Microsoft has entered into a lisenceing deal with ARM that can make the software behemoth pull off an ‘Apple‘ act in future. ARM chipsets are almost the universal deity of mobile or embedded systems and the latest agreement will enable Microsoft to design their own chips based on the ARM architecture, a la Apple.
Both Microsoft and Arm Holdings have collaborated for years in the fields of software and devices, particularly in the mobile, consumer, and embedded product segments. Now with the software giant holding the license to design their own Arm-based microarchitectures, we can certainly expect smart devices coming from Microsoft in future.
Speaking of the deal, executive vice president Ian Drew of marketing at Arm said, “We have licensed our architecture and our instruction set to Microsoft. This type of license allows you to design your own microarchitecture.”
With this, Microsoft joined a select group of companies – Qualcomm, Marvell Technology and Infineon Technologies that have similar licensing agreements that enable them to design their own Arm-based microarchitectures.
“As an architectural licensee, Microsoft wants to go public about adding itself to that short list,” said Drew.
ARM happens to be one of the most high profile chip designers in the world, with almost everything from the Apple’s iPhone and iPad to high-tech toys and handheld calculators having an ARM chip at their core. It might be mentioned here that the Snapdragon processors from Qualcomm go on to power the Dell Streak tablet and Google’s Nexus One range of smartphones.
In Microsoft’s case, the deal could mean Window Phone 7 Series based slates and tablets having an ARM chip. Then the Windows Embedded Compact may also be provided with ARM derived technology in the future. Microsoft will perhaps also like to port complete Windows versions on to ARM in the LongARM project, something that isn’t possible at this moment. And then, who knows? Microsoft may even be planning to have ARM powering their next gen Xbox consoles.
So! Exciting times ahead as we await the launch of some smart products from Microsoft.