Now we might know why the Surface Go doesn’t have an ARM-based chip. Intel refused to let Microsoft use any other brand’s units for its latest Surface device, according to Thurrott.
Another supplier was set for the Surface Go, but Microsoft’s longtime partner couldn’t come to terms with that. The chipmaker intervened during development and vouched for the Pentium Gold. While Microsoft still had the opportunity to ignore Intel’s request, it caved and reverted back to an x86-based chip.
The report doesn’t say which competitor was selected as a replacement; however, all signs would indicate Qualcomm as the top pick.
In recent years, Microsoft and Qualcomm have been working together to make Windows on ARM possible. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 is already at the core of a few machines, but soon the Snapdragon 850 will replace it. The upgrade in performance should be dramatic. As these laptops and tablets gain traction, more consumers will understand the improvements in efficiency.
Intel, meanwhile, doesn’t have much going on for portability. It failed to capitalize on the mobile industry, and there aren’t many computers with LTE-enabled modems. Microsoft hopes the latter will change after Windows on ARM takes off.
Despite the disappointment for some consumers, the Surface Go might’ve benefitted from having the Pentium Gold rather than the Snapdragon 835. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 series still lags behind what Intel’s chips can do. In the future, maybe Qualcomm could finally steal Microsoft as a client. But, for now, Intel has some influence left.
Microsoft’s other Surface devices, like the Surface Pro and Surface Laptop, are expected to keep Intel’s Core series chips for their next models.