Microsoft inks licence for ARM architecture

Microsoft has signed an architectural licence with Brit chip shop ARM, but both companies are staying tight-lipped about the details.

The Redmond outfit has had a long association with the UK chip designer, but until now that relationship has been restricted to using ARM-designed silicon manufactured by third parties in Microsoft embedded devices and phones.

The new licence offers Microsoft the chance to create its own chips based on ARM designs something along the lines of the way Apple is rumoured to have with the A4 SoC chip found in the iPad and iPhone 4.

Microsoft is also thought to be mulling the possibility of using ARM's low-draw chips in its Bing server farms in order to decrease power consumption.

ARM chips appear in just about every mobile device you could care to name, but the company is known to be branching out into laptop and even desktop computers.

Whether the new deal will affect the long-term partnership between Microsoft and chip giant Intel remains to be seen as all of the involved parties have maintained a shroud of secrecy.

“Microsoft is an important member of the ARM ecosystem, and has been for many years. With this architecture licence, Microsoft will be at the forefront of applying and working with ARM technology in concert with a broad range of businesses addressing multiple application areas," was all we could get out of ARM boss Mike Muller.