First, it was Apple that said goodbye to Intel processors and announced months ago the transition to its own ARM chips in its desktops and laptops, but it seems that they are not the only ones considering that jump.
According to Bloomberg News, Microsoft is working on the design of its own ARM-based processors, chips that it would use in its servers and its cloud infrastructure, but which apparently could also be aimed at its Surface family of computers.
Problems for Intel (and AMD)
Bloomberg highlights how the servers in the data centers that make up the Azure platform are based on Intel processors, which are also used in most of the equipment in the Surface range.
In recent times, however, the company has begun to propose alternatives based on ARM processors like the Snapdragon SQ1 that was part of the Surface Pro X. A few months later they renewed that product with a slight variation of that microprocessor, the SQ2, co-developed between Microsoft and Qualcomm.
The movement they are talking about at Bloomberg seems especially focused on taking advantage of ARM-based chips in their data centers, but there could also be versions prepared to be used on their Surface.
ARM-based chips for servers
Things could become very complicated for Intel (and by extension AMD): Precisely the data center segment is a fundamental part of its business, and if the trend spreads to other manufacturers we could be witnessing a real market disruption with ARM-based chips as the absolute protagonists.
The question is not only that Microsoft designs these chips, but that its Windows 10 operating system (which has long had a version for ARM chips) takes advantage of all these features and offers a transparent transition to users.
Precisely one of the limitations of current computers based on ARM and Windows 10 ARM chips is in the software, which allows you to run 32-bit x86 applications and which just a few days ago began to allow the emulation of 64-bit applications. The challenge for the Redmond company if it decides to go this way is therefore colossal.