Microsoft is working on a new Windows system for mobile devices like tablet computers, according to reports. The system would focus on devices using energy-saving chips designed by the British company ARM.
Many of ARM's chips are currently used in both the iPad and iPhone from Apple.
Now Windows will reportedly offer versions of its Windows CE and Windows Phone 7 systems that run on ARM chips. Its standard Desktop Windows system will be designed for x-86 architecture chips from Intel and AMD.
Microsoft head Steve Ballmer is expected to present the new systems in January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The new systems should support chips from both ARM, Intel and AMD. Quallcomm, Texas Instruments and Samsung all produce chips with ARM designs.
Microsoft competitor Apple currently dominates the tablet computer market, selling 7.5 million of its iPads between its debut in April and the end of September.
Market researcher Strategy Analytics estimates that Apple currently holds 95 per cent of the tablet computer market.
However, tablet computers running Google's Android operating system are expected to eat into that lead in the near future.
An alliance with ARM could help Microsoft catch up in the mobile devices market.
Microsoft official Achim Berg has noted that, since the introduction of its smartphone software, Windows Phone 7, 1.5 million Windows mobiles have been sold, meeting expectations.