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Microsoft Corporation (MSFT)’s Windows Blue(s)

Apparently oblivious to hardware considerations, Covert doesn’t understand the implications of the convergence he describes.  Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has already done the best job they could of converging Windows 8/RT/Phone given that Windows 8 runs on Intel processors and RT and Phone run on ARM processors.  The only way to produce further convergence would be to move to a single processor platform.  For a number of reasons, it wouldn’t be feasible to move to an all-ARM architecture, so the only direction Microsoft can go is to an all-Intel architecture.  Since Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) makes Atom x86 chips for mobile phones as well as tablets, convergence to all-Intel is perfectly doable.

The rumor really resonated with me since I’ve been predicting/advocating just such a move since I wrote “Why Microsoft Needs Intel’s Haswell CPU.” As a developer contemplating a Windows 8 project, I would like nothing better than to see this happen.  A converged platform would be much more attractive to developers in general.  Do I believe the rumor?  I’m sure that Microsoft has been looking at the feasibility of moving its Windows Phone platform to Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC).  I don’t doubt that demo projects are already under way.  Companies like Microsoft, Google and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) always have these kinds of R&D projects going.  Many will never see the light of day.  For the time being, I believe that an Intel-based Windows phone remains decisionable.

No cause for celebration

For Microsoft investors, such a move would be no cause for celebration, since it would mean that Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) was throwing in the towel on its Windows on ARM initiatives. Furthermore, existing Windows RT and Windows Phone 8 customers would be left out in the cold as developers curtail ARM related activities, and Microsoft makes clear that it will support the platforms for only a finite period of time.

Instead of fantasizing about crushing Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Microsoft investors need to take a very clear-eyed look at the current state of the company, with especial focus on what must be done to repair the damage done to its valuable Windows franchise.  A converged platform is no guarantee of success, either for Windows phones, tablets or PCs.  It’s clear that the tile-based Metro interface, which is a feature of all three platforms, is having trouble gaining consumer acceptance.  Abandoning pop-up menus, windowed apps, and the desktop weren’t necessary to implement a touch-screen interface for PCs, and I believe they need to be reintegrated into Windows.  But whatever Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) does, the next Windows itself needs to become a fully integrated and consistent operating system.

Mark Hibben has a position in Apple. The Motley Fool recommends Apple and Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC). The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Intel, and Microsoft.

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