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Bloomberg: Microsoft Designing Its Own Chips for Servers, Surface PCs

Evangelion Unit-01

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May 18, 2020
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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 EviLore get ITT!
 
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EviLore

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Makes sense. Intel’s stagnant and Apple’s showing the rest of the industry leaders that they can be cut out of the equation.

Cloud server architecture doesn’t need to be that aggressive in performance per watt, which is all Intel’s been focusing on for ages now.
 

Stiflers Mom

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Interesting times..
Wonder what the PC landscape will look like in ten years with developments like this happening right now.
 
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Dec 14, 2008
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Interesting times..
Wonder what the PC landscape will look like in ten years with developments like this happening right now.
ARM will largely displace x86 in most computing markets by 2030. Intel will die since they have zero investment in ARM and their process evolution has completely stalled. AMD will claim most of the legacy x86 market that remains but most will switch to ARM. Nvidia will acquire ARM and finally design reference cores which can actually compete with Apple Silicon, which is right now 2-3 years ahead of any other ARM chip design. RISC-V will continue to remain someone's open-source pie in the sky that never gets cared about by anyone that matters.
 
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MaestroMike

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ARM will largely displace x86 in most computing markets by 2030. Intel will die since they have zero investment in ARM and their process evolution has completely stalled. AMD will claim most of the legacy x86 market that remains but most will switch to ARM. Nvidia will acquire ARM and finally design reference cores which can actually compete with Apple Silicon, which is right now 2-3 years ahead of any other ARM chip design. RISC-V will continue to remain someone's open-source pie in the sky that never gets cared about by anyone that matters.

Don't know much about computers/processors, but that sounds terrible. Every business needs competition or the consumer gets screwed over in the end and will be charged higher and higher prices. Intel and AMD need to compete against each other for our benefit. And if they die out who will compete with nvidia-owned ARM ??
 

ManofOne

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Bought me a shitload of MSFT stock, seems the only safe MEGA CAP company so far. When I heard rumours I bought more.
 
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Super Mario

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Processors are very powerful these days and the average user doesn't need half of the power it provides. Instead of creating profits for Intel and AMD, add more to your bottom line. Makes perfect sense.
 
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billyxci

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Interesting times..
Wonder what the PC landscape will look like in ten years with developments like this happening right now.
not much will change. AMD + Intel likely aren't going anywhere. Nvidia might take on both the CPU + GPU market. Apple chips are basically just ARM chips and who owns ARM? Nvidia.
 
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DESTROYA

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The APPLE M1 is a game changer, for such a low power chip to have that much power is unheard of.
Can’t wait to see a ARM based Soc run Windows natively.
 

teezzy

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Things you'll never get your hands on?

 

YuLY

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For someone who isnt very tech savvy, would this impact backwards compatibility on PC? one of the things I love about PC gaming is that I can just install the GOG version of Gothic 2 from 2002 and play it without any problems. Would this affect that in any way ?
 
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diffusionx

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Apple's M1 chip is a total game changer. When you figure out how to get way better performance and way better battery life, you've just figured out a better way, period.

MS is making the right move to copy them. Windows 10 ARM needs to be way better though. If I was Intel I would be shitting bricks right now.
 
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Futaleufu

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People are jumping the gun assumming that the M1 can have limitless scalability and improvement, when in reality it could have the same fate than the PowerPC.
 

Dural

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Qualcomm is trash.

Yep, if MS wants to compete they'll need to work with Nvidia to design an SOC. There's a reason Nvidia hasn't felt the need to upgrade the SOC in the Shield in 5 years.