Google has designed and built its own custom-made servers for years now, but those boxes still use components designed and built by other companies. That could one day change, however: citing the ever-nebulous "person with knowledge of the matter," Bloomberg reports that Google is looking into designing its own ARM-based chips for its custom servers.
We've already seen consumer technology companies like Apple and Samsung become more vertically integrated in the last few years—Apple designs its own phones and tablets, the chips that go in them, and the architecture that goes into the chips, for example. Just as Apple's software benefits from tight integration with Apple's hardware, Google is reportedly eyeing chip design as a way to "better manage the interactions between hardware and software." However, this is in no way a done deal. The same source telling Bloomberg about the chips notes that Google's plans aren't set and are subject to change.
The Bloomberg report goes on to frame Google's reported chipmaking ambitions as a threat to Intel, though this theory doesn't necessarily hold water. Google, Facebook, and other big companies already build their own servers, and yet the wider server market carries on. In any case, the battle between ARM and x86 for the server room won't begin in earnest until at least late 2014; that's when the first chips based on the 64-bit Cortex A53 and A57 architectures are due to begin shipping.