Microsoft may follow Apple in creating own chips for Surface notebooks

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Microsoft may go down the same route as Apple in shifting away from Intel for its products, with the software giant said to be working on its own processor designs that may end up in its Surface computer line.




Apple's self-designed A-series chips used in the iPhone and iPad lineup, as well as the new Apple Silicon for Macs, has demonstrated it is possible for a hardware producer to create its own processor instead of relying on a third party like Qualcomm or Intel. Rumors from Microsoft suggest it too may pull off the same hardware maneuver in the future.

According to sources of Bloomberg, Microsoft is working on an in-house processor design, one that could be used in its Surface lineup, but may also end up in servers. Thought to be ARM-based, the chip design unit is said to report to Jason Zander, the head of Microsoft's Azure cloud business.

Fueling the effort is Microsoft's increase in hiring processor engineers over the last few years, including some from Qualcomm's abandoned server chip efforts, as well as from the same hiring pool used by Intel, AMD, and Nvidia.

"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," said Microsoft spokesman Frank Shaw.

If true, this would be a continuation of form for Microsoft, which has previously employed ARM chips from Qualcomm in some variants of Surface notebooks. It also has experience with ARM from its ill-fated Windows Mobile initiative.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 93
    razorpitrazorpit Posts: 1,796member
    Time to short Intel stock?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 93
    Looks like a Mac right down to the bezel but it's probably mac of plastic.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 93
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,421member
    LOL.  One could not write a more ridiculous 30 year story about Microsoft copying and following Apple.  Windows. Luna UI.  Zune. Windows phone.  Surface.  It’s comical!  
    williamlondonqwerty52lolliverBeatsfirelocktmayrezwitswatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 93
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 8,991member
    It’s a great tome to be an Apple enthusiast. Like Hockey great Wayne Gretzky Apple skates to where the puck will be instead of where’s it’s at. And it remains funnier than hell to watch Apple do something, get mocked by the competition, declared DOA by the trolls under the AI bridge, and see the competition and the critics follow suit. 
    williamlondonBombdoeplastico23olswatto_cobraStrangeDays
  • Reply 5 of 93
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 2,351member
    razorpit said:
    Time to short Intel stock?
    Maybe Qualcomm too?
    razorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 93
    The consummate copier/stealer that prefers profit over quality assurance is looking to spend its hoards, falsely believing once again a Zune is an iPod, a Surface is an iPad or MacBook, the audacity that a crappy software company can produce a CPU and put it in one of their reproductions and be successful, ha fucking ha! Go ahead and waste your stockholders’ wealth, your demise is imminent anyway.
    olswatto_cobraBeats
  • Reply 7 of 93
    danvmdanvm Posts: 1,126member
    sdw2001 said:
    LOL.  One could not write a more ridiculous 30 year story about Microsoft copying and following Apple.  Windows. Luna UI.  Zune. Windows phone.  Surface.  It’s comical!  
    I don't see something wrong for MS following Apple, and going with their own chips.  You just have to consider the benefits for their Azure datacenter, a pass that knowledge to their devices.  That could be huge for the Surface line.  

    And I don't get why you think it's ridiculous to copy good ideas.  Was Apple ridiculous when copied MS with the Pencil, keyboard + trackpads, FaceID and multitasking in tablet mode to iPads?  
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 8 of 93
    danvmdanvm Posts: 1,126member

    lkrupp said:
    It’s a great tome to be an Apple enthusiast. Like Hockey great Wayne Gretzky Apple skates to where the puck will be instead of where’s it’s at. And it remains funnier than hell to watch Apple do something, get mocked by the competition, declared DOA by the trolls under the AI bridge, and see the competition and the critics follow suit. 
    Sometimes good ideas are worth to follow, as when Apple followed MS in iPads with the Pencil, keyboard + trackpads, FaceID and multitasking in touch UI.  
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 9 of 93
    Microsoft catching up to M1 chip, while Apple are putting finishing touches on M5 while sorting out M6??
    plastico23rob53williamlondonbageljoeyolslkrupprezwitswatto_cobraStrangeDays
  • Reply 10 of 93
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,486member
    danvm said:

