Microsoft rumored to support more ARM chipsets as Qualcomm exclusivity set to end

Kareem Anderson

Despite nearly non-existent sales and a perceived stagnation of the platform, the Windows on Arm space has seen a lot of industry movement over the past few weeks, and a new rumor could shake it up further.

According to journalist Rich Woods over at XDA, a Windows/Qualcomm exclusivity deal could be sun-setting soon and opening the floodgates to additional support from chipset makers such as MediaTek and Samsung.

While Woods confidently claims there is an “exclusivity deal” between Microsoft and Qualcomm, there is little official documentation to support it. However, the reality is all but apparent.

Qualcomm has been the only WoA partner Microsoft has shown off at industry events, partnered with on device launches and engineered Windows support for.

However, with MediaTek planning to build chipsets for Windows on ARM and Microsoft’s recent announcement of the platform’s last days of support on Windows 10, it would seem the company is bracing for a possible influx of varying chipset support from a wider range of partners for Windows 11 on ARM.

Samsung’s recent partnership with AMD to boost the GPU performance to create desktop level ARM chips is another sign that the company may be looking to fill its next wave of Galaxy Books with these new chipsets.

If the deal is set to end soon, Qualcomm isn’t going quietly into the figurative Windows-night. Instead, the company announced last week that it would be producing Apple M1 competitive silicon by 2023 using a new architecture structure and lead by former Apple silicon team members from Nuvia.

As previously mentioned, the WoA platform has seemingly stagnated since its inception in 2016. WoA has been slow to gain developer support, slow to move meaningful sales of devices to spur developer interest, and even slower to optimize its ARM64EC translation layer to help fill in gaps currently with devices.

Hopefully, a diversity of chipsets will give Microsoft enough of a shot in the arm to start refining and expanding its efforts for the WoA platform and eventually combine its Surface Pro 8 and Pro X efforts into a single do-everything-device.