Intel hints at potential legal troubles for Windows 10 on ARM

Myerson Windows 10
Myerson Windows 10 (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Updated June 9, 2017: Added statement from Qualcomm below.

Original Story: Intel spent most of a recent blog post celebrating the 40th anniversary of the launch of the first x86 microprocessor, but it was the path that the company chose to go down at the end of its post that has raised eyebrows. In wrapping things up, Intel fired off a warning shot at companies seeking to emulate the x86 architecture, potentially foreshadowing some legal troubles for Qualcomm and Microsoft over their efforts with Windows 10 on ARM.

From Intel:

There have been reports that some companies may try to emulate Intel's proprietary x86 ISA without Intel's authorization. Emulation is not a new technology, and Transmeta was notably the last company to claim to have produced a compatible x86 processor using emulation ("code morphing") techniques. Intel enforced patents relating to SIMD instruction set enhancements against Transmeta's x86 implementation even though it used emulation. In any event, Transmeta was not commercially successful, and it exited the microprocessor business 10 years ago.Only time will tell if new attempts to emulate Intel's x86 ISA will meet a different fate. Intel welcomes lawful competition, and we are confident that Intel's microprocessors, which have been specifically optimized to implement Intel's x86 ISA for almost four decades, will deliver amazing experiences, consistency across applications, and a full breadth of consumer offerings, full manageability and IT integration for the enterprise. However, we do not welcome unlawful infringement of our patents, and we fully expect other companies to continue to respect Intel's intellectual property rights. Strong intellectual property protections make it possible for Intel to continue to invest the enormous resources required to advance Intel's dynamic x86 ISA, and Intel will maintain its vigilance to protect its innovations and investments.

Neither Microsoft nor Qualcomm are actually mentioned by name in Intel's post, but, given the proximity to recent announcements from Microsoft concerning Windows 10 on ARM, it's hard not to form a connection. ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley reached out to Intel to clarify whether the post was directed towards Qualcomm and Microsoft's efforts, but its response isn't particularly clarifying:

Intel respects intellectual property rights and we expect others to do the same. x86 technology is both proprietary and central to our business, and we're concerned any time it appears that others may be copying it inappropriately. We will thoroughly evaluate any products that claim to emulate x86 technology, and vigorously enforce our intellectual property rights if we believe they are infringed.

Recently, at Computex, Microsoft announced that the first Windows 10 on ARM PCs will come from the likes of Lenovo, HP, and ASUS. Running on Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835, a platform typically used for smartphones, Windows 10 on ARM will be able to run full Windows and emulate full Win32 legacy applications. That's different from Microsoft's last ARM effort, Windows RT, which could only run Windows Store apps.

Compared to x86 laptops, Microsoft claims that Windows 10 on ARM devices should provide up to 50 percent better battery life, up to gigabit LTE, and four to five times longer standby times.

There's currently no specific date for Windows 10 on ARM PCs to hit the market, nor have we even seen any hardware designs just yet. However, with the implied threat of a protracted legal battle out there, it will be interesting to watch and see how this plays out over the coming months.

A Qualcomm spokesperson provided Windows Central with the following statement concerning Intel's blog post:

Given our recent announcement with ASUS, HP and Lenovo, we found the blog that one of our competitors published on June 8 very interesting. We look forward to the launch of the always connected Windows 10 PC powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Mobile PC Platform later this year. As showcased at Computex 2017 in conjunction with Microsoft, the Snapdragon 835 Mobile PC Platform brings a true always connected PC experience with support for up to Gigabit LTE connectivity and all-day battery life for sleek, thin and fanless designs. This will change the future of personal computing.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • I believe this stems from the need to meet the legality of the emulation. Rightfully any chip maker would do the same thing.
  • Microsoft should buy intel
  • That would be worse than buying Nokia
  • Intel knows it's failing to provide good quality chips at the lower end and instead of trying to come up with ARM competitor (aka having the Core M + all other chipset components priced at around $50). What Intel is doing is playing the blame game at this point cause they know they cannot win by building cheap Core M parts.
  • I see no correlation;). But only another stupid conspiracy. I would also not allow people use my technology without paying me money. Is that simple! In the same time, this is business, they need to protect their income. We do not want to see another 100.000 peoples without jobs as we saw when ms idiots destroyed NOKIA. For you, maybe being ignorant, it is ok that half the world to go broke. For many, well: is not!
