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Windows 11 could come to M1 Macs in the future

Published Nov 23rd, 2021 7:42PM EST
Apple MacBook Pro M1 Pro
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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Qualcomm and Microsoft’s exclusivity deal for Windows on ARM chips is reportedly coming to an end soon. Without that deal in place, we could see official support for Windows 11 on Macs running M1 chips.

Recent reports have noted that MediaTek, a company that creates SoCs for smartphones and tablets, wants to create a chip for Windows on ARM PCs. This is noteworthy because up until now, only Qualcomm has created chips for use in Windows ARM PCs. According to XDADevelopers, that might not be a coincidence.

Microsoft and Qualcomm exclusivity deal has held Windows on ARM back

A laptop running Windows 11
Windows 11 running on a laptop. Image source: Microsoft

Based on the new report, XDA says that Qualcomm and Microsoft have been working together as part of an exclusivity deal. The deal is set to end soon, according to sources familiar with it. It’s unclear when the deal will end exactly, but when it does, it could open up room for new competition to step into the arena.

Windows on ARM has been pretty disappointing thus far. In the time that Qualcomm and Microsoft have been working together, most of the systems that they’ve released have been sluggish. This is a stark comparison to the speed and efficiency we’ve seen in Apple’s M1 chips, which use the same style of architecture. If the deal is really about to end, though, we could see more support for Windows on ARM. This would allow vendors like MediaTek, Samsung, and maybe even Apple’s M1 chips to support the operating system.

We could see Windows 11 on M1 Macs soon

Apple MacBook Pro 2021 Closed
Apple MacBook Pro 2021 Closed Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

While Windows 11 can be run on an M1 Mac using a virtual machine like Parallels, Apple doesn’t offer Boot Camp on those systems. That’s because Microsoft only licenses the ARM version of Windows to PC makers. If it starts to receive more support from other vendors, though, Microsoft might open the door for regular consumers to access those licenses.

Of course, whether or not Apple supports Boot Camp on M1 Macs is up to the company. The M1 Macs have managed to hit some impressive benchmarks since their release. If we ever hope to see that same kind of performance on Windows, it could be good to combine Microsoft’s OS with Apple’s tech.

That might seem like a weird idea, especially considering how most people view Apple and Microsoft as rivals. However, consumers would ultimately win in a world where the two companies decided to work together. For now, though, we’ll have to be content with using Windows via a virtual machine on M1 macs.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.