Expanding its partnership with Microsoft, the world’s largest chip-maker Intel on Thursday said its high-speed interconnect technology, Thunderbolt, would be available on the software giant’s Windows operating system from next year.
The move would end the exclusive availability of Thunderbolt, which was launched earlier this year and helps transfer data between different computing devices at high speed, on Apple’s Mac computers.
The plans to offer Thunderbolt on Microsoft’s Windows platform was disclosed by Intel’s Vice-President and General Manager of the PC Client Group, Mooly Eden, at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) 2011 here today.
Computer-makers like Acer and Asus are working to make devices with Thunderbolt compatible with the Windows platform, he added.
Thunderbolt enables different high-speed storage and media capture devices to connect with each other through a single thin cable.
Speaking at IDF 2011, Mr. Eden also displayed a prototype of the Thunderbolt technology running on Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system.
He was also joined by a Microsoft representative that showcased the latter’s latest Windows 8 operating system on an Intel-based ‘Ultrabook’ device.
Putting to rest speculation about the two long-time partners drifting apart, the two companies highlighted the broad collaboration between them and pointed to the future opportunities that Windows 8 would present across multiple computing devices such as tablets, hybrids and the in-development ‘Ultrabook’
Intel’s partnership with Google for the launch of Android smartphones powered by Intel chips and Microsoft showcasing its Windows 8 operating system on devices powered by chips from Intel’s rival, ARM Holdings, had led to such speculation earlier this week.
However, both Intel and Microsoft have downplayed the developments. While Intel CEO Paul Otellini said he was confident of Intel having the best chips to run the Windows operating systems, Microsoft Chief Steve Ballmer also reiterated his commitment to both Intel and ARM chips.
Later, speaking to journalists, Mr. Eden said that PC manufacturers would be free to choose operating systems of their choice on the Ultrabooks and they would not be limited to Microsoft’s Windows platform.
Asked if Ultrabooks could have Android as their operating platform and whether such a move could affect Intel’s relationship with Microsoft, Mr. Eden said, “Our cooperation with Microsoft is great. But they are free to work with any of our rivals.”
“Similarly, we (Intel) also work with different players. It finally depends on the OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) to decide on the operating system,” he added.
Mr. Eden said that for the time being, Ultrabooks are being tested on the Windows platform, but OEMs can make their own choices.