  • I assume they can't build the Core M to hit such a price point. It is possible they are protecting the high price of their higher end Core processors too, but I bet it is pricey to manufacturer them.
  • Or Qualcomm
  • Market cap: Intel: 168B, Qualcomm: 84B
    Both are very expensive.
  • So they can destroy it by firing all the talent and selling it off in pieces like they did with Nokia's Mobile division...
  • They tried a few years ago
  • Not going to happen. Besides, Microsoft takes too long to get things to market. In some cases, it has been justified, but in recent times it seems as of they have let competition beat them to the punch, especially when their product has been out for longer period of time. Then they drop it or don't develop it further.
  • good example was the McLaren phone and its technologies.
  • I saw it coming!
  • I was waiting for it too. Was surprised it took this long. The day this ARM thing was announced, I was like what about intel? And here they are... :D
  • Yep... I was thinking the same thing about this killing the need for Intel. Competition is a good thing though, one would hope they learn how to.
  • Interesting article - Time will tell what the outcome is. I'd imagine MS and their partners lawyers would have all been over this though before committing to making machines and software that could be affected
  • The most likely case but Intel could still fire a shot at Microsoft, Intel knows that the winds are not blowing favourably in it's direction long term (decades). If they do try to stop the emulation then Microsoft has a simple solution 1) Create a universal binary for Win32 on Win10 lets call it .exa (executable for x86 & arm) 2) Release the means to compile software in Arm and run .exa software. There you go now any Windows application is a universal Win32 application, no need to download seperate installers. Not as ideal as x86 emulation but it would be the next best thing making it seamless over Arm specific .exe software.
  • Windows on Windows (WoW) same thing as how Microsoft make the x86 programs to run on x64 Windows. I doubt Intel dare to do anything which can make themselves leave the x64 platform too.
  • I don't think that's a good parallel. X64 is a natural extension to x86 developed by an x86 license holder. However, since Qualcomm is not the one implementing the x86 -> ARM translation, I don't think they are the ones being targetted by this announcement. In-fact, none of the hardware in the ARM space is doing this....its all done by Microsoft's API intercepting the x86 calls and translating them to compatible ARM instruction. They are also the ones with the money to fight this off without going bankrupt.   However, I don't see any way Intel comes out of this shining. Microsoft has very real capability of tilting the odds against Intel by funding and supporting AMD tuned compilers more. I bet they already do this on the XBox side of things. This is going to be real interesting to see. I am hopeful one of the editors here at WC is already pouring over the x86 agreement between Microsoft and Intel/AMD to see what the real real restrictions, if any, are here.
  • We are not talking about hardware here. It will be perfect case for Intel if Microsoft or Qualcomm is making a hardware processor that infringes their patent buy this is not the case here. You cannot inherently run a x86 program on a x64 Windows. You can do so seamlessly now is because MS using an emulation process WoW (Windows on Windows), in this case Windows 32 bits on Windows 64 bits. The same concept is on the Windows 32 bits on Windows ARM.
  • I understand we are not talking about hardware, but we also do not know what kind of licensing agreements Microsoft may have had to get into to get WOW64 running. That is why I'm hoping somebody in the editorial space is going through these agreements as publicly available.
  • If I'm not mistaken, the x86 IP was shared with AMD after a long legal battle and even then, it was only granted as non-transferrable. Meaning, no bigger company could buy AMD and dare to compete with Intel at its own game. Not to mention, even morph the x86 instruction set and its extension to something beyond what Intel considers main-stream. AMD and Intel are cross-licensing partners, which is how they got access to the X64 IP. Microsoft and Apple share a similar agreement. Overall, the odds are stacked pretty high against any company that dare cross Intel. That is the simple fact of the matter.
  • Hey mate, I would not stake so much in a bet for Microsoft. When you are desperate, you forget your guard...
  • Then Intel better do something that will give Microsoft what it wants, and to a certain extent, what we want as well
  • They already failed at that. Microsoft wanted Intel to create a cheap CPU+GPU combo that would go against the Qualcomm SD 801, 808, and 810. Microsoft pushed Intel to do this from 2013-2016. The end result is that we got overpriced Core M and still underpowered Atom parts. Intel then stopped trying to create an ARM competitor and Microsoft has no choice but to embrace ARM with Qualcomm and Samsung.
