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Microsoft United Kingdom Hardware

Microsoft Signs License With ARM 148

G143 and several other readers let us know that Microsoft has signed a licensing deal with ARM. "Microsoft signed an agreement with the UK-based ARM, giving Microsoft access to some of the chip designer's intellectual property. The two companies have worked together since 1997, but Ian Drew, ARM's EVP of marketing, said this is the first time Microsoft has become a licensee of ARM's architecture, a move which will allow Microsoft to design their own microarchitecture. Other licensees include Qualcomm, Marvell, and Infineon. Neither company would reveal the cost of the license. Speculation about Microsoft's intentions includes wondering whether the company is taking aim at the iPad, or perhaps looking to produce a next-generation Xbox without the 360's heat problems."
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Microsoft Signs License With ARM

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 23, 2010 @12:40PM (#33004362)

    The CPU is in fact quite a minor part of the iPad. It is an Apple device, so the consumer's main focus will be on the affixed logo, and nothing but the logo. Frankly, Microsoft just doesn't have the right logo to appeal to the hipster/trustfund baby/neckbeard market that Apple has taken control of. No matter what CPU Microsoft uses, their devices won't be adopted by the iPad crowd as long as the logo isn't an Apple logo.

  • XBox Portable? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Reilaos ( 1544173 ) on Friday July 23, 2010 @12:40PM (#33004368) Homepage

    The first two things that come to mind when putting Microsoft and ARM together are Windows Phone 7 Phones and portable gaming systems, not slate tablets and full-on consoles.

  • Intel's reaction (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bonch ( 38532 ) on Friday July 23, 2010 @12:43PM (#33004402)

    I wonder what Intel's response is, especially since Microsoft is such a long-time partner. Apple went with A4, and here Microsoft is licensing ARM too. The emerging market is mobile computing, so what's the future for Intel? Surely, they can't live on x86 forever, and Atom currently isn't competitive with ARM when it comes to battery life.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 23, 2010 @12:48PM (#33004480)
    I have seen the ipad in the wild, and the bottom line is the damn things work and work well. I personally do not want one because of the software stranglehold. The fact that there are a large number of people who love their Apple i%DEVICE% is very telling. I meet damn few people who feel that way about MS products. Most people who use MS tolerate it and choose it because they think it is an "MS world." I love my linux system, but that is for mostly intangible reasons that make it worth the frustrations.

    The folks at Apple understand what people want and understand how people work. They are also unscrupulous. It is dangerous to underestimate the power of this combination. It is easy to ridicule them, but it is to our detriment if we do recognize it and confront it.

  • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wowbagger ( 69688 ) on Friday July 23, 2010 @12:53PM (#33004528) Homepage Journal

    "... ARMs supporting a CLR environment...."

    Actually, that would be my guess: Microsoft wants to make an ARM chip that implements the Common Language Runtime in the microarchitecture, just as some ARM chips now implement the Java runtime in the microarchitecture. They may also want to add instructions to bring even more Trusted Platform Computing Model down into the ARM core.

    They may also want to make an ARM core that implements a graphics accelerator more friendly to the Direct3D model (and less friendly to OpenGL ES) than is currently available.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Friday July 23, 2010 @12:55PM (#33004546) Journal
    It is something of a story, though: "Many semiconductor or IC design firms hold ARM licenses". Microsoft is, historically, neither of those things and; because of the number of existing ARM licensees, they can already get virtually any ARM based SoC configuration that you could reasonably desire, at highly competitive prices, off the shelf, without any sort of license.

    Microsoft using ARM cores would be a total non-story. I'm pretty sure that they already do, in a number of capacities. Becoming an ARM licensee, though, means that you have a plan that goes well beyond shoving some off-the-shelf chips into your product. Since MS doesn't seem like a logical entrant into the chip fab market, this development means that they have some kind of design demand up their sleeve that the market for commodity SoCs hasn't delivered....
  • Re:Hmm... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Friday July 23, 2010 @01:02PM (#33004646)

    Microsoft wants to make an ARM chip that implements the Common Language Runtime in the microarchitecture

    The thought of Microsoft shipping code that they cannot patch later is at least somewhat amusing to me.

  • The NINTENDO DS (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DeanCubed ( 814869 ) on Friday July 23, 2010 @02:15PM (#33005590)
    Both the Game Boy Advance and the Nintendo DS used ARM7 and ARM9 chips. Now that Nintendo is using a different company from Japan to produce the architecture for the upcoming 3DS, perhaps Microsoft has decided to get into the handheld console race. I don't think this has anything to do with Apple or PC-related plans. This is the beginnings of X-Boy
  • by Hal_Porter ( 817932 ) on Friday July 23, 2010 @04:10PM (#33007122)

    Maybe they'll do ARM core that can run x86 instructions, Jazelle style. I.e. the most common 90% would map to ARM instructions via an extra pipeline stage, the rest would fault into an emulator.

Fear is the greatest salesman. -- Robert Klein