ARM surges on Microsoft deal

SHARES?in microchip manufacturer ARM Holdings jumped yesterday on reports that Microsoft is working on a new version of Windows for tablet computers that would use the UK firm’s processors.

The electronics giant is expected to use the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January to unveil the software.

ARM’s shares surged 36.75p to a nine-year high of 440.25p – a rise of nine per cent.

An ARM spokesman said:?“ARM’s position is that we never comment on speculation about our products.”

ARM chips are already used in products that use Windows operating systems such as the Windows Phone and satellite navigation technology using Windows software.

But it is understood it would be the first time they would be used in a product such as a tablet computer using Windows software.

Microsoft is thought to be hoping to use the technology to regain an advantage lost to rivals Apple and Google in the pad and smartphone markets.

It only became clear that ARM-designed chips were used in Apple’s iPad following its launch in April after technology enthusiasts had taken the iPad apart and identified the parts.

Microsoft took out a licence on ARM technology in July, allowing it to use its designs for its own purposes.

The two companies have co-operated since 1997 but the new licence was seen as an expansion of their links.

Broker RBS said Windows Phone 7 runs exclusively on Arm, but Windows 7 runs exclusively on Intel’s architecture. The broker said it believed ARM chips in a Windows tablet computer may pave the way for them to be used in notebook, desktop and server computers.