Thursday March 09, 2017

Microsoft Pledges to Use ARM Server Chips, Threatening Intel's Dominance

Intel currently "controls more than 99 percent of the market for server chips," but that monopoly may be ending as Microsoft begins using ARM processors to power some of its server technologies. The company has initiated "Project Olympus," a new design that will utilize ARM chips for more flexibility and computing power at lower costs. Intel doesn’t seem worried, though, claiming that nothing beats Xeon. Microsoft has also partnered with NVIDIA for a server add-in box that utilizes the latter’s GPUs for AI processing tasks.

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Microsoft Corp. is committing to use chips based on ARM Holdings Plc technology in the machines that run its cloud services, potentially imperiling Intel Corp.’s longtime dominance in the profitable market for data-center processors. Microsoft has developed a version of its Windows operating system for servers using ARM processors, working with Qualcomm Inc. and Cavium Inc. The software maker is now testing these chips for tasks like search, storage, machine learning and big data, said Jason Zander, vice president of Microsoft's Azure cloud division.