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.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Microsoftprocessorssoftwarepc componentsComponentsArm Holdings

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
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?