Microsoft Corp. is working on in-house processor designs for use in server computers that run the company’s cloud services, adding to an industrywide effort to reduce reliance on Intel Corp.’s chip technology.
The world’s largest software maker is using Arm Ltd. designs to produce a processor that will be used in its data centers, according to people familiar with the plans. It’s also exploring using another chip that would power some of its Surface line of personal computers. The people asked not to be identified discussing private initiatives. Intel’s stock dropped 6.3% to close at $47.46 in New York, leaving it down 21% this year.
The move is a major commitment by Microsoft to supplying itself with the most important piece of the hardware it uses. Cloud-computing rivals such as Amazon.com Inc. are already well down the road with similar efforts. They’ve argued their chips are better suited to some of their needs, bringing cost and performance advantages over off-the-shelf silicon primarily provided by Intel.
Microsoft’s efforts are more likely to result in a server chip than one for its Surface devices, though the latter is possible, said one of the people. The company’s chip design unit reports to Jason Zander, head of the Azure cloud business, rather than Panos Panay, who oversees Surface products. Representatives of Microsoft and Arm declined to comment on whether Microsoft is working on server and PC processors.
“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,” Microsoft spokesman Frank Shaw said.
More at the link.
Microsoft and Apple are heading down very similar roads and it looks like even x86 isn't safe in this brave new world. Really interesting move from Microsoft and it makes a ton of sense. Another blow to Intel as they struggle with their own internal time tables and continue to fight off AMD while recovering from their lost Apple business. Seems like some good news for Nvidia with their recent ARM acquisition; another customer to license the ARM instruction set. I don't think this will impact AMD that much-they need to continue to put pressure on Intel and get aggressive with their data center and laptop offerings which keep getting better.
Curious to see if this has an impact on Xbox in a generation or two.
EviLore get ITT!