Personally, I was surprised that Windows 7 supported 32 bit processors at all, considering the system requirements for Vista. They improved things quite a bit from Vista, but I still think 7 should have been 64-bit only. Windows 8, definitely should have been 64-bit only (on x86). I'm guessing they left the support in for 32-bit tablets.
MSFT made it clear they wanted Win8 to support everything 7 did. Same NT 6.1 Kernel too, so no real reason to force that issue. I fully expect Win8 to be the last 32bit OS by MSFT though. Which makes me wonder if MSFT will get around to re-coding a LOT of the legacy stuff thats still in Windows...
But for an OS like Linux? No reason to force the issue. Totally different user base.
Yea, dropping 32-bit is just plain stupid. That said, what would be a good thing for Microsoft to do is drop WOW64 by not having it installed by default. Perhaps offer it as a download. That would be enough to motivate developers to do a proper 64-bit build.
And ever single SW maker would go balistic if they did. If performance demands it, devs will make 64-bit builds.
Originally Posted by elanthis
Ancient 32-bit apps run on Windows x64 just fine in most cases, just like most ancient 32-bit apps run on Linux x86_64 just fine (assuming you install the 32-bit userland). The only things that need to be upgraded/replaced are drivers (and the odd program whose authors did something stupid).