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Microsoft is getting cosier with ARM

Cooperation between British chip design firm ARM and Microsoft is intensifying, according to the president of ARM Taiwan, Philip Lu, speaking at a press conference in Taipei yesterday.

Lu said the pair were discussing the development of future processor architectures, Digitimes reports.

Lu refused to be drawn on the nature of the discussions, citing reasons of business confidentiality, but if they're not talking about smartphones and tablet PCs, many hats will be eaten.

Taiwan is the home of most many of the world's smartphone manufacturers. Most of these are built in Taiwanese-operated mega-factories in mainland China - Foxconn is an example that springs to mind.

ODMs and OEMs in Taiwan are reported to believe Microsoft is learning how best to run software on upcoming ARM architecture. Whether it tries to market a phone of its own again after its own-brand Kin debacle remains to be seen. It could of course be mulling a dedicated tablet OS to run on ARM which would miff old chum Intel big time. In that case, the outfit is so far behind Apple it barely ruffle feathers in Cupertino.

Lu said some 6.1 billion ARM-licensed chips shipped around the globe in 2010, up by 55 per cent over 2009. Of those chips, 62 per cent made their way into "mobile Internet-access devices" - a one-time favourite category of one Anand Chandrasekher.