In a recent interview, Apple’s VP of software engineering, Craig Federighi, revealed that Microsoft’s ARM version of its Windows operating system should be able to run on the new Apple M1 chip natively, but the possibility of Windows running on a MacBook would “really be up to Microsoft.”
Federighi raised the remarkable possibility in an interview with Ars Technica about the new Apple silicon, which has just been introduced on the latest MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac Mini.
Microsoft and Apple have spent the better part of three decades dealing with compatibility issues, but the prospect of Windows running on a new M1-powered MacBook makes perfect sense.
Microsoft has already developed a version of Windows 10 for ARM, and the Windows-on-ARM project has made considerable strides in recent years – though there are still plenty of shortcomings at the moment that have yet to be ironed out.
At it’s core though, ARM is ARM, whether it’s in the Lenovo Flex 5G or the new MacBook Air, so Windows should have no problem running on Apple’s new Hardware.
The only question, as 9to5Mac points out, is whether Microsoft will allow it to happen. Microsoft’s current license for Windows 10-on-ARM doesn’t allow it to be used on Apple machines since they aren’t preinstalled on them and the company has been rather quiet when asked about running Windows in Boot Camp mode on an Apple system.
Windows on a Mac? Don’t hold your breath
Whether the issue comes down to the bitterness of the long-time rivalry or some technical reasons likely pale in comparison to the financial implications of running Windows 10 on a MacBook.
After staying out of the hardware game for a long time – apparently learning its lesson with the Zune – Microsoft has been muscling its way into the hardware space with their very popular Microsoft Surface line of products.
An obvious competitor to the MacBook line from Apple, Microsoft is ironically in the same place that Apple was back in the 90s when Bill Gates outmaneuvered Steve Jobs to make Microsoft Windows the dominant operating system in the personal computer marketplace by licensing it out to third-party PC manufacturers.
Microsoft also clearly has plans for ARM as well, especially with the impressive performance gains and power efficiency achieved by the M1. It is much more likely to want to replicate Apple’s success in its own hardware rather than piggy back off Apple’s products with some kind of licensing deal.