Apple launched its ARM-based M1 processors for Mac computers earlier this month. Now, Microsoft is also reported to be designing its own ARM-based processors for its servers and possibly for a future Surface devices, according to a recent Bloomberg report. The ARM-based processors will be used in servers for Microsoft's Azure cloud services and be based around ARM designs, the report says. Microsoft is also reportedly also exploring using another chip for some of its Surface devices.
Currently, Microsoft used Intel-based processors for most of its Azure cloud services, and most of the company's Surface lineup of computers. Microsoft has also worked with AMD and Qualcomm for custom chips for the Surface Laptop 3 and Surface Pro X devices. This, according to reports shows a willingness to reduce reliance on Intel chipsets. Responding to The Verge's query, Microsoft did not deny the development. "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," Microsoft’s communications chief Frank Shaw told The Verge.
Now, since Microsoft already co-engineered an ARM-based SQ1 chip for the Surface Pro X last year and followed it up with an SQ2 processor earlier this year, is an indicator that the company is capable of making its own ARM-based chipsets. AMD has also worked with Microsoft to create a custom version of its Ryzen processors for the Surface Laptop 3.
This move could be a significant concern for Intel, as more and more manufacturers are ending reliance on the chipmaker and coming up with their own ARM-based CPU's. Even Amazon, Microsoft's main cloud rival launched its ARM-based Graviton2 processors for AWS a year ago. However, ARM-based servers are a small part of the market right now, despite the performance and cost benefits that they offer. It is safe to assume that this will soon change.