At WWDC this week, Apple detailed its roadmap for transferring the Mac lineup from Intel processors to Apple Silicon chips. One of the biggest questions about this transition has been what it means for the future of Boot Camp, and a new statement from Microsoft provides little clarity on what the future holds for Windows virtualization on Mac.
In another statement The edge, a Microsoft spokesman explained that the company currently only licenses Windows 10 for ARM to manufacturers to pre-install their hardware. Windows 10 for ARM is not available for anyone to license and install elsewhere, unlike Windows for other technologies. There are potential solutions to this problem, but the future is unclear.
“Microsoft only licenses Windows 10 on ARM to OEMs,” a Microsoft spokesman said in a statement to The Verge. We asked Microsoft if it plans to change this policy to allow Boot Camp on ARM-based Macs, and the company says “we have nothing further to share at this time.”
Microsoft’s statement is of course vague enough to assume that it could have more to share in the future. It’s important to remember that Apple does not plan to ship the first Apple Silicon Mac to consumers until later this year. From time to time, developers will work on customizing their applications for the new Apple Silicon chips – including Microsoft, which Apple cited as hard at ensuring that Office is compatible with ARM-based Macs.
Boot Camp is also not the only solution for running Windows on Mac, with the other solution being virtualization software such as VMWare or Parallels. As The edge points out, however, that Virtual Machine apps that virtualize x86 platforms cannot be translated with Apple’s Rosetta 2 technology.
Given that we are only a few days past Apple’s official announcement of the Apple Silicon transition, it’s hard to read too much into Microsoft’s statement. Although Boot Camp is certainly not as popular as it once was, there are still many professionals who depend on it. Whether it will survive the transition to Apple Silicon remains to be seen, but Microsoft’s statement does not necessarily give hope.
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