Microsoft is reportedly working on a chip for its Surface devices

Microsoft is reportedly working on a chip for its Surface Devices
Microsoft could be working on its own chips for future Surface devices, a LinkedIn job listing suggests. Originally spotted by HotHardware, it reveals that the company is looking for a Director of SoC Architecture.

Although the LinkedIn post by no means proves that Microsoft is working on a custom chip, it's appearance roughly coincides with a rumor about Microsoft and AMD's collaboration on an Arm processor for laptops (via FrontTron). Apparently, it will lead to better graphics performance than Qualcomm silicon manufactured on older architecture. Per that report, the chip will use last year's Cortex-X1 core and mRDNA 2 GPU, and it will feature an Exynos modem for 5G connectivity. 

The next generation of Surface devices may flaunt a home-brewed 5nm chip

Here is what the job listing says:

Bloomberg said back in December 2020 that Microsoft was working on in-house chip designs for server computers that run its cloud service and was also exploring a chip for powering some of its Surface computers. At that time, the chip design unit was allegedly reporting to the head of the Azure cloud business, and not Surface boss Panos Panay. 

Microsoft has seemingly also poached processor engineers from Intel, AMD, Nvidia, and Qualcomm.

The Surface Pro X that was announced in October 2019 is fueled by a custom chip known as the Microsoft SQ1 that the company jointly developed with Qualcomm. 

An in-house chip will help Microsoft reduce its reliance on third-party vendors and it will also give it greater control over performance and costs. 

This is something some of its industry peers are already doing. Apple is highly likely to announce its second-generation Arm-based chip tomorrow for the new Macs and possibly next year's iPad Pros. Google has also made an in-house chip for its Pixel phones

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