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URL:  http://boards.fool.com/some-people-believe-that-intel-will-eat-arms-30386250.aspx

Subject:  Re: INTC: Value stock? Date:  11/16/2012  8:32 PM
Author:  putnid Number:  12378 of 23720

Some people believe that Intel will eat ARM's lunch in mobile while others believe the opposite (I'm in the second group). Intel makes what is in essence a standard product in their foundry. ARM allows mobile makers to custom design their chips based on one of several ARM architectures. When using a standard chip you end up with a standard product, not one that differentiates itself significantly from the pack. According to the article "ARM states that there are over 80 licensees for the Cortex family." That's at least 80 firms that are not going to become Intel customers, maybe more. - captainccs

Your takeaway from the Fool blog post is flawed in its understanding regarding the competitive distinctions between Intel and ARMH.In brief, TXN is exiting the mobile market because it's determined that its chip, based on an ARM-licensed core architecture, struggles to compete against other chip-makers also using ARM-licensed core architectures with custom overlays. OK. I get that. It's tough to compete in a market where a whole lotta players develop custom chips around a generic core.

Here's a good overview of the ARM architecture that's being licensed to whomever wants to pay to play:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARM_architecture

The ARM architecture describes a family of computer processors designed in accordance with a RISC CPU design developed by British company ARM Holdings. ARM architecture has been in development since 1990 and is the most widely used 32-bit instruction set architecture, in numbers produced.

Using the RISC approach, the core ARM processor requires only 35,000 transistors, compared to the millions in many conventional processor chips, resulting in lower power usage and making it very attractive in smaller devices. The company ARM Holdings does not manufacture its own electronic chips, but assigns different licenses to semiconductor manufacturers. It is thus easy for companies to build a low-energy system on a chip for an embedded system incorporating memory, interfaces, radios, etc. The earliest example was the Apple Newton tablet but this same approach is still used in the Apple A4 and A5 chips in the iPad.

In 2011, ARM's customers reported 7.9 billion ARM processors shipped, representing 95% of smartphones, 90% of HDDs, 40% of digital televisions & set-top boxes, 15% of microcontrollers and 20% of mobile computers.


In short, what we have here is a chip architecture requiring low power mostly as a consequence of the fact that it offers limited computational capability. There's a big market for chips like that, and I expect that ARMH will