Microsoft has updated its agreement with chip design firm ARM, making the software giant capable of designing its own chips--in theory, at least.
The new pact is an architecture license, which allows Microsoft to design its own ARM chips, much like Qualcomm does with its Snapdragon processors used in products such as the Dell Streak tablet and Google's Nexus One smartphone.
ARM is one of the most prolific chip designers in the world, with its designs used in everything from Apple's iPhone and iPad to high-tech toys and handheld calculators.
"ARM is an important partner for Microsoft, and we deliver multiple operating systems on the company's architecture, most notably Windows Embedded and Windows Phone," KD Hallman, general manager of strategic software and silicon architectures at Microsoft, said in a statement. "With closer access to the ARM technology, we will be able to enhance our research and development activities for ARM-based products."
Microsoft is not commenting further on the agreement, and details will remain confidential.
There are a couple of interesting possibilities, according to Nathan Brookwood, the principal analyst at Insight 64. "If you're going to build your own (processing) cores, that's expensive and time-consuming. You really need to think that you can outdesign the group of designers at ARM,"… Read more