Microsoft Working On CPU Architecture?

The NY Times has posted an extremely interesting article regarding Microsoft's new efforts to design their own CPU. To this end, Microsoft has formed what is tentatively known as the "Computer Architecture Group" and will utilize resources from both the Redmond headquarters and Santa Clara campus. Although many will be quick to assume Microsoft is gearing to do battle with Intel and AMD on the PC front, there is a distinct possibility that Microsoft's true goal with this effort is to tackle the consumer electronics market in general. Looking at the scalability of Sony's Cell architecture and its ability to be used in everything from the Playstation 3 to televisions and microwaves, it is easy to see how Microsoft could benefit from having their own architecture. Here, OEM's and ODM's would be presented with platforms consisting of Microsoft hardware running Microsoft software. In addition, engineers would also have significantly more design liberty with Microsoft's own internal projects such as the next generation XBox game console and Zune media player. Overall, a very interesting read for those who are into "big picture" sort of topics.

Microsoft is exploring hardware design now in part because of a new set of tools that will make it possible to test ideas quickly, he said. The researchers will employ a system designed by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, that makes it possible to reconfigure computer designs without the cost of making finished chips.