  • Atom is definitely not underpowered, and competes favorably with other mobile CPUs. The issue is energy efficiency I.e. battery life. Intel Atom chips do provide great performance for the cost otherwise. They are great in cheaper laptops and Chromebooks that have bigger batteries. They are problematic in phones, though, for example.
  • I wish that were so. My experience hasn't been very favourable with the Atom processors. I believe they are underpowered, overpriced and inefficient. Let's hope intel get some real competition like they now have in the desktop market.
  • Exactly.
  • If this is directed at Microsoft, then its time Microsoft start backing AMD.
  • Or just bought them outright. Weren't the up for sale recently?
  • I don't remember them being up for sale at all. 
  • There were at least rumors a couple of years ago.
  • Their stock price was in the dumpster, but everyone knew the buyer would have an uphill battle when it came to retaining the x86 license. I only remember seeing some junk articles next to the "10 best vacation spots in the world" kind of articles.
  • Microsoft can buy AMD but then AMD would have to stop manufacturing x86 and x64 components due to a licensing agreement for Intellectual Property of the x86 architecture. Tell me what good is that going to? Really at that point, then Intel will have no competitors in x86 and we all lose.
  • Actually... while this may have been true some years ago, I believe x64 may have made things more complicated. AMD holds several patents to x64, which Intel is licensing from AMD. If AMD stopped licensing it, Intel would be forced to stop selling x64 CPU, you know, like their whole line-up.
  • I was wondering about AMD x86 processors as well. According to Wikipedia: "The (x86 instruction set) architecture has been implemented in processors from Intel, Cyrix, AMD, VIA and many other companies." Does Intel license their "proprietary x86 ISA" to each of these other companies for their each x86 processors? If that's the case, then it seems like Microsoft and Qualcomm should also be able to work out a licensing agreement with Intel. If that is not the case, it sounds like x86 is a more broad concept that other tech companies have been free to impliment without legal repercussions for many years. Can anyone explain how AMD has been able to build their x86 processors for so long without trouble?
  • The irony here is that Intel tried and failed to create a 64 bit proprietary version (IA-64) of the x-86 instruction set which was eventually mostly abandoned in favor of x86-64 which is also known as AMD64 and was created by AMD.
  • Yes I love that little fact that most people have no knowledge of (AMD64). Honestly I don't see why we haven't completely migrated to 64 bit for all devices. Is it needed for tablets and cell phones, no but it would better for developers if they only had to code for one architecture. It might also lead to smaller devices having more ram which is never a bad thing.
  • Yes they had agreement in 70's. More on Wiki page for AMD
  • As they say, if you can't innovate, litigate. 
  • Mark my words, if Intel does file a lawsuit, it will become similar to the lawsuit between Apple and Samsung. Eventually Intel would lose customers and the x86 would die. I wouldn't be surprised if Intel and x86 doesn't exist anymore by year 2030.
  • LOL. Best comment so far!
  • Come up with a licensing model already and let's move on with our lives...
  • This is probably how it will end up. I'm sure Intel would rather Windows ran exclusively on x86, but as long as MS shares a cut of the action for the Windows on ARM, all will be well. After all, Microsoft is in the patent-holder position of this dilemma when it comes to smartphones and knows a thing or two about making it worthwhile for patent holders to license profitably.
  • I agree. This will be the eventual out-come after a few years of legal sabre rattling. This may be Intel's way of subtlety bringing to the public a reminder that someone will owe them money.
  • I don't see how Microsft would not fight this to the max. Which will be a huge mistake on Intel part. It would either mark are public knowlege x86 architecture opening the fload gate for other x86 CPU manufcatures,. Or push the legality in emulation (which mean other CPU manufcature might embeded a hardware level emulation). If Microosft backs out, then Microsoft will not survive long. They need Windows 10 for ARM for low cost PC, and penetrate on the side mobile platform.(Surface Phone/Mobile). If Intel is smart they would close their eye by making some arrangement with Microsoft, like charge 1$ in total for allowing MS to do this. This keeps it legal arrangement, and Intel doesn't risk loosing anything. Intel is not doing so hot these days... they failed at penetrating the low cost PC, they failed penetrating low powered systems (phones and thin tablets), AMD is bringing Intel down. And looking at the coming up Intel i9 series CPU (yes, i9) and chipset, you can see that it is a huge mind ****, or panic decision making.
