Microsoft may follow Apple’s example and design its own custom in-house silicon, rather than relying on Intel for providing chips for its Surface notebooks. A recent job listing from the software giant shows that Microsoft is on the hunt for a “Director of SoC Architecture“, a full-time position within its Surface division. This doesn’t necessarily indicate that MS is planning on designing its own in-house Arm silicon. AMD offers customized versions of its mainstream processors for the Surface notebooks. Chances are that this position is meant for that very purpose.
If Microsoft does indeed plan on making its own chips, then it’ll have some major ramifications for Intel and the PC chipmaking industry. It’ll mean that Intel’s share in the notebook segment will decrease even further, with other OEMs like Dell, Lenovo, and Xiaomi considering similar solutions. As for why Microsoft would want to design its own chips, the reasons are twofold.
Firstly, it’d increase the profit margins by quite a bit. At present, Intel and AMD get paid a fair sum for the SoCs used in the Surface notebooks. With a custom in-house Arm chip, all this profit would go straight to Microsoft. Furthermore, having a tailormade processor means that it can be optimized specifically for the Surface, offering better battery life, and perhaps even more performance than the incumbent Intel CPUs.
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