MediaTek Gearing Up to Challenge Qualcomm in Windows Arm Market

MediaTek is reportedly working to take on Qualcomm in the market for Arm-powered Windows computers once Qualcomm's exclusive deal expires....
MediaTek Gearing Up to Challenge Qualcomm in Windows Arm Market
Written by Matt Milano
  • MediaTek is reportedly working to take on Qualcomm in the market for Arm-powered Windows computers once Qualcomm’s exclusive deal expires.

    Qualcomm has an exclusive deal to produce Arm-based chips for Windows PCs. Although there is no known official end date for the agreements, its believed to be ending sometime in 2024. MediaTek appears poised to take advantage of the deal’s end.

    According to Reuters, three sources said the Taiwanese company is working on its own MediaTek PC chip, set to launch at the end of 2025. The outlet reports the MediaTek chips will utilize Arm’s existing designs, which will significantly speed up development and production.

    MediaTek already has a well-earned reputation for developing solid-performing chips that go head-to-head with Qualcomm’s best. As a result, there’s every reason to believe that a Windows PC chip designed by MediaTek will perform favorably compared to Qualcomm’s best.

    More importantly, a PC chip made by MediaTek could provide a good alternative for Microsoft and PC makers, given Qualcomm’s legal issues with Arm. Arm sued Qualcomm in mid-2022 after the latter purchased Nuvia and began using its designs to improve its Snapdragon line of chips.

    Nuvia was a chip designer founded by former Apple engineers. The firm licensed Arm designs to serve as the basis for its chips. Arm says that any designs it licensed to Nuvia required the company’s consent to transfer to another company—such as Qualcomm.

    Arm said in a statement at the time it filed suit:

    Because Qualcomm attempted to transfer Nuvia licenses without Arm’s consent, which is a standard restriction under Arm’s license agreements, Nuvia’s licenses terminated in March 2022. Before and after that date, Arm made multiple good faith efforts to seek a resolution. In contrast, Qualcomm has breached the terms of the Arm license agreement by continuing development under the terminated licenses.

    Arm wants all Qualcomm chips based on Nuvia designs, including the latest Snapdragon X chips, to be destroyed. Given that Microsoft has just unveiled its Qualcomm-powered Copilot+ PCs, a legal victory for Arm could be disastrous for Microsoft and its PC partners.

    A chip by MediaTek could be a boon for the burgeoning Windows on Arm market in its own right. As an insurance policy amid the threat of Qualcomm losing its legal fight with Arm a MediaTek chip could be pure gold.

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