While Apple has always provided Windows support on Intel Macs, new machines with the ARM-based M1 chip can only run macOS natively. The reason may have to do with a special deal between Microsoft and Qualcomm that is finally coming to an end – and this means Windows could finally be available natively for M1 Mac users.
As reported by XDAQualcomm has a special deal with Microsoft to ensure that the company’s ARM chips are the only ones with native Windows support. According to sources familiar with the matter, this agreement is about to expire, meaning Microsoft will finally be able to license Windows to other ARM chip makers.
While it is currently unknown when exactly this agreement will expire, the report says it is expected to end very soon. The exclusivity with Qualcomm was due to the semiconductor company Microsoft helping develop Windows ARM. Now, other companies like MediaTek are already planning to build ARM chips that can run Windows
Windows on ARM was first announced by Microsoft and Qualcomm in 2016. It was a big deal because the big thing that separated it from the failed Windows RT was that it could emulate x86 apps. Devices were announced a year later and shipped shortly after. Since then, Microsoft has added x64 emulation with Windows 11 along with ARM64EC, making it easier to run apps natively with emulated plugins.
The good news for Mac users is that with the end of the Microsoft and Qualcomm deal, Apple could also license Windows 11 support for the M1 chip family. Currently, the only way to run Windows on M1 Macs is to use a virtual machine, as these machines do not have Boot Camp. Running the system natively would allow even better performance, which would be great for gaming.
If you want to install Windows on your M1 Mac, be sure to check 9to5Macs guide on how to virtualize Microsoft’s operating system with Parallels Desktop.
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