LONDON – The share price of ARM Holdings plc soared on Wednesday (Dec. 22) on reports that Microsoft Corp. will use the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January 2011 to demonstrate a version of its Windows operating system that will run on processors designed by the U.K. firm.
It is believed the version will retain backwards compatibility with the x86 architecture of Intel but the ability to run on cores from ARM (Cambridge England) sent the IP licensor's share price soaring. It was trading at 438 pence on the London Stock Exchange at 10.00am up 8.5 percent on the day.
Overnight a number of reports on Microsoft's Windows plans for the CES show emerged although one report said the product may not debut for another two years. A report from Bloomberg referenced two un-named sources saying that the Windows software would be tailored to battery-powered devices such as tablet computers and other handhelds. A Wall Street Journal report linked the ARM compatibility with Windows 8, the next version of the operating system that is not due to be available until 2012.
If it can come sooner rather than later it would allow Microsoft to attack in the mobile devices space where it has lost ground to Apple and Google. "They’ve got to come back with a product that’s better than 'me too' and is equal if not better in features," the report quoted analyst Robert Breza of RBC Capital Markets as saying.
The move was expected. In July 2010 Microsoft announced had taken an architectural license agreement with ARM giving the software giant access to the ARM processor architecture and the freedom to design its own ARM chips. Details of the agreement were not provided.