It looks a little more likely you may soon be able to run Windows on M-series Macs, as a deal between Microsoft and Qualcomm is allegedly about to expire.
If you use Apple Silicon Macs, there’s a slightly improved chance you may soon be able to run a licensed version of Windows on your machines, as an Arm-exclusive deal between Microsoft and Qualcomm seems set to expire.
Qualcomm has a key
XDA-Developers tells us Qualcomm holds an exclusive arrangement with Microsoft to provide the processors to drive Windows on Arm. That’s why you find Qualcomm’s chips inside Windows for Arm devices, and don’t find processors from anyone else. The report claims this deal will expire soon, which means MediaTek, Samsung, and others may begin to manufacture Arm-based chips for Windows — and may also give Mac users a chance to run Windows on M-series Macs. There is certainly a chance this won’t happen. Microsoft recently suggested an Arm version of Windows 11 for Apple Silicon is not “a supported scenario” – but things do change in tech.
Why it matters
Apple’s Mac sales continue to grow across most enterprise markets, but at present the M-series Macs have no official Windows support. All the same, we have known they can run Windows on Arm insider builds using virtualization tools such as Parallels. Beyond that, other than using Windows 365, there has been no official, fully-supported way to run Windows on an M-series Mac — you don’t even get Boot Camp.
Most Mac users — and Parallels — had been hoping Microsoft would simply offer up Windows for Arm licenses for sale, enabling businesses using multiple computing platforms to run Windows, iOS, and Mac apps on a single machine.
Microsoft has never given us much hope of this, and I think many industry watchers had begun to give up on the idea. But for many enterprises, the ability to run Windows in some way is an essential requirement, particularly for businesses still reliant on legacy systems for some tasks.