updated 04:20 pm EDT, Fri October 20, 2006
Microsoft Produces Chips
Microsoft said today that it will take its first steps into chip design, reports the New York Times. The software developer announced that it will launch a new division within the company, initially named the Computer Architecture Group, to research and produce its own processors for its hardware. One key reason is the next Xbox, says the head of the new division, Charles Thacker. The game console currently relies exclusively upon outside hardware such as graphics from ATI and a CPU from IBM. The company is interested in voice recognition and other technologies where hardware and software are closely linked. Key to this change in Microsoft is a new process introduced by the University of California that can test entire computer designs virtually, rather than requiring physical prototypes. This will allow Microsoft to study the impact of a new concept immediately, says the Times' John Markoff.
The move is cited as further evidence of consolidation between Microsoft's hardware and software development, which began with the introduction of the original Xbox and was recently underscored by the unveiling of the Zune music player.