Recently, Apple announced plans to move away from Intel CPUs and replace them with ARM-based SoCs designed in-house. Now, it would seem that Microsoft is following a similar path for its Surface line of devices, with plans to develop its own ARM-based processor. These new ARM-based processors will also be used on the servers powering Microsoft’s cloud services.
On the cloud market, Amazon has already started to use its own ARM-based processors, but Apple also has decided to power its own devices with Apple Silicon (Apple M1). Now, it seems Microsoft will follow the trend, producing its own chips, although it’s more likely to see them being used on servers than on Surface devices, according to Bloomberg.
Microsoft cloud services are powered by Intel and AMD CPUs, while Surface devices use Intel, Qualcomm, and AMD chips, depending on the model. With Microsoft’s decision to produce its own processors, chip providers like the ones mentioned are expected to lose some of their share in their respective markets.
When asked about Microsoft ARM-based processors, Frank Shaw, communications chief at Microsoft, commented that due to the silicon’s importance to the technology that they develop, the company has been continuously investing in “areas like design, manufacturing and tools”.
Windows 10 on ARM-powered devices such as the Surface X shows that these processors are a good alternative to other chips, but their performance still has room for improvement. On the server market side, Microsoft has only just given its first steps by releasing a Windows Server that runs on ARM in September 2020. If Microsoft starts to produce ARM chips for itself, we might see the company invest more in Windows compatibility with ARM processors, be it servers or client platforms.
KitGuru says: Would you like to see Microsoft developing its own ARM-based CPUs? When do you think will Microsoft launch the first Surface devices powered by their own ARM-based processors?