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Microsoft criticizes Intel over Windows 8 comments

Clearly upset with Intel, Microsoft condemns and refutes comments made this week by a top-level Intel executive about different versions of Windows 8.

The relationship between Microsoft and Intel may have cooled down a degree or two this week.

Microsoft yesterday condemned and rebutted comments made about Windows 8 by Renee James, an Intel senior vice president who heads the software and services group. At an Intel investors meeting on Tuesday, James revealed details about the next version of the Windows operating system that apparently ticked off some of the higher-ups in Redmond.

Discussing versions of Windows 8, James said that Microsoft would release a traditional version of the operating system designed to run on Intel x86-based computers. This version would offer a Windows 7 mode to allow older legacy applications to run, similar to the way Windows 7 offers a Windows XP mode for backward compatibility

She added that a version of Windows 8 would also be released for ARM-based tablets, smartphones, and other devices that would not be backward compatible with older legacy apps. James said there will be four different versions of ARM-based Windows, each designed for a specific chip.

In a prepared statement sent to CNET, Microsoft blasted James' comments:

Intel's statements during [Tuesday'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 [system-on-a-chip], 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.

It's not clear whether all of James' comments were "inaccurate" and "misleading" in Microsoft's view--or just certain ones.

It's also possible that Microsoft could simply have been annoyed that James discussed these developments as on target for Windows 8, whereas the folks in Redmond consider them still at the "technology demonstration state." James may also have ruffled feathers by touting Intel's architecture under Windows 8 as superior since it will support legacy apps while ARM-based devices won't.

Microsoft has been cagey about Windows 8 in general and certainly about specific details. But the company did reveal at this year's CES that it will support ARM-based devices in the next version of Windows.

Updated at 8:50am PT with a Microsoft statement sent to CNET.