Sources say MediaTek designs Arm-based chips for Microsoft’s AI laptops

Taiwanese chip design giant MediaTek is developing an Arm-based personal computer chip that will run Microsoft’s Windows operating system, three people familiar with the matter said.

Last month, Microsoft unveiled a new generation of laptops with chips designed around Arm Holdings technology, providing enough horsepower to run the artificial intelligence applications that executives say are the future. of consumer computing. MediaTek chips aim at this effort.

The software company’s plans are aimed at Apple, which has released its own Arm-based chips for Mac computers for about four years. And Microsoft’s decision to optimize Windows for Arm could threaten Intel’s long-term dominance of the PC market.

MediaTek and Microsoft declined to comment.

MediaTek’s Taiwan-listed shares closed up 2.4% on Wednesday, outpacing the broader index’s 1.2% gain.

Two sources said the MediaTek PC chip will launch at the end of next year after Qualcomm’s exclusive agreement to supply chips for laptops expires. The chip is based on Arm’s pre-made designs, which can significantly speed up development because less design work is needed by using pre-made and tested chip components.

It is unclear whether Microsoft will approve MediaTek’s PC chips for the Windows Copilot program.

Arm executives said one of their customers used ready-made components to build a chip in about nine months for a finished design, which MediaTek did not. For experienced chip design businesses, advanced chips often take more than a year to build and test, depending on complexity.

In 2016, Microsoft chose Qualcomm to take the lead in migrating the Windows operating system to Arm’s underlying processor architecture, which powered smartphones with long battery life and small batteries. Microsoft granted Qualcomm an exclusive deal to develop Arm-based Windows-compatible chips until 2024, Reuters reported last year.

As Qualcomm’s exclusivity agreement with Microsoft is about to expire, other designers have chosen to produce chips to support Microsoft’s latest effort to use Arm designs. For decades, Windows machines have relied on chip architecture produced by Advanced Micro Devices and Intel.

Nvidia and AMD are working on an Arm design for Windows machines, Reuters reported last year. Nvidia’s push for its PC chips has help from MediaTek, according to a person familiar with the matter. MediaTek’s efforts on PC chips differ from its partnership with Nvidia, the two people said.

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