  • I agree, since they can't innovate at this time they are trying to stop other companies from innovating! This can only go down as a big mistake in Intels history AFAIK
  • I thought it so funny when I read the sentence in your comment "If Intel is smart they would close their eye by making some arrangement with Microsoft, like charge 1$ in total for allowing MS to do this..." Like why would Intel write an agreement so that Microsoft only has to pay $1 in damages???
  • 1- Microsoft gets to sell Windows 10 for ARM at no added cost than planned. Making Microsoft not interested to the gight as the fee for the permission to use Intel's IP is pocket lint. 2- In the U.S, if I am not mistaken, if you do a contract of such nature, money needs to be exchanged, and the minimum is 1$. Doing such agreement, would allow Intel to do an exception. Meaning, Microsoft does its thing, Intel saves money by not going to court (this would be a huge case, where both companies will fight hard), and they keep their intellectual properties, and avoids having to deal with new competition that will come via using their technology or the use of hardware/software emulation. Such agreement wouls results that Intel and Microsoft are both happy. Intel won't have the biggest smile in their face, but at least they can focus on fighting ARM based CPUs only in the PC space, which would, perhaps, be able to enter the mobile space and have intresting offerings. If Intel looses, then expect: AppliedMicro, Broadcom, Cavium, Nvidia, Qualcomm, and Samsung to join the party in full force. Expect CPU manufcatures using MIPS architecture to try and push Microosft for Windows support, and they go in. With ARM making its way to low end and mid range buisness class PC market, and ARM already penetrating server envirement, Intel would disapears. All in all, and my point, is that Intel should play its card VERY carefully. Going to court would only hurt them.
  • Basically, your argument is Intel is not doing that great so they should throw possible license fees out the window?! That doesn't make sense. They should get all the money they can from their x86 patents. There is nothing wrong with that.
  • Is this about hardware patent or software patent?
    How long can someone own their patent?
    I mean I know that Nintendo patent for NES already expired and that's why now there's a lot of NES clone
  • Ah one more thing about emulator
    When Sony sue PS1 emulator over patent infringement Sony lost CMIIW
  • Treba i tom Intelu malo jebati mater raspalu.
  • MS has a big cash horde. Time to buy Intel off. It's very clear that the advantages that W10 gets on an ARM, Intel can't provide it. There's no reason why MS should stick with it. X86 may be Intel's egg, but applications need a OS to run. So if there are millions of X86 applications, if no OS is present, they are as good as dead. Intel needs to think about that. Without OS, which MS created, Intel is pretty jobless.
  • Yeah, they spent 28 and some odd billion on ****** business facebook...should have put that money towards buying out intel!  Intel can make Linux computer and MacOS computer the reality is that MS needs Intel more than intel needs MS.  Think about it....if intel blocks MS,  MS does not get any devices out in the Market,  people start buying other devices....simple.   
  • Microsoft has the perpetual x86 license on AMD. if they buy them
  • If MS bought AMD they loose the right to x86.
  • Where did you get thet info?   I assume if Intel says a sale of AMD  to Microsoft would void their patent sharing agreement, including  x86, wouldn't that also posibly void Intel's right to use x86-64/AMD64 in this imaginary scenario?  This is AMD based tech,  64 bit instruction set, and obviously very important to Intel and the functioning of all x64 chips as their own attempt IA64 did not take root.  I doubt Intel and AMD would void their mutally assured destruction pact.  I do think if Microsoft is backed into a corner would buy AMD to get x86 rights and avoid being bullied by Intel over this this Qualcom ARM and Windows emulation issue. 
  • It's a well known part of the agreement Intel has with AMD over x86: " Subject to the terms of, and as further set forth in, Sections 5.2(d) and 5.2(e), this Agreement shall automatically terminate as a whole upon the consummation of a Change of Control of either Party."
  • exactly!
  • yeah why can't people understand that buying AMD or Intel is not the right thing to do. plus you could lose any patent rights to the x86 architecture.
  • If Intel blocks MS the devices that they couldn't bring to market would be Windows on ARM devices not regular PCs right?
  • Intel is in losses and cannot even make an ARM competitor. As commented above, Intel tried to do that 2013-2016 and failed miserably. Microsoft buying either AMD or Intel would be a huge loss and unnecessary.
  • Sounds petty to me. They are just jeoulous that they lost the mobile race
  • Intel is totally butt hurt.
  • No more petty than Microsoft going after Android manufacturers to the tune of $billions. Plus Intel will probably go after OEMs that ship ARM devices with Windows installed, and most of them are small and would probably fold rather than fight it out.