    lkrupp said:
    It’s a great tome to be an Apple enthusiast. Like Hockey great Wayne Gretzky Apple skates to where the puck will be instead of where’s it’s at. And it remains funnier than hell to watch Apple do something, get mocked by the competition, declared DOA by the trolls under the AI bridge, and see the competition and the critics follow suit. 
    Sometimes good ideas are worth to follow, as when Apple followed MS in iPads with the Pencil, keyboard + trackpads, FaceID and multitasking in touch UI.  
    One of the only wrong things Jobs did was to NOT patent Apple designs early on. This gave Microsoft the ability to freely copy everything Apple did without any consequences. In order to create their own ARM- or Intel-based CPUs, they'll need to figure everything out on their own, which is something that's not in their DNA. Microsoft hasn't really developed anything original, they simply copy everything. Yes, Apple has copied many things or bought out companies for their ideas but they are the best at taking an idea and making it commercially viable. Microsoft just forces people to use their garbage by locking them into their environment without any way to get out of it.
    lkruppwatto_cobraBeats
  • Reply 11 of 93
    danvmdanvm Posts: 1,126member

    The consummate copier/stealer that prefers profit over quality assurance is looking to spend its hoards, falsely believing once again a Zune is an iPod, a Surface is an iPad or MacBook, the audacity that a crappy software company can produce a CPU and put it in one of their reproductions and be successful, ha fucking ha! Go ahead and waste your stockholders’ wealth, your demise is imminent anyway.
    The "crappy software company" have one of the largest cloud infrastructures in the world, and it's clear they will benefit by moving to their own ARM chips.  I see no reason to think the knowledge and experience they'll have in their datacenter will influence and benefit in many ways the development of ARM for their devices.  Different from you, I could see them succeed in the transition.  What option do they have?  Wait for Intel?  
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 12 of 93
    KITAKITA Posts: 352member

    According to sources of Bloomberg, Microsoft is working on an in-house processor design, one that could be used in its Surface lineup, but may also end up in servers. Thought to be ARM-based, the chip design unit is said to report to Jason Zander, the head of Microsoft's Azure cloud business.

    That's a weird spin in the title to make it sound like Microsoft is following Apple to ARM.

    First paragraph in the bloomberg article:

    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.

    Microsoft is going the ARM route for servers (Azure), similar to their largest competitor Amazon. AWS has already been using Amazon's own second generation ARM Graviton2 processors which, as Amazon claims, offers customers 40% better price performance than x86 based instances. A third generation Graviton3 (likely based on Neoverse V1 or Neoverse N2) is expected in 2021.

    Seriously, this isn't all about Apple all the time.
    williamlondondelreyjoneswg45678muthuk_vanalingamelijahg
  • Reply 13 of 93
    danvmdanvm Posts: 1,126member
    rob53 said:
    danvm said:

    lkrupp said:
    It’s a great tome to be an Apple enthusiast. Like Hockey great Wayne Gretzky Apple skates to where the puck will be instead of where’s it’s at. And it remains funnier than hell to watch Apple do something, get mocked by the competition, declared DOA by the trolls under the AI bridge, and see the competition and the critics follow suit. 
    Sometimes good ideas are worth to follow, as when Apple followed MS in iPads with the Pencil, keyboard + trackpads, FaceID and multitasking in touch UI.  
    One of the only wrong things Jobs did was to NOT patent Apple designs early on. This gave Microsoft the ability to freely copy everything Apple did without any consequences. In order to create their own ARM- or Intel-based CPUs, they'll need to figure everything out on their own, which is something that's not in their DNA. Microsoft hasn't really developed anything original, they simply copy everything. 
    Yes, MS is aware that they need to figure things out, and that's the reason, as the article mentions, that for years they have been recruiting a group of people from Qualcomm, Nvidia, AMD and Intel.  
    Yes, Apple has copied many things or bought out companies for their ideas but they are the best at taking an idea and making it commercially viable. Microsoft just forces people to use their garbage by locking them into their environment without any way to get out of it.
    Can you be more specific how MS locks you into their environment?  I'm seeing MS supporting more platforms than before, but maybe I'm missing something.  
    edited December 2020
  • Reply 14 of 93
    KITA said:

    According to sources of Bloomberg, Microsoft is working on an in-house processor design, one that could be used in its Surface lineup, but may also end up in servers. Thought to be ARM-based, the chip design unit is said to report to Jason Zander, the head of Microsoft's Azure cloud business.

    That's a weird spin in the title to make it sound like Microsoft is following Apple to ARM.

    First paragraph in the bloomberg article:

    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.

    Microsoft is going the ARM route for servers (Azure), similar to their largest competitor Amazon. AWS has already been using Amazon's own second generation ARM Graviton2 processors which, as Amazon claims, offers customers 40% better price performance than x86 based instances. A third generation Graviton3 (likely based on Neoverse V1 or Neoverse N2) is expected in 2021.

