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Windows for ARM Will Be Windows RT

The designation Windows 8 is reserved for x86/64 widgets run by Intel and AMD chips

When Windows on ARM (WOA) finally hits the market it's going to be called Windows RT, not Windows 8.

The designation Windows 8 is reserved for x86/64 widgets run by Intel and AMD chips.

The decision complicates promotion and one can easily imagine Intel insisting on profiting from whatever momentum has built up for the coming of Windows 8.

But the branding decision is more likely Microsoft's own so it can make it clear that Windows RT isn't backwards-compatible like Windows 8 - it's still going to be an educational hurdle for some people - and something of a new start for Microsoft.

With Windows RT Microsoft isn't dragging around a chain like Marley's ghost - at least not one with as many links as it otherwise does.

Microsoft suggested there might be a new brand in February.

It shouldn't matter all that much to the market - so long as it's "Windows" - since the only way people will be able to get RT is bundled in a shiny new slate or newfangled PC.

There will only be one version of the still-mysterious OS running on all the anticipated widgets Microsoft has presumably lined up and Microsoft reiterated the other day that "Windows RT will include touch-optimized desktop versions of the new Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote," which would seem to be all people really care about anyway.

Microsoft's blog announcement then goes to say that "For new apps, the focus for Windows RT is development on the new Windows runtime, or WinRT, which we unveiled in September and forms the foundation of a new generation of cloud-enabled, touch-enabled web-connected apps of all kinds." Guess that's why they're calling it RT.

There'll be two editions for the x86/64 PCs and tablets: Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro, both 32- and 64-bit, that support a touch screen and a keyboard and mouse (switchable back and forth at any time, mind you) plus all the cuddly sharing currently popular.

They'll include an updated Windows Explorer, Task Manager, better multi-monitor support and the ability to switch languages on the fly, a feature that was previously available only in Enterprise/Ultimate editions of Windows.

China and a small set of unidentified emerging markets, however, will have to stumble along with local language-only editions of Windows 8.

Windows 8 Pro will include features for encryption, virtualization, PC management and domain connectivity and large accounts with Software Assurance agreements will get what's called Windows 8 Enterprise, which is Windows Pro with features for PC management and deployment, advanced security, virtualization, new mobility scenarios and such like.

There's still no word on pricing of course.

Windows RT and Windows 8 are supposed to be pretty look-a-like in functionality. As part of its announcement Microsoft hung up a long but not exhaustive chart ticking off all their similarities.


More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at) or paperboy(at), and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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