Microsoft might be designing its own Surface processor

Ewdison Then - Oct 17, 2021, 10:49pm CDT
Microsoft might be designing its own Surface processor

It seems that the big game in the consumer tech market these days is for companies to design their own silicon in one form or another. Apple has, of course, been making the Apple A series of chips for iPhones and iPads far longer than its rivals, but Google has apparently started to catch on. Even Vivo jumped in on the game with its own V1 imagine signal processor. It’s really no surprise that Microsoft might be joining the bandwagon, though its exact plans are still up for much speculation and debate.

As one of the world’s biggest and oldest tech giants, Microsoft naturally has its hands in a lot of aspects of that industry. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Microsoft has been making its own silicon behind the scenes, but nothing that consumers would be able to see much less experience. That could be changing soon, especially with the trend in the consumer tech market of late.

According to HotHardware, Microsoft has posted a job listing looking for a Director of System-on-Chip (SoC) architecture. That alone, of course, isn’t a telltale sign of the company’s silicon plans, but it does suggest that it is gearing up for some serious action in that arena.

There were also rumors of a partnership between Microsoft and AMD over a custom processor, but not one that you might presume to be. Instead of an x86/x64 processor like AMD’s Ryzen chips, this is allegedly an ARM-based Cortex-X1 chip. This could be a jab at Qualcomm, however, who collaborated with Microsoft over the SQ1 and SQ2 chips in the Surface Pro X, basically modified Snapdragon processors based on the Snapdragon 8cx compute platforms.

A Surface silicon of its own could give Microsoft the same advantage that Apple and, soon, Google enjoy in fine-tuning both hardware and software experiences for their customers. That said, Microsoft hasn’t had the best luck when it comes to doing its own hardware, and it will be a rather big gamble if it goes down this path, especially if it risks ruffling Intel’s feathers.


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