Qualcomm’s Hidden Windows Deal: Exclusive for Much Longer

Even if it’s not an Intel or AMD CPU, the next Windows laptop you buy might instead have an Arm-based processor.

The demise of Qualcomm and its Snapdragon chips has been a long time coming. According to a new XDA Developers report, the fact that Qualcomm SoCs are only used in Arm-based PCs is due to an exclusivity agreement between Qualcomm and Microsoft for Windows on Arm.

The HP Envy X2 and the Asus NovaGo are two examples of the first Windows devices to use Qualcomm’s Arm chips. These were among the first PCs with all-day battery life to utilize Arm processors, and they were released in 2016.

Qualcomm’s exclusivity agreement with Microsoft for Windows on Arm is said to be set to expire soon, according to people familiar with the situation, although an actual date has yet to be revealed.

Qualcomm has just begun to dominate the market.

Mediatek recently confirmed its intentions to create Arm-based chips for Windows PCs at a recent Executive Summit it held. “The long running Windows/Intel or Wintel partnership could be affected by opening up Windows on Arm to additional chipmakers,” said VP of corporate sales and business development at Mediatek, Eric Fisher, while speaking at the summit.

“Apple has shown the world that it can be done. The Wintel partnership that’s gone on for so long has to be under some pressure, and when there’s pressure, there’s an opportunity for companies like ours.”

Qualcomm’s exclusive license with Microsoft will expire once the two companies’ agreement expires, allowing Samsung, Exynos processors, and even Apple’s M1 chips to power Windows on Arm.