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Microsoft Wants More Chip Engineers as Custom Silicon Ambitions Grow

Dina Bass and Ian King

(Bloomberg) -- On the same day Microsoft Corp. showed off some custom processors in its new Surface products in New York, the company was trying to hire even more chip designers to fuel its growing microprocessor-design ambitions. 

The company held a recruiting event Wednesday in Austin, Texas, seeking experienced “custom CPU/SoC design” engineers for jobs in Raleigh, North Carolina; Sunnyvale, California; and Fort Collins, Colorado, in addition to its headquarters in Redmond, Washington, according to a post on Microsoft-owned LinkedIn. SoC stands for system on a chip and it’s a single piece of silicon with multiple chips — widely used for smartphones.

All the locations except Redmond have deep chip talent connections. Qualcomm Inc.’s former server chip team was based in Raleigh and Sunnyvale is near Santa Clara, which is home to Advanced Micro Devices Inc., Intel Corp. and Nvidia Corp. AMD has another site in Fort Collins.

Microsoft works with each of those companies to customize chips and may be interested in recruiting some of their workers. The company has been increasingly designing parts or all of processors for things like HoloLens augmented reality goggles, cloud infrastructure and its own hardware. The overhauled Surface Pro X hybrid laptop and tablet announced Wednesday features a chip called Microsoft SQ1, which is based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon product with some changes, and also contains an artificial intelligence processor.

To contact the authors of this story: Dina Bass in Seattle at dbass2@bloomberg.netIan King in San Francisco at ianking@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Pollack at apollack1@bloomberg.net

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