Microsoft license ARM chip tech

Chipset designer ARM has announced that Microsoft is licensing its architecture, signifying a greater interest on the part of the software giant into the processors that power its Windows Phone 7 smartphone platform.  While no details as to the financial terms of the deal have been made public, according to Microsoft general manager KD Hallman, "with closer access to the ARM technology we will be able to enhance our research and development activities for ARM-based products."

That not only encompasses Windows Phone 7 but some devices running Windows 7 Embedded as well; the latter OS is being positioned as ideally suited to tablets and smartbook-style products, though recently Microsoft has seen brands like ASUS abscond to platforms like Android.  Microsoft and ARM have apparently been working closely since 1997, but this new agreement could allow Microsoft to produce their own ARM-based CPU similar to how Apple has struck out on its own with the Apple A4 that powers the iPad and iPhone 4.

Press Release:

Microsoft Licenses ARM Architecture
23 July 2010

ARM and Microsoft continue relationship with closer access to ARM IP

CAMBRIDGE, UK – July 23, 2010 – ARM and Microsoft Corp. today announced that they have signed a new licensing agreement for the ARM® architecture. The agreement extends the collaborative relationship between the two companies. Since 1997 Microsoft and ARM have worked together on software and devices across the embedded, consumer and mobile spaces, enabling many companies to deliver user experiences on a broad portfolio of ARM-based products.

"Microsoft is an important member of the ARM ecosystem, and has been for many years," said Mike Muller, CTO ARM. "With this architecture license, Microsoft will be at the forefront of applying and working with ARM technology in concert with a broad range of businesses addressing multiple application areas."

"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," said KD Hallman, general manager, Microsoft. "With closer access to the ARM technology we will be able to enhance our research and development activities for ARM-based products."

ARM licenses processor IP under a flexible licensing model, enabling highly integrated solutions for a variety of applications ranging from mobile devices to home electronics and industrial products. ARM customers can license the ARM architecture or specific processor implementations.

Details of the agreement will remain confidential.

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About ARM

ARM designs the technology that lies at the heart of advanced digital products, from wireless, networking and consumer entertainment solutions to imaging, automotive, security and storage devices. ARM's comprehensive product offering includes 32-bit RISC microprocessors, graphics processors, video engines, enabling software, cell libraries, embedded memories, high-speed connectivity products, peripherals and development tools. Combined with comprehensive design services, training, support and maintenance, and the company's broad Partner community, they provide a total system solution that offers a fast, reliable path to market for leading electronics companies. Find out more about ARM by following these links: