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Intel exec at CES: Microsoft's tablet OS too long in coming

Intel urged Microsoft a long time ago to remake Windows for smaller devices, an executive at the chipmaker said.

LAS VEGAS--Intel has urged Microsoft to tailor Windows for smaller devices, to no avail, an executive from the chipmaker said at the Consumer Electronics Show.

Tom Kilroy is Intel's marketing chief.
Tom Kilroy is Intel's marketing chief. Intel

"Hey, we tried to get [Microsoft] to do a tablet OS (operating system) for a long time. Us, and others like Dell," said Tom Kilroy, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Sales and Marketing Group, speaking to CNET at an Intel function last night.

Microsoft said this week at CES that its next major release of Windows will run on power-efficient processors from ARM--an Intel rival. This "port" is expected to make Windows more suitable for tablets. It's not clear when this version of Windows will be released, however.

Though Windows 7 is being used on a number tablets already, that operating system's PC heritage makes it less than ideal, as many have attested to already.

Goldman Sachs released a research note last month critical of Microsoft's tablet strategy.

And this isn't the first time Intel has mentioned this issue, either. Intel executives have talked about this in past earnings conference calls, saying they have called on Microsoft to tweak Windows and make it more suitable for small devices like Netbooks--to no avail.

Kilroy said Intel is building Atom processors--known by the code names of Oak Trail and Moorestown--for the Android, Windows 7, and MeeGo operating systems. Oak Trail processors are more powerful--and include dual-core versions--while the single-core Moorestown chip is targeted at more power sensitive devices, he said.

He also cautioned against singling out Microsoft as the only major software company with tablet troubles. Google has had it own challenges in optimizing the Android operating system for tablets, Kilroy said. Only recently has Google begun talking about Honeycomb, the first Android OS optimized for tablets. That is due later this year.

Finally, Kilroy said Intel is rejiggering its corporate structure to devote more resources to tablets, citing as an example the newly formed Netbook and Tablet Group headed by Doug Davis.