DMR News

Advancing Digital Conversations

Sources Indicate MediaTek Is Developing Arm-Based Chips for Microsoft’s AI-Enabled Laptops

ByYasmeeta Oon

Jun 12, 2024

Sources Indicate MediaTek Is Developing Arm-Based Chips for Microsoft’s AI-Enabled Laptops

TAIPEI/SAN FRANCISCO — In a bold move that could reshape the competitive landscape of the PC hardware industry, Taiwanese semiconductor company MediaTek is reportedly developing an Arm-based chip designed to run Microsoft’s Windows operating system. This development is poised to challenge the dominance of traditional chipmakers and aligns with Microsoft’s latest technological ambitions.

MediaTek, a giant in chip design, is harnessing Arm Holdings’ technology to create a processor capable of running sophisticated artificial intelligence applications, which are increasingly becoming central to consumer computing. This initiative mirrors a broader industry trend where major tech companies are shifting towards Arm’s architecture, known for its efficiency and adaptability.

Last month, Microsoft unveiled a new generation of Windows laptops powered by Arm technology. These devices are tailored to leverage the capabilities of AI, marking a significant pivot in Microsoft’s strategy. This move is seen as a direct challenge to Apple, which has been integrating its own Arm-based chips into Mac computers for approximately four years.

The anticipated MediaTek chip is integral to Microsoft’s strategy to optimize Windows for Arm architecture, a transition that could potentially diminish Intel’s long-standing supremacy in the PC market.

Following the news, MediaTek’s shares on the Taipei exchange saw an uptick of about 1.6% in Wednesday morning trading, significantly outperforming the broader index’s 0.5% gain.

  • Exclusivity Expiry: Qualcomm’s exclusive deal with Microsoft, allowing only Qualcomm to supply Arm-based chips for Windows laptops, is set to expire next year.
  • Launch Timeline: MediaTek’s PC chip is targeted for a late next year launch, post-qualcomm exclusivity.
  • Design Basis: The chip is based on Arm’s ready-made designs, facilitating faster development due to the utilization of pre-tested components.

It remains unclear whether Microsoft has officially approved MediaTek’s PC chip for inclusion in the Copilot+ Windows program. This approval is crucial for MediaTek as it would cement their position as a key player in the new era of Windows computing.

The expiry of Qualcomm’s exclusive arrangement opens the door for other chip designers to contribute to Microsoft’s Arm-based initiatives. Historically, Windows PCs have relied heavily on chips from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), but the shift to Arm technology is inviting new players to the field.

Both Nvidia and AMD are also exploring Arm designs for Windows PCs, with Nvidia’s efforts reportedly being supported by MediaTek in a separate collaboration from MediaTek’s own PC chip project.

CompanyStrategyCollaborationExpected Launch
MediaTekIndependent chip for Windows PCsNoneLate next year
QualcommExclusive supplier till 2024MicrosoftOngoing
NvidiaDeveloping Arm chip for Windows PCsMediaTekTBA
AMDExploring Arm designsNoneTBA

The development of an advanced chip like the one MediaTek proposes typically takes more than a year, factoring in the intricacies of design and testing. Arm executives have noted that using ready-made components can reduce this timeline significantly — one of their clients managed to produce a chip in about nine months using such components, though MediaTek’s design is not yet complete.

In 2016, Microsoft selected Qualcomm to lead the transition of Windows to Arm’s processor architecture, which has been predominant in smartphones. This historical context underscores the strategic importance of the current developments and the potential impact on the PC market.

As the exclusivity period with Qualcomm comes to an end, the PC chip market stands on the brink of a new competitive era. MediaTek’s entry not only signifies diversification in terms of technological partnerships but also highlights the evolving dynamics of an industry increasingly influenced by advancements in artificial intelligence and efficiency-driven designs.

With significant developments on the horizon, the PC industry may be gearing up for a major transformation where power efficiency and AI capabilities become the leading factors driving consumer choices and corporate strategies in the computing world.

Related News:

Featured Image courtesy of DALL-E by ChatGPT

Yasmeeta Oon

Just a girl trying to break into the world of journalism, constantly on the hunt for the next big story to share.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *