Microsoft and semiconductor company ARM are extending their ongoing relationship. It's speculated that Microsoft's gaming devices may benefit even more than its desktops and notebooks.
ARM and Microsoft "have signed a new
licensing agreement for the ARM
architecture," the two announced in a joint statement July 23. The
companies have worked together since 1997 "on software and devices across
the embedded, consumer and mobile spaces," and the new agreement, they
said, will extend this relationship.
"Microsoft is an important member of the ARM
ecosystem, and has been for many years," ARM
CTO Mike Muller said in the statement.
"With this architecture license, Microsoft will be at the forefront of
applying and working with ARM technology in
concert with a broad range of businesses addressing multiple application
The statement offered no specific details on the agreement, leaving much
room for speculation and guesswork.
Some suspect the new application areas could include a tablet device-the
quickly growing category that's attracted the interest of manufacturers such as
Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Lenovo, and in which a wide range of operating
systems are or will be used, including Google's Android, Apple's iOS, HP's
WebOS and Microsoft's Windows 7. It's been suggested that, as Nintendo uses ARM
processors in its gaming consoles, the renewed agreement could eventually
affect Microsoft's Xbox 360 console,
which reportedly tends to run hot and so could benefit from some ARM
"My view is that this is extending a long-term agreement between
Microsoft and ARM, allowing Microsoft to
take advantage of the latest ARM processor
designs," John Spooner, an analyst with Technology Business Research, told
eWEEK. "It would make sense from a couple of different angles for
Microsoft to do this. First, to be able to use ARM
processors in its own devices-which could be portable music players or gaming
machines. Or could be something else that's new."
The second angle, Spooner added, "would be to maintain its ability to
develop software for those latest processors."
In a statement, Microsoft General Manager KD Hallman said ARM
is an important partner for Microsoft, which delivers multiple operating
systems using ARM's architecture.
"With closer access to the ARM
technology," Hallman said, "we will be able to enhance our research
and development activities for ARM-based