Microsoft’s chip push continues with Azure Sphere: Securing gadgets with chips and Linux



Microsoft continued its unexpected push into the chip business by announcing “Azure Sphere,” combining a chip design, a cloud security service, and even a Linux (!) kernel to better secure billions of IoT devices around the world.

In 2016, Microsoft announced that it had co-designed an FPGA, a specific type of programmable chip that would enhance the intelligence of its cloud servers. Although Microsoft engineers had undoubtedly influenced the designs of various components, from mice to the Xbox, the FPGA was the first instance we know of where Microsoft claimed ownership of a chip. Now there’s a second: The Azure Sphere includes a fixed-function microcontroller (MCU) that Microsoft is licensing, royalty-free, to whoever wants it.

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