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Microsoft ‘working on’ own ARM-based chips for Surface, just like Apple Silicon

Microsoft may be following Apple’s lead by developing its own processors for the Surface range of PCs, according to a new report.

A Bloomberg scoop says Microsoft is also using ARM-based designs for chips developed in-house, just like Apple did with the new M1 platform for new Apple Silicon MacBooks Air and MacBook Pro laptops and Mac mini desktops.

The report says Microsoft is looking primarily looking to develop the chip to power its data centres, but use in Surface products is “possible” according to one of the sources cited by Bloomberg.

Microsoft did not comment on whether its work on silicon could power its data centres or future Surface devices, but did say it is “investing in our own capabilities.”

Spokesperson Frank Shaw told Bloomberg: “Because silicon is a foundational building block for technology, we’re continuing to invest in our own capabilities in areas like design, manufacturing and tools, while also fostering and strengthening partnerships with a wide range of chip providers.”

The potential move could have huge ramifications for the computing world, with Intel in particular under threat. Microsoft currently uses Intel for the vast majority of its Surface PCs, as Apple did for its entire computing range.

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Microsoft developing its own chips could lessen its dependence on Intel, but could cause huge damage to the supplier at the same time. Indeed, Intel shocks are down 6.3%, partially as a result of today’s news.

So far the switch to Apple Silicon looks to be paying off for the Mac maker, with owners of the recently-released MacBooks and Mac mini products enjoying blazing fast speeds, access to iOS apps on the desktop and better battery life.

Could Surface users be looking forward to similar benefits? By the sound of the report, the project may still be in its early stages so it might be a while before any plans come to fruition.

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