  • yeah but it could turn into a class action multi-plex lawsuit. It would be 20+ companies against Intel, IBM. AMD will be that dude that just sits around and watches the fight.
  • A little different in that Microsoft was actually vigorously competing in the market. Intel announced a couple of years ago that they gave up on mobile Atom processors. I would have more sympathy for Intel if they hadn't completely given up and abandoned the mobile industry.
  • Us Windows smart phone Fan/Users are sad about this because to get the Smartphone / Pocket PC we want Intel CPU's no longer can make this possiable Intel used to make mibile CPU"s that could be used on a smart phone. in fact 4 smart phone were sold in the market place that used them.Intel stopped making these smart phone CPU's and Microsoft had to stop the intel CPU Surface Smartphone device and had to make X86 Emuation siftware to Put Windows On ARMS CPU's that can make an Smartphone / Pocket PC possable and make cheaper PC's forthe Public possiable. hoprfully Microsoft and intel can get some deals made to make this threat a non issue
  • It sounds like Intel is looking for their pound of flesh/toll on every Windows on ARM device sold, which is fine, if they own the x86 emulation patent. But still, time has not looked kindly upon technology companies who try to thwart forward progress and competition with lawsuits.   The reason Microsoft has to use ARM based processors is because Intel's chips can't really be used in mobile devices, as we know them today. Heck, didn't Intel just full out cancel production of the closest thing that they had to a mobile chip?
  • "But still, time has not looked kindly upon technology companies who try to thwart forward progress and competition with lawsuits."   So what does this say about Microsoft's patent lawsuits against Android phone manufacturers?
  • yep samething happened to ARM processors and other types of architectures in the 1980s-1990s is going to happen with Intel vs MSFT
  • Yes Johnny,  they did. Maybe beacuse they saw this coming and wanted to cash in more!  
  • Microsoft has a right to expand its business and if Intel doesn't want to step up to the plate and deliver the necessary chips required then they need to stop barking and go away with their tales between their legs.
  • Microsoft should be able a steal IP from other companies? Interesting argument.
  • huh? How did you come to the conclusion that they are stealing IP? There isn't even a legal case yet.
  • Intel is making the claim, true or not. The OP isn't assuming it is a false claim either.
  • Nevermind, I misread your first response.
  • How would you even steal Intellectual Property (IP)??? I would like to hear your crazy ideas.
  • By implementing it in a product without a licensing agreement with the patent holder. Remember Samsung vs Apple? Did you really ask that?
  • I lol'd.
  • The response from Qualcomm seems very confident. I'm sure this is something they thought of and are ready to deal with.
  • Or expect Microsoft to be the ones to deal with it.
  • Well naturally if Intel is going to fight this out, they will drag Samsung and Qualcomm into this (both making ARM)
  • The response from Qualcomm seems very confident. I'm sure this is something they thought of and are ready to deal with.
  • This is very immature of Intel to make this so public. They would look less like a crybaby if they would approach MS and Qualcomm behind the publics eyes with these patent issues.
  • Intel has been immature for decades now. I don't think they are going to grow up anytime soon. There is a reason I usually don't trust Intel.
  • The last time Intel was actually nice to people was back in the days of Pentium 4 and Intel Celeron computers. Everything has been downhill from there.
  • Does anyone really believe that Microsoft and Qualcomm have already thought of this possibility and developed plans? Win10 on ARM is such a crucial link in MS plans it would be incredibly stupid of them to not have this covered.
  • Agreed. I think at best, this is going to go the way of the Java/Android case where oracle just ended up getting some money for its ZERO contribution.
  • One part is this Windows 10 S, if the public got on board would allow Microsoft to discontinue the x86 architecture and just keep x64 for special groups of people (professionals, gamers, etc.) Of course the x64 architecture is designed by AMD and Microsoft has really great relationships with AMD.
  • Yes. But this is Microsoft we're talking about.
  • Dear Intel, Look up Oracle v. Google before you throw away whatever future you still have.
  • Jajay cual es el miedo
  • So its a legal showdown between intel and QUALCOMM.........Exciting.... :)
  • More likely to be Intel & Microsoft.
  • It's the 40th anniversary of x86, 20 years past the life of a patent. Am I misunderstanding something?
  • Yes, but when did they patent the emulation? That's what I gathered they were saying, is that they own the patent to emulation. I think that's the reason AMD can exist because they are not emulating x86.
