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Microsoft Likely Isn't Done Making Custom Silicon

(Image credit: Microsoft)

The new Microsoft SQ1 processor used in the Surface Pro X coming out in November probably won't be the only custom silicon the company develops.  Bloomberg reported yesterday that Microsoft held a recruiting event in Austin, Texas looking for experienced "custom CPU/SoC design" engineers.

At Microsoft's Surface event yesterday, the vendor refreshed its hardware lineup with new devices, including the Surface Pro Laptop, Surface Pro 7, Surface Earbuds and Surface Neo foldable smartphone. But the Surface Pro X stood out for being the only device to feature the company's new Microsoft SQ1 processor, a custom version of the Snapdragon 8cx that Qualcomm made to Microsoft's specifications, according to The Verge.

Bloomberg said Microsoft is hiring custom CPU and SoC design engineers in Raleigh, North Carolina, Sunnyvale, California, Fort Collins, Colorado and its headquarters in Redmond, Washington. Those locations don't seem like they were chosen at random; Qualcomm, AMD, Nvidia and Intel all have teams near those locations (Qualcomm has what Bloomberg described as its "former server chip team" in Raleigh).

Microsoft's efforts hardly come as a surprise. Tech companies have become increasingly keen on designing their own silicon. Apple, Google and many others all design their own custom chips. Some, like A13 Bionic that debuted with the iPhone 11, are in consumer devices. Other companies, such as Google and Facebook, use custom processors in their data centers. Microsoft isn't exactly breaking new ground.