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ARM chip exclusivity deal rumoured between Microsoft and Qualcomm

Qualcomm and Microsoft reportedly have an exclusivity deal in place for Windows on ARM chip production – and it’s set to expire.

That’s the claim being made in a new report from XDA-Developers, and it’s one that will put chip makers such as MediaTek and Samsung on notice.

If you’ve always wondered why every Microsoft Windows machine running on ARM architecture has utilised a Qualcomm chip since the initiative kicked off in 2016, this report supplies a compelling reason. It could be that no other chip maker has been allowed a seat at the table.

As the report says, this runs slightly counter to Microsoft’s previous claims that anyone could make a Windows on ARM chip. But it seems equally clear that Qualcomm has been the preferred choice to date.

It’s not clear when this exclusivity deal will expire, just that it will happen “soon”.

Last week we reported on the news that MediaTek is gearing up to take on Qualcomm with its first flagship-level mobile chip. The last line of that story mentioned that the company was also gunning for Qualcomm’s position in the emerging Windows 11 ARM PC market.

This would certainly seem to tie in with latest suggestion that Qualcomm’s privileged position in the Windows on ARM market is about to end.

Samsung will also likely be taking a keen interest, given the news of its impending new Exynos chip built in collaboration with GPU specialist AMD.

It could even be of interest to Microsoft’s old arch rival Apple, with its custom M1 chips not officially supported to run Windows 11 at present.

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