Microsoft is reportedly designing its own ARM-based chips for Surface PCs

Microsoft is reportedly designing its own ARM-based chips for Surface PCs

Microsoft is allegedly working on an in-house design for ARM-based chips that will power servers and Surface PCs. The move would be another blow to Intel, whose dominance has up until this point gone mostly unchallenged.

According to Bloomberg, Microsoft’s efforts could result in custom chips for servers that power its cloud services, along with chips for Surface devices. However, the Redmond-based company’s may focus primarily on developing a sever chip first, and then explore the possibility of creating something for a future Surface product.

“Because silicon is a foundational building block for technology, we’re continuing to invest in our own capabilities in areas like design, manufacturing and tools, while also fostering and strengthening partnerships with a wide range of chip providers,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement to Bloomberg.

Intel essentially has a monopoly in the market of sever chips, powering most of what runs the internet; it’s the company’s most profitable source of revenue. Intel’s dominance in the sever market is estimated to be roughly 90%.

If Microsoft does pursue its own chip design for a Surface PC, it would follow in the footsteps of Apple. The Cupertino company recently unveiled the M1-powered MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, and thus fair the processor has received rave reviews. Early feedback has been universally positive, with many users praising the chip’s power and efficiency, and Apple has already said it will eventually move its entire product lineup to custom ARM-based chips.

Microsoft has previously worked with AMD and Qualcomm for custom chips that were included in the Surface Laptop 3 and Surface Pro X. The company created an ARM-based SQ1 processor for the Surface Pro X in 2019, followed by an upgraded SQ2 variant in October of this year. However, the SQ1 and SQ2 processors were little more than rebrands of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx gen 1 and gen 2 compute platforms. There have been signs Microsoft wants to ease its reliance on Intel, and today’s report suggests the company is ready to further explore other opportunities.

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Brandon Russell
Brandon Russell

Brandon's love of technology can be traced back to his childhood, when he would obsessively watch Back to the Future. Since then he's followed the industry and its many innovations, from handheld consoles to powerful smartphones. He's still waiting on a hoverboard.