Microsoft has finally confirmed that Windows 8 devices based on ARM chips will not be able to run existing Windows apps, ending speculation that buyers might have access to the huge installed base of Windows software.

Speaking at Microsoft's Build developer conference, Windows chief Steven Sinofsky flatly ruled out the possibility of the company offering support for legacy Windows applications with Windows 8 on ARM.

"We're not going to port the installed base of x86 applications to ARM. They don't take advantage of the things that make ARM a great architecture," he said, referring to the power-efficiency of ARM-based processors in mobile devices such as tablets.

In particular, legacy x86 applications are not built with awareness of power management states, and would lead to greatly reduced battery life, he said.

Sinofsky further stated that all Windows 8 applications for ARM will be available via the Windows Store, and will be the cross-platform Metro style, apparently contradicting earlier statements from Microsoft that a "native" ARM version of its Office suite was in the works.

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