Let's face it: Apple users have had a good run recently. Not only has the company smoked most of its rivals with its M1 silicon, but the firm has solidified its position even further with the recently released (and eye-searingly powerful) M1 Pro and M1 Max-powered MacBook Pro 2021 models.
But one thing Mac users don't have is a whole lot of choice – meaning that if you're an Apple computer user you are more or less stuck in the macOS ecosystem. When it comes to running Windows 11 on a MacBook, this can be problematic. And things have been muddied further today with reports that Microsoft has held out on making a version of Windows 11 available for M1 Macs based on Arm architecture because the firm may have a secret exclusivity deal with Qualcomm.
Yes, according to the folks at XDA Developers (opens in new tab), it transpires that Arm-based Windows has only been made available on devices with Qualcomm SoC's because of an until-now hidden deal between the two companies. Two sources close to the partnership told XDA that the deal is "set to expire soon," but there aren't any exact details on when exactly that could be.
After the deal expiration date has passed, other chip vendors would then be able to develop machines using Arm Windows. This would have myriad benefits, perhaps most notably for Apple's M1 devices like the Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020), Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020), and the 2021 Pro models, which could then finally get a version of Arm Windows after Microsoft is freed up to make a version available for them.
Fading 'Wintel' relationship
There have been murmurings for a while now about the waning relationship between Intel and Microsoft. After the so-called ‘Wintel’ partnership does begin to fade, though, it would mean a transition to ARM is inevitable and is something that, XDA believes, will leave an open playing field that "companies are going to want to be part of it when it opens up."
Once again, there's still a big question mark over when the alleged exclusivity deal between Qualcomm and Microsoft will end, but MacBook users who've been patiently waiting for a version of Arm Windows might then finally get what they've been hoping for.