It turns out the rumors we first reported on in December were true. Microsoft made it official today at CES 2011 that the next version of Windows will indeed support System on a Chip (SoC) architectures, including ARM-based systems. Current manufacturers of ARM-based systems include NVIDIA, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments. This doesn’t mean that Microsoft is giving up on mobile designs which are x86 based. The company stated that Intel and AMD continue to work on low-power SoC designs which will support Windows. In fact, Microsoft made it a point to demonstrate the next version of Windows running on new Intel SoC platforms.Microsoft seemed to be walking a thin line, not being seen as abandoning the x86 architecture while it was clear that the message the company wanted to send was that ARM-based systems are now in the crosshairs of future versions of Windows. Considering the market shift to ARM-based tablets and netbooks Microsoft surely saw the growth potential of the next version of Windows if it was able to support this class of processor. It also saw the growth potential of Android and iOS if it didn’t jump into game.During the technology demonstration, Microsoft showed the next version of Windows running Microsoft Office on ARM architecture. This had to be a watershed moment for companies like NVIDIA, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments who find themselves working closely with Microsoft for the first time to provide ARM-based designs. The result could mean that Windows tablets may become more widely available than they are today.Read more at Microsoft.