  • AMD can exist because they used to be the secondary manufacturer of the original x86 Intel chips. They won the cross-license as part of a long legal battle.
  • What you are missing is the specifics of what is said in the Intel quote. They didn't sue Transmeta over general X86 emulation, but over emulation of the SIMD extensions to X86.  SSE (Intel's implementation of SIMD) first came out in 1999, followed by SSE2, 3, and 4. There is still plenty of life in the SSE related patents.
  • This article is entirely over my head.  darn
  • Intel and AMD created and speak English. Qualcomm speaks chinese. Microsoft came up with a way to translating English to Chinese and back. Intel is complaining thet they own English and nobody has the right to use it in anyway unless they say its ok, even if nobody is creating new english words or butchering the language.
  • So how do Intel and AMD get along? Thanks for the dumbed down explanation.. :)
  • because Intel speaks English (United States), and AMD speaks English (UK) as in same architecture used but targeted to different market segments:
    - Intel does mid-range and high end laptops, computers, and servers
    - AMD does low-end laptops, game consoles, gaming computers, and mobile devices.
  • This is definitely a wrong explanation. AMD does NOT relegate itself to low-end by choice. It suffered an architectural disadvantage (of its own doing) with the bulldozer architecture. But I remember the Athlon/Phenom performance supperiority over the Intel counterparts around 2005 very well. They were the processors of choice for all high performance desktop rigs. The K7 was the bees knees. They were however never really able to break much into the laptop space due to Intel's power efficiency superiority stemming from their manufacturing superiority and other innovations.
  • His explanation is pretty much wrong. The situation is a lot more complicated than that.  
  • @noirsoft Not sure who you are replying to, but I think the explanation is about as simple as it gets without delving into the complicated ins and outs of the Intel vs AMD battle from the late 90's and early 2000's.
  • AMD was the secondary supply of x86 processors for the IBM PC. When Intel started going it alone and AMD tried replicating or improving on its own, a long legal battle ensued as to whether AMD had the right to do it and if Intel had the right to stop it. After fighting a VERY bitter battle, they both agreed to cross-licensing terms that allowed each of them to use the other's innovations. I'm not sure about the exact terms.    So in other words, they only get along because its the only sustainable outcome from the legal battle. 
  • not a good analogy. Intel is not claiming to own "English" Intel is claiming to own something that they did invent and thus do actually own. AMD x64 is similarly not "Engligh" but an extension to it, and AMD owns only those extentions. The analogy completely breaks down if you try to make it accurate. Instead, I will try to just point out the situation in simpole terms. Intel created X86 for 32-bit programs. They do own this completely. They also created IA64 for 64 bit programs, but that failed. classic Win32 programs written in C or similar languages become a combination of raw X86 instructions and calls to the Windows libraries. AMD created X64 which runs 64-bit programs, but is compatible with X86 based 32 bit programs. Then there is ARM which can run 64 bit programs, but is completely incompatible with x86 or x64. Win10 on ARM will have Windows itself and UWP programs natively running on ARM. But, it will also run older Win32 programs originally made for x86 or x64 via emulation. The Windows routines will be in ARM, but the non-WIndows parts will be emulated. Note also that the statement from Intel referred specifically to patents related to SIMD, which is an extension to the X86 set of commands, and not part of the core instruction set. It appears from that that there is no legal hurdle to emulating basic X86, only to emulating certain extensions to the original set of instructions. I do not believe it is currently known by the general public whether Microsoft's WOA technology conflicts with those patents.
  • I really don't think this was the kind of explanation he was looking for. But thx for the trip down memory lane.
  • Sigh, Intel could have just quietly worked out a reasonable licensing model. My guess is that they have been trying to ask for a ridiculous licensing fee. This is definitely not the time to not get on board for Intel. Change is coming pretty fast for the entire industry.
  • Well legacy win32 apps still belong to MS tho so they can play it there XD
  • Expect $150 fee to go to intel for each Windows 10 on ARM device sold. Bang goes cheap Windows 10 on ARM devices.
  • Shots fired!
  • Do what would intel do if MS started to optimize windows 10 for AMD processors and put more support behind AMD.  There are more than one way to play this game.
  • The problem is intel have a stranglehold on the market for Win32. They were able to see off DEC Alpha and MIPS in the early days of Windows NT. Short of MS recompiling all the x86 applications to run on ARM I am not sure what they can do.
