Azure: Microsoft hires former Apple chip designer

Microsoft on Wednesday confirmed the hiring of Mike Filippo, Apple’s former chip designer, who will play a key role in designing the company’s Arm processors. According to Bloomberg, the engineer will work within Microsoft’s cloud computing service, Azure, to produce custom processors. He will be able to bring his long experience in chip design, having previously worked at Apple, Intel Corp and Arm.

Over the past decade, Mike Filippo has led the development of various Arm chips and was originally brought into Apple’s team to work on its M1 chip in 2020. This new hire suggests Microsoft is prioritizing its project to manufacture its own chips to power Azure, initially unveiled two years ago.

As a reminder, Microsoft has previously said it is exploring using a single chip to power some of its Surface PCs. Microsoft’s decision to create its own Arm chips follows Apple’s decision to produce its own Arm-based M1 processor, officially launching in fall 2020.

A decision justified by the current shortage?

In November, Microsoft further announced the release of its Pluto security processor which boasts chip-to-cloud security technology. Lenovo’s ThinkPad Z13 and ThinkPad Z16, slated for release in May, will be the first laptops to feature the Pluto chip.

The move by tech companies like Microsoft and Apple to produce their own chips is proving wise as virtually every industry is impacted by the global chip shortage that began during the pandemic.

According to a recent report by Globaldata, the chip shortage we have witnessed for the past two years will remain a major problem in 2022, mainly due to new variants of Covid-19. However, analysts say they expect the chip shortage to be resolved when Western governments invest more in domestic chip manufacturing.


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