Microsoft sets its sights on developing proprietary processors for Azure servers. For this purpose, the tech giant is recruiting Mike Filippo, a prominent Apple chip architect.

Bloomberg reports that Microsoft recently hired Mike Filippo from Apple. Filippo is an experienced semiconductor designer with an extensive background at Intel and Arm. At Microsoft, he will focus on developing processors within the Azure division.

Developing own processors

According to Bloomberg, attracting Filippo indicates that Microsoft wants to design proprietary processors for the servers that make up Azure. Doing so would Microsoft’s public cloud less dependent on processors from Intel and AMD, on which the current Azure server farm runs.

Microsoft’s chip ambitions are nothing new. Microsoft has been aspiring proprietary processors for its server farm and Surface devices for at least two years. For example, the Surface Pro X laptop is equipped with a Microsoft CPU.

Competition

If Microsoft furthers its processor development, it is likely to threaten the position of Intel and AMD. Competition in the chip market is fierce. Google is developing proprietary processors for its Google Cloud server farm. AWS has its Graviton processors, which are actively being installed in AWS instances. Apple has had its own M1 processors for some time, and Meta is said to be working on homegrown processors as well.

There are multiple reasons for the burst of interest among tech giants. First and foremost, the organizations want to depend less on large chip manufacturers. The chip shortage plays a significant role. Tech giants with major public cloud environments don’t have the time to wait for delayed processor deliveries. Producing their own is a step towards the solution to the chip crisis.

Tip: Why the global chip shortage will persist in 2022