The Future of Computing: Will MICROSOFT and Arm Dominate the PC Market by 2029?

In an Apple April Fools’ joke worthy of satire, the tech press is praising Arm Holdings’ CEO Rene Haas’ prediction that Arm chips will power at least 50 per cent of the PC market by 2029. MICROSOFT teams up with Qualcomm for an Arm revolution, ratcheting up Arm Holdings’ predictions. Say what? What is the Arm revolution? Is it really happening? And if not, what is the company thinking? A lot is at stake. This story will reveal why.

A New Era for PCs: MICROSOFT's Bet on Arm

So this MICROSOFT partnership represents an important strategic turning point in the PC space, and a sign of MICROSOFT’s commitment to change the monoculture now dominated by x86 architectures. With Windows 11 on Arm delivering an experience that is increasingly tantalising, especially with MICROSOFT’s own commitment through development and support, the writing is clearly on the wall, and Arm is well-positioned to overtake the throne to lead the Windows world.

Arm's Growing Footprint in the PC Market

That near-miss appeared to be nothing more than a tiny ripple on the vast ocean of the PC market, but it has rapidly grown into a major wave as Arm’s ecosystem, backed by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite and X Plus SoCs, demonstrates what modern Arm-based chips can do. MICROSOFT’s strong support and investment in development tools such as Visual Studio and .NET 6 with Arm compatibility leave the platform for Arm’s expansion more solid than ever before.

MICROSOFT's Role in Arm's Ascent

MICROSOFT’s latest try is hardly the company’s first: there was Windows RT, which was pretty much a failure, but now Windows 10 (and now Windows 11) on Arm is working at least towards MICROSOFT’s vision of this compatible, efficient, and ultimately powerful Arm-based PC world. Without this dogged determination, from MICROSOFT in particular, the PC world as we know it could never break its x86 reliance and usher in a brave new world of computing.

Challenges and Opportunities Ahead

Such is the rosy picture, at least. Reality falls short. It’ll take years for Arm to migrate to the PC: remember, we’re talking about the same kind of slow, steady swings that we’ve grown accustomed to with tech transition timelines. And, of course, Arm isn’t exactly finding a market devoid of x86 titans unwilling to stand still. New chips and new architectures, and even new chips with AI built in, are only going to further complicate the situation.

MICROSOFT's Strategic Advancements: A Catalyst for Change

One of those is MICROSOFT’s most significant move towards mainstream Arm support yet: the development of an x86 to Arm compatibility layer for a new version of Windows 11. They are not simply laying the groundwork for Arm to have a mainstream life – they are lighting the fuse. The biggest hurdle in Arm’s quest for mainstream love is software.

The Roadmap to 2029: MICROSOFT and Arm's Shared Vision

A 50 per cent market share by 2029 is a leap of faith, but the synergy of MICROSOFT’s software expertise and Arm’s chip innovation gives every reason to believe that Arm could reshape the PC market. As technological advances drive us to more energy-efficient and faster hardware, Arm’s footprint in the PC market should only increase. MICROSOFT’s support could be the missing piece to enable Arm to revolutionise the PC market.

The Endgame: Embracing the Next Generation of PCs

As Arm starts to power nearly all PCs, the implications are immense. Its energy efficiency and its potential to enable new computing capabilities could usher in an era of innovation and user experience the likes of which we’ve never seen. But it will be MICROSOFT that attracts the most attention should Arm computing succeed. Having bet so heavily so far ahead on shaping Windows on Arm into a credible – and appealing – alternative, the company is positioned to be the architect of what could be personal computing’s next big shift.


Ever since its first appearance on the digital scene in the mid-1970s, MICROSOFT has been a key participant in the forward march of the computing industry. The company remains best known as the developer of the Windows operating system, but it has always been willing to evolve and innovate with every new stage of technology and platform. Whatever the form that computing takes in the world to come, MICROSOFT wants to help lead the charge. Now, as the company works to spearheadArm-based processors into PCs, it’s not just a matter of software anymore. MICROSOFT’s efforts on development, support and ecosystem expansion all suggest a vision of a more diverse, more dynamic, and ultimately more future-focused form of computing.

Jun 06, 2024
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