  • good point
  • Microsoft is emulating Windows itself, nothng to do with the hardware. It is called WoW (Windows on Windows), which is used in the case of x64 Windows, where they emulate a x86 Windows to run the programs. The same thing WoW ARM, which they explained in a slide during the presentation of WoARM.
  • Exactly, there's a big difference between emulating win32 vs emulating x86.
  • Does not matter how often Windows Central is wrongly claiming that Win32 is emulated - it is in fact the x86 ISA which is emulated. Win32 does not need to be emulated as it is compiled natively on Windows on ARM.
  • yeah, but the third party application is actually compiled for x86 thus the need for WoARM to emulate x86 machinecode to run on W10 for ARM
  • Could be great for UWP.... Make a background deal with intel let the arm version hit critical market share mass and then attack.... Forcing all the win32 dev to move to UWP fast if they don't want to lose ground on that segment 😈
  • You dont have to move to UWP for that. Developers just have to compile their Win32 apps for ARM. 
  • If they release this intel would have to prove infringement it will be far better for all if they also try to create a similar processor, they need to innovate.
  • I bet whatever x86/x64 interpreter Microsoft has for running Win32 on ARM is a temporary holdover for a just-in-time x86/x64 to ARM compiler, similar to what already happens with .NET programs. No emulation means faster execution and a HLT (halt instruction) inserted into Intel's potential lawsuit.
  • but Microsoft IS NOT emulating Windows 10 on ARM.
  • I'm not saying Win 10 is emulated, because that has clearly been compiled for ARM. I am only suggesting that Microsoft could be headed toward treating x86/64 code as bytecode that is JIT-compiled to ARM, just as is done with .NET applications today.
  • Every modern emulation engine these days are using dynamic recompilation (aka just-in-time). No way Microsoft would use an interpreter, as this would be awfully slow.
  • MS should switch all of its hardware to Ryzen-based CPUs, if Intel wants to really play hardball on this stuff. Same for the other OEMs; if they won't allow competition from ARM, go the x86 route and punish Intel that way.
  • Windows 10 on ARM will differ significantly from Windows 10 on the current platform.  There will forever be a market for Intel chipsets but as Apple has demonstrated there is a much larger market than anyone expected for tablets that don't need the power of the traditional architecture.
  • IS it x86 emulation or ONLY win32 emulation...are they completely dependent on each other? 👀
  • Intel is stuck up on the x86 architecture IP. Win32 can technically be compiled on x64 architecture (which conveniently belongs to AMD)
  • It _IS_ x86 emulation, as Win32 does not need to be emulated. Win32 is just compiled for ARM on Windows for ARM.
  • Intel is history. They should innovate and beat Qualcomm in tech, or just shut up.
  • Hahaha Intel vs Windows on ARM... That's cute 😁
  • Given Intel's stranglehold on the PC market, I'm all for introducing more competitors into the CPU market. Microsoft would be wise to fight Intel on this. Be assured if Intel gets to dictate a licensing fee, they will give themselves a price advantage.
  • what do you mean?!?
  • Looking at the information Microsoft provided at Build 2017, there seems to be very little x86 hardware emulation going on, but rather x86 to ARM64 translation for Win32 API calls, which seems very different to what Intel is talking about regarding Transmeta. See slides around 6:25 into the video:  
  • Yeah, I think the actual software emulation layer is quite small, and its unlikely it infringes on IP
  • Oh dear, what are you doing with the 99% of x86 instructions, which are not Win32 API calls? Essentially you need both, full x86 emulation + API translation. The later you only need if your application is x86 but the APi is already implemented native ARM - which is the case for Windows on ARM.
  • F*** Intel. Move your ass. Make coreM as cheap as ARM.
  • Intel would only do that as last resort. And even when they do 5 years down the road, they will be beaten up and pushed out of the industry,
  • Interesting arm actually isn't cheap. Its charged via an unusual model that relates to the retail price of the device. This is why apple has refused to pay 2 billion in fees and is taking QUALCOMM to court. If they win, qualcomm will lose the ability to charge this way, and become more expensive than intel chips. If QUALCOMM wins apple will lose the ability to import iphones into the US, and lose billions in revenue.
  • These companies can't give a simple yes or no answer. Sometimes(many times) that suffices.
