December 22, 2010, 1:57 PM — It's big news this week that Microsoft may be introducing a version of Windows that runs on processors from ARM -- which rules the tablet market -- rather than longtime partner Intel.
Wintel is an empire -- some say a dictatorship -- but that doesn't mean Microsoft has to be tied to the hardware side of it.
Gartner and IDC both changed their projections on how many PCs they expect will sell next year on the assumption tablets will eat as much as a third of new PC sales, and will make up as much as 10 percent of the total installed base of PCs by 2014.
PC hardware design is moving away from Wintel, and Microsoft has to respond.
The whole IT world has been sneaking away from Microsoft for years -- to Web apps and smartphones and tablets and open source and freeware and anything else it can find.
Tablets and smartphones -- which will merge into the same device within a very few years, but with the option of connecting to a larger screen -- are the next big step. Microsoft is really slow responding to the change in form factor, as it's been slow to respond to a lot of things recently.
Former chief software architect Ray Ozzie made the post-PC era the point of his exit memo on leaving Microsoft in October.
If Microsoft demos a version of Windows for ARM processors at CES in January, that will only show that Ozzie had some impact even before he left, and that someone kept the project going after he cleaned out his cubicle.