    Seriously, this isn't all about Apple all the time.
    And yet with Microsoft it’s always the same thing, and it’s never about originality.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 93
    Let it be, competition is good.....we’re all Apple
    @ home but I still have Windows7 desktop for an old pc program that i used at least once a month....Wintel Is not going anywhere for a while.
    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobraTRAG
  • Reply 16 of 93
    KITAKITA Posts: 352member
    KITA said:

    According to sources of Bloomberg, Microsoft is working on an in-house processor design, one that could be used in its Surface lineup, but may also end up in servers. Thought to be ARM-based, the chip design unit is said to report to Jason Zander, the head of Microsoft's Azure cloud business.

    That's a weird spin in the title to make it sound like Microsoft is following Apple to ARM.

    First paragraph in the bloomberg article:

    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.

    Microsoft is going the ARM route for servers (Azure), similar to their largest competitor Amazon. AWS has already been using Amazon's own second generation ARM Graviton2 processors which, as Amazon claims, offers customers 40% better price performance than x86 based instances. A third generation Graviton3 (likely based on Neoverse V1 or Neoverse N2) is expected in 2021.

    Seriously, this isn't all about Apple all the time.
    And yet with Microsoft it’s always the same thing, and it’s never about originality.
    Care to elaborate?
  • Reply 17 of 93
    danvm said: 

    And I don't get why you think it's ridiculous to copy good ideas.  Was Apple ridiculous when copied MS with the Pencil, keyboard + trackpads, FaceID and multitasking in tablet mode to iPads?  
    I don’t think it’s like that. Having now been with just an iPad Pro 12.9’ as my only computer for the past 5 years and an iPad owner since the iPad 2 came out I see it a bit differently. 

    I think it would be difficult to argue that Apple did not think about adding those features, they are just too forward and methodical in their thinking. I think it’s a combination of them not feeling like the technology was at a place where they could develop what they wanted how they wanted (we see this all the time with companies coming out too soon and under delivering). I also think that that’s Apple’s way of driving change in behaviour. If you really want to drive a new paradigm you need to change peoples behaviour. To do this one could choose to limit options. In this case, I think that if they offered everything then people are going to gravitate to what they know and nothing changes and opportunity to really drive change you stall out. I think Apple probably balanced these and other reasons for taking their time. 

    Regardless, it would difficult to argue that Apple did not consider the implications of leaving certain things out. I for one am glad they did as they forced me to reconsider how I interact with a computer. 

    Cheers. 
    Gabywatto_cobraDetnator
  • Reply 18 of 93
    Microsoft should just abandon the surface line or license it out.  Make your arm processor and sell it to vendors.  That would create right competition.  
    watto_cobraBeats
  • Reply 19 of 93
    danvmdanvm Posts: 1,126member
    danvm said: 

    And I don't get why you think it's ridiculous to copy good ideas.  Was Apple ridiculous when copied MS with the Pencil, keyboard + trackpads, FaceID and multitasking in tablet mode to iPads?  
    I don’t think it’s like that. Having now been with just an iPad Pro 12.9’ as my only computer for the past 5 years and an iPad owner since the iPad 2 came out I see it a bit differently. 

    I think it would be difficult to argue that Apple did not think about adding those features, they are just too forward and methodical in their thinking. I think it’s a combination of them not feeling like the technology was at a place where they could develop what they wanted how they wanted (we see this all the time with companies coming out too soon and under delivering). I also think that that’s Apple’s way of driving change in behaviour. If you really want to drive a new paradigm you need to change peoples behaviour. To do this one could choose to limit options. In this case, I think that if they offered everything then people are going to gravitate to what they know and nothing changes and opportunity to really drive change you stall out. I think Apple probably balanced these and other reasons for taking their time. 

    Regardless, it would difficult to argue that Apple did not consider the implications of leaving certain things out. I for one am glad they did as they forced me to reconsider how I interact with a computer. 

    Cheers. 
    Apple did think of adding those features to iPads.  For example, they had studies that the show how vertical screens were terrible from an ergonomic POV.  And also they criticize the "toaster/fridge" devices.  What is interesting is that at the end, that is what we have with the iPad w/ Magic Keyboard today.   At the end, it looks like you are glad  they forced you reconsider how to interact with a computer similar to MS had 5 years ago with the Surface Pro. 
    edited December 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 93
    But, of course...

    Can someone name one original idea from Microsoft?
    williamlondonwatto_cobraStrangeDays
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