partners who were inseparable until the new hobby, the new co-worker or just the number of times each has disappointed the other drove space between them that is filled now only with pointing fingers.

Microsoft and Intel are talking about each other again, did I mention?

Tuesday it was Intel CEO Paul Otellini telling financial analysts PCs will get faster, lighter and more efficient – made more so by Intel, which will save the PC industry with smart chipsets that handle problems with hibernation, wireless networking, online/offline synchronization and other issues that all seem to be traceable to the operating system of its longtime partner Microsoft.

Otellini and various other Intel execs also let some of Microsoft's Window 8 cats out of the bag, predicting the next version of Windows will ship in at least four major versions, some running on low-power ARM CPUs, with a list of features designed to make it run well on tablets.

Intel Software honcho Renee James also said only the x86-based versions of Windows 8 will run existing PC apps and new versions simultaneously. The ARM version will only run apps modified for Windows 8 on ARM chips.

Worse, ""There will be four Windows 8 [System on a Chip editions] for ARM [SoC processors]. Each one will run for that specific ARM environment, and they will run new applications or cloud-based applications....They are neither forward- nor backward-compatible between their own architecture – different generations of a single vendor – nor are they compatible across different vendors. Each one is a unique stack," James said.

Microsoft didn't respond in person; instead it posted an announcement saying that statements from Intel about the plans for Windows were "factually inaccurate and unfortunately misleading."

Windows has always offered backward compatibility for legacy apps and would continue to do so, it said.

At least, that's what it seemed to say. What it actually said was "From the first demonstrations of Windows on [System on a Chip architectures], we have been clear about our goals and have emphasized that we are at the technology demonstration stage."

What that means about support for legacy apps isn't clear; the animosity certainly is.

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