Microsoft has given Intel the PR equivalent of a smack on the wrist, after Intel SVP Renee James revealed secret Windows 8 details apparently without permission. James had suggested that there would in fact be four different versions of Windows 8 for ARM processors, each incapable of running either legacy x86 apps or apps intended for the other versions. That drew Windows President Steven Sinofsky from his lair, to slap down James' remarks as "factually inaccurate and unfortunately misleading."
"Intel’s statements during yesterday’s Intel Investor Meeting about Microsoft’s plans for the next version of Windows were factually inaccurate and unfortunately misleading. From the first demonstrations of Windows on SoC, we have been clear about our goals and have emphasized that we are at the technology demonstration stage. As such, we have no further details or information at this time." Microsoft
Unfortunately, the statement Microsoft gave to Business Insider didn't go into any specifics as to which parts, exactly, of the Intel SVP's statements were wrong. That could mean there aren't four Windows 8 ARM builds, that there are more than four, that they are in fact backward-compatible or perhaps compatible with apps for other ARM versions, or something else. Of course, it's in Intel's best interest to plant some seeds of confusion, since it would obviously rather OEMs stick with its own x86 processors than look to ARM chips instead.
More comprehensive information is likely to be revealed at Microsoft's developer conference this coming September, but we can't help but think that the company does itself few favors by leaving coders in the dark about this. If Microsoft really does want to stand a chance taking on tablets and other mobile devices running ARM chips, then it needs to be building developer support sooner rather than later.