Qualcomm and Microsoft allegedly have a secret exclusivity deal that is set to expire soon.
Microsoft has declined to make a version of Windows 11 available for Apple’s M1, M1 Pro, and M1 Max Macs that are built on an Arm architecture, and now we may know the reason — a secret exclusivity deal with Qualcomm.
A new report from XDA Developers explains that Qualcomm has long enjoyed this exclusive deal where it has collaborated with Microsoft and ensured it remains the sole company to offer its ARM chips for native Windows support. With the deal set to expire soon, the Windows on ARM space might just be ripe for more players with companies like MediaTek, Samsung, and even Apple’s M1 chips.
Apple silicon Macs do not offer Boot Camp and there is no official Windows support at the current time, leaving M1, M1 Pro, and M1 Max owners with few options for accessing Windows on their devices. In September, Microsoft said that an Arm version of Windows 11 for Apple silicon Macs through virtualization or otherwise is not “a supported scenario,” so there’s a chance that it still won’t happen.
Microsoft and Qualcomm have had a strong relationship over the years, XDA Developers notes. Both companies announced Windows on Arm back in 2016, and Microsoft also sourced Qualcomm chips for its Windows Phones.
Microsoft currently uses Intel-based processors for the majority of its Azure cloud services, and most of the company’s Surface lineup runs on Intel chips. Microsoft did break from tradition to work with AMD and Qualcomm for custom chips for its Surface Laptop 3 and Surface Pro X devices. There are even rumours that Microsoft is also working with AMD on Arm-based laptop processors.
Qualcomm, for its part, has its sights set on competing with Apple Silicon. The company, through its acquisition of startup Nuvia, is aiming to take on Apple’s proprietary silicon in the laptop chip space in “nine months.”