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Microsoft’s Qualcomm exclusivity agreement for Windows on Arm would end soon

Qualcomm is said to have an exclusive deal with Microsoft for Windows on Arm licenses. The pair launched Windows on Arm laptops in 2016, and so far we haven’t seen any devices launched without a Qualcomm chip. XDA-Developers reports that Qualcomm has entered into a Windows exclusive deal on Arm, but it is expected to expire soon.

The report comes days after MediaTek held its executive summit with members of the media last week, where it shared its ambitions to create its own chip for Windows on Arm PCs.

If Microsoft’s exclusivity deal is about to end with Qualcomm, it could open the door for many more vendors that support Windows on Arm. Samsung, MediaTek, and even Apple’s M1 chips could eventually support Windows on Arm.

Microsoft’s customized Qualcomm SQ1 chip for the Surface Pro X (right).
Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Although you can run Windows on Apple Macs M1 through Parallels Desktop virtual machine software, Apple does not support Boot Camp on M1 Macs and Microsoft only licenses the Arm version of Windows to manufacturers of Windows. PC. It remains to be seen whether or not Microsoft would grant a Windows license on Arm to Apple, or Apple would support such a scenario.

Microsoft has also been working on designing its own Arm-based processors for servers and possibly future Surface devices. The software giant began work on the new chips over a year ago, and reports suggest they will be used primarily in servers in Microsoft’s Azure cloud services.

Microsoft currently uses Intel processors for the majority of its Azure cloud services, and most of the company’s Surface line runs on Intel chips. Microsoft has broken the tradition to work with AMD and Qualcomm on custom chips for its Surface Laptop 3 and Surface Pro X devices. There are even rumors that Microsoft is also working with AMD on Arm-based laptop processors. .

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