Microsoft to develop future Xbox chips

Chipping away from former and current hardware partners Intel IBM, Microsoft has decided to develop game console processors itself, reports The New York Times. Design and testing of new chips is headed to Microsoft's own internal labs in Redmond, WA and Mountain View, CA.

The new research group, titled the "Computer Architecture Group," has a strong focus on Microsoft's Xbox division. Charles P. Thacker, a Microsoft engineer who will be in charge of the Silicon Valley team, said that the company needs to "begin thinking about the next-generation design of its Xbox game console."

Additionally, Microsoft plans to lead the console segment with voice recognition technology, which Thacker said could become an important part of the new focus of research and design of computer chips. "Voice is big. You can throw as much technology at it as you want to," he said. Voice recognition is also promoted as a new, more user-friendly feature for Windows Vista, Microsoft's next-generation operating system due out next year.

The underlying message is that hardware and software are becoming more closely integrated, and with Microsoft controlling both areas, they can better control that integration.