  • Intel please consider this as a threat and create new powerful chips rather than making it slightly efficiency. Consider apple chipsets now. Look at the single core performance from a9 chip to a10 chip.
  • Someone explain this in idiot's terms...
  • I don't think intel wants to fight it and thats why the public warning. Else why would they give them time to prepare. Most likely they'll settle, all they want is a share of the pie.
  • So this seems like a typical move to get a settlement. Fighting it in court would result on intel ruining its own deal in terms of windows on windows (32 bit emulation in 64 bit Windows). However, I can see why MSFT wouldn't want to settle - part of the aim is cheap devices. Intel is supposedly working on its own ARM chips, maybe they'd accept the compromise of using those, IF they are good enough. Otherwise this could end up being a game of chicken with some bad consequences for all involved
  • I am not sure how this is going to be a problem for Qualcomm. WOW in WOA is something that Microsoft is doing on the software side. Apple did the same thing with Rosetta when they moved from PPC to x86.
  • Yes, but this move was in Intels favor.
  • Why can't Intel just make some ARM chips? or buy an ARM company?
  • Duh... gee, why can't Intel just make some ARM chips... I wonder why... Hmm could it be... because THAT is just why Intel is now talking about this? ARM has their designs protected, as has Intel their x86 architecture. AMD uses parts of that and licensed that. In the past, up to the 486 CPU's, the market was full of also-producers, but with the Pentium, Intel at least could trademark a CPU. But the architecture has been patented and such. ARM/Microsoft can't just waltz in with x86 emulation. If emulation wasn't a biggy, duh, just put an Android emulator on Windows Mobile and hey presto, the whole Playstore is accessible on Windows Mobile, app-gap gone.
  • Google will block the Play Store on Windows without it's own apps being front and centre.
  • I don't understand Intel, do they want a slice🍕 of the mobile market share or they want MSFT & Qualcomm to pay some 💰💰. Hehehe 😀 Qualcomm Spokes man came out and pose like they don't care. I want some popcorn 🍿 and a beer 🍺 and see how this unfold. Companies fighting over #Microprocessor 😀😂
  • Intel has not introduced nothing interesting in the last decade, still the same old crap they are 20 years behind. I remember they introduced hardware video decoding in their motherboards ages after video cards. And now they want to stop innovation. Intel should be relegated to the server market. Also even if there are many win32 apps, in the long run the Windows strategy is still the same, uwp apps running on any architecture. So even without x86 emulation Windows on ARM is gonna happen and that's what matters.
  • Really? Tell me, how are all those Wintel programs, x86 software gonna work on a platform that is not able to fully emulate that? Hardware dictates how software must be written, so to emulate that, you are utilizing that software principle as well. If you think just ditching the whole Wintel/x86 principle is easy, it would have happened long ago when ARM first produced mobile CPU's.
  • when you have all the UWP apps coming from the Windows Store, majority of them will not need Win32 APIs anymore so no need for x86 emulation.
  • There is a video on Channel 9, explaining how it all works. TBH, I have no idea, if the dynamic patching shown there qualifies as an emulator. This step is not needed, if apps are compiled for ARM. Which is why Win32 calls should be already native on ARM. Plus, any app written in .NET should be safe to run, because exactly this is what it was designed to do.
  • Without x86 emulation, Windows On Arm is just Windows RT again.
  • Intel were unable to deliver a chipset suitable for MS needs and instead canceled future development. That decision forced MS to build full Windows for ARM because MS need to deliver their OS on mobile devices while not doing another RT. This made MS even more dependent on their non Win32 store, and equally more committed in building the UWP ecosystem further. This move is dangerous for Intel.  
  • Emulate win32 on ARM and emulate x86 on ARM are two quite different things.
  • Intel looking like they feel very threatened. In all fairness​ they could lose the biggest chunk of their sales.
  • Intel is starting to feel the pressure from AMD and Qualcomm, but instead of innovating they turn to potential legal hissy fits to keep their market share. Guess we'll see how it goes then.
  • Then emulate AMD64.
    This is an indication that relation between Microsoft and intel are at an all time low.
    Only Google becomes the winner here.
  • Our reaction should be not to purchase a single Intel bases mobo or system. Then Microsoft should scream "monopoly" and Qualcomm should yell "AMD, LET'S MERGE".
  • Step 1: Emulate AMD64 Architecture Step 2: Use AMD64's X86 backdoor, since AMD64 has a X86 emulator, Microsoft can totally get away with it...