OK, so we know that Microsoft has guaranteed the first 90,000 Windows 7 phone sales (by buying them for its own people), now the Redmond copycat has hitched up its skirts to make a deal with ARM [Ed: Insert Better Analogy Here], and has plans to take the world’s richest corporation back to the garage by encouraging its own staff to, erm, make Win 7 Phone apps.

Nice.

So, if you work for Microsoft you’re going to be asked to develop for the future phone (wonder if this means Micorosft will spew some stat touting just how quickly it managed to build a developer ecosystem?)

As part of the free phone deal, employees are being asked to evangelize the device to their friends and family.

They also get access to “Develop! A new employee developer programme which makes it much easier for you to develop apps for Marketplace in your spare time.”

Ah, but AAPL’s decision to make its own A4 processor sure will prove a long-sighted on. After all, it wasn’t so long ago that forward momentum on its computing platform was held back by slow processor development on part of IBM and Motorola. The company won’t repeat that one twice. Not in the new and oh-so-important mobile field.

Microsoft’s new deal with ARM confirms that company as a follower. But it also underscores the depth with which Apple management analysts potential threats and the evolution of threats as they laid down their plans for the A4 and other future mobile processors.

Which is to say they saw it coming, and have put together a route to market for proprietary sillicon to give their devices a competitive edge.

(Also consider this: because Apple owns the OS and has control over the processor design used in the mobile devices it makes, it can ensure efficiencies, such as power or graphics management and so on, which cannot possibly be replicated by any competitor — such as Android or Windows 7 Phone — that is attempting to deliver an OS for use on a variety of differently-specced devices. This will serve as a huge advantage in the mobile space, much more so than on the desktop).

The ARM/MSFT deal, then:

“ARM and Microsoft Corp. today announced that they have signed a new licensing agreement for the ARM architecture. The agreement extends the collaborative relationship between the two companies. Since 1997 Microsoft and ARM have worked together on software and devices across the embedded, consumer and mobile spaces, enabling many companies to deliver user experiences on a broad portfolio of ARM-based products.

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