Microsoft is designing its own ARM-based processors for servers and possibly a future Surface device, according to Bloomberg News. The processors will be used in servers for Microsoft’s Azure cloud services and be based around ARM designs, according to the report. Microsoft is also reportedly “exploring” using another chip for some of its Surface devices, but it’s not clear if this will progress into a final product.
Microsoft currently uses Intel-based processors for the majority of its Azure cloud services, and most of the company’s Surface lineup run on Intel chips, too. Microsoft has worked with AMD and Qualcomm for custom chips for its Surface Laptop 3 and Surface Pro X devices, showing a willingness to move away from just Intel.
Microsoft co-engineered an ARM-based SQ1 processor for the Surface Pro X last year and followed this up with an SQ2 variant a couple of months ago. AMD also worked with Microsoft to create a custom version of its Ryzen processor for the Surface Laptop 3.
A move to ARM on the server side is certainly more significant, particularly for Intel. Apple has already signaled its move away from Intel chips for its Mac products, with its own M1 silicon based on ARM designs. Intel’s Xeon server chips currently rule the server market, and AMD has already been chipping away at this lucrative market with its own EPYC processors.
We’ve reached out to Microsoft to comment on the report, and we’ll update you accordingly.