Microsoft is no stranger to hardware. Its computer mice and
keyboards have been among the best for over a decade, and now the
company is trying to take the lead in communication devices such as
headsets and Web cams.While it would be ridiculous to compare Microsoft's
hardware know-how with that of Dell, who manufactures or brands nearly
anything PC-related, it would also be wrong to say that the software
giant has no experience in producing and selling a PC. In fact,
Microsoft made one of the most successful 'PCs' in recent memory with
30 million sold worldwide.That's right, we're talking about the Xbox. Although the original
Xbox was composed of mainly off-the-shelf parts, it demonstrated that
Microsoft knew what it was doing. The Xbox 360 took it a step further
with more custom components designed to Microsoft's specifications.
So then, what's the next step for Microsoft? Believe it or not, it could be in-house chip design.
The New York Times interviews industry veteran and Microsoft engineer Charles P. Thacker, who tells about joint-labs in Redmond and Silicon Valley tentatively named the Computer Architecture Group.
Microsoft relies heavily on outside help to produce its console
product. While the specialized hardware makers have helped to create
powerful machines, outsourcing exposes Microsoft to certain levels of
instability and risk. A prime example would be NVIDIA's dispute, which
eventually lead to arbitration, with Microsoft over a supply agreement
for its Xbox chips. Microsoft's Computer Architecture Group may be an
effort to reduce its reliance on other companies.
A possible starting point could be in-house design for chips in laser mice, Web cams, fingerprint readers, and other Microsoft-branded hardware.
quote: Even with this its new endeavor at Computer Architecture Group, Microsoft is far away from producing chips at the caliber of specialists Intel, IBM, NVIDIA and ATI.
quote: I'd take a P3 or Athlon XP over any P4. Period. Less heat, less noise, less power requirements.
Negligible speed difference.
quote: Now, Intel is gearing up for quad cores, which will need ANOTHER chipset.
quote: Every series of Intel processors needs a different chipset. 800 series, 900 series, Core 2, and the single core chips that end in 1?
quote: My understanding is Microsoft didn't feel like paying what they had agreed to in their contract,
quote: Hurray for MS adding to the terror that is Bill Gates Idiocy