Microsoft may release Windows Server for ARM processors -- a move that could optimize the operating system for more power efficient data centers and perhaps even Big Data applications. The twist: Microsoft has yet to confirm the report, and similar rumors have swirled around the IT industry since around 2011.

Back in the 1990s, Windows Server's predecessor (Windows NT Server) ran on Intel x86 processors and three RISC processors: Digital Alpha, MIPS and PowerPC. But those NT for RISC offerings never gained critical mass, and Microsoft in the late 1990s discontinued RISC support -- repositioning Windows NT for x86 processors from Intel and AMD.

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