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Apple: Running Windows on M1 Macs is up to Microsoft

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Apple states that running Windows 10 on your Macs with Apple M1 CPUs is dependent on Microsoft.

Craig Federighi, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering, stated in an interview that the company will provide x86 emulation for macOS programs developed for x86 CPUs, but will not offer a version of BootCamp with x86 emulation to allow Windows 10 to run on Macs with its Apple M1 CPU. This is because Microsoft has everything it needs to make Windows 10 for ARM run natively on SoCs like the Apple M1.

He said, “That’s up to Microsoft. We have the basic technologies to make them do it, to run their version of Windows ARM, which in turn, of course, supports x86 user-mode applications. But that’s a decision that Microsoft has to make, to license that technology so that users can use Windows on these Macs. Macs are certainly very capable of doing that.”

What is needed for installing and running Windows on M1 Macs?

To make Macs with Apple M1 processors offer the same features and performance in Windows 10 and MacOS, Microsoft will need to make Apple’s IP, including the GPU, neural engine, and special purpose accelerators, work in Windows. And this requires compatible APIs and drivers.

Apple macOS uses only the Metal API for graphics processors, so Apple GPUs are developed with Metal in mind. There are several ways to make Apple GPUs work in Windows, but at present it is not clear what Microsoft can do with Apple hardware in terms of APIs and drivers. Another aspect to consider is how Apple’s M1s and their successors will work in Windows.

Preliminary results reveal that the latest Macs based on the Apple M1 can beat their x86 rivals, albeit in macOS and certain applications/workloads specifically optimized to take advantage of everything this silicon has to offer, but it’s just a matter of time before everything is natively supported and ARM masters x86.

What would Microsoft gain by allowing M1 Macs to run Windows?

Assuming that Microsoft has everything it needs to make Windows 10 ARM run natively on the latest Macs with an ARM CPU, the question is what does the software giant gain by allowing its operating system to run on Apple hardware?

Apple controls about 10% of the PC market and the percentage of Mac users who need Windows is barely significant, so from a volume perspective, Microsoft hardly gains anything, although it will have to make great strides in Windows 10 ARM now thinking of other companies that will seek to tackle Apple with the Windows ecosystem.

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