Microsoft signs big licensing deal for Arm chip technology

The agreement gives Microsoft the right to develop its own chips compatible with Arm's instruction set

Microsoft signed a new agreement to license technology for the Arm microprocessor architecture, opening the potential for the software giant to follow in Apple's footsteps and design its own Arm-based chips.

The new license greatly extends the technologies Microsoft can make use of from Arm Holdings. The companies have collaborated for years on software and devices mainly in mobile, consumer and embedded products.

"We have licensed our architecture and our instruction set to Microsoft," said Ian Drew, executive vice president of marketing at Arm. "This type of license allows you to design your own microarchitecture."

Only a select group of companies hold similar licenses to design their own Arm-based microarchitectures, including mobile phone chip giant Qualcomm, as well as Marvell Technology and Infineon Technologies.

"As an architectural licensee, Microsoft wants to go public about adding itself to that short list," Drew said.

Arm Holdings licenses Arm technology to a number of companies around the world. Arm-based microprocessors are found in the majority of the world's smartphones. Intel, the world's largest chip maker, has developed its Atom microprocessors in the hope of someday rivaling Arm-based microprocessors in smartphones and other small devices.

Microsoft and Arm said the size and scope of the deal are confidential.

"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," Microsoft said in a statement.

Closer access to Arm technology gives Microsoft the ability to enhance its research and development around Arm-based products, the statement said.

A number of companies custom-design chips to meet the specific needs of a device or software. Apple said it custom-designed its A4 chip for the iPad and iPhone 4 to be more powerful for multitasking and yet extremely battery-efficient.

Tags pc componentsArm HoldingsMicrosoftsoftwareComponentsprocessors

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Dan Nystedt and Peter Sayer

IDG News Service

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Latest News Articles

Most Popular Articles

Follow Us

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Resources

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?