What deal did Microsoft make with Qualcomm over notebooks?

Qualcomm Snapdragon logoThere have been a lot of rumors about Qualcomm and Microsoft’s deal surrounding WARTBooks. SemiAccurate has been digging into this deal for a while and can finally say what is actually happening.

In the seven or so years that Qualcomm has been attempting to break into the notebook market, it is hard to call their efforts anything but pathetic. The devices, now called WARTBooks, are powered by chips that have never risen to the level of phoning it in. On a warm day with a tailwind, they are roughly two generations behind their phone SoC counterparts so a simple silicon swap would bring things closer to the level of laughable performance.

The sad part about this whole ‘effort’ has been the impact it has on ARM’s reputation. Apple, Amazon, and Ampere have shown what can be done, Qualcomm bookends the offerings on the other end. But there have been no challengers to the WARTBook crown in those intervening seven years, it seems no one wants to fight for those hundreds of real world unit sales, several of which aren’t immediately returned. Surely someone should have taken a shot at this ‘lucrative’ market by now, right?

There is actually a good reason for this state of affairs, both the poor performance of Qualcomm’s silicon and the lack of competition to drive the market. Any guesses as to what that reason is?

Note: The following is for professional and student level subscribers.

Disclosures: Charlie Demerjian and Stone Arch Networking Services, Inc. have no consulting relationships, investment relationships, or hold any investment positions with any of the companies mentioned in this report.

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and SemiAccurate.com. SemiAccurate.com is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of SemiAccurate.com, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also available through Guidepoint and Mosaic. FullyAccurate