LONDON – Warren East, CEO of processor licensor ARM, says there is no story here.
East says that he and his CFO Tim Score were asked about AMD during analyst discussions over ARM's record first quarter financial results and that he had simply said that ARM has been trying to sell to AMD for long time – as ARM's shareholders would expect. And as AMD is rethinking its strategic options there is clearly a "heightened opportunity" to make that sale.
That AMD might abandon – or at least augment with licensed-in ARM processors – the x86 processor architecture that has defined the company for 20 years, is to think the unthinkable. But it clearly makes sense. Such a move could not happen overnight. It may take years with x86 processors from AMD hanging on in some applications but the general arguments seem compelling.
And such a move supports ARM's increasing rivalry with Intel and its position in the IBM/Globalfoundries Common Platform Architecture camp.
Since AMD made providing x86 cores its primary business, it has always been in the shadow of Intel. This is partly because as Intel is the definer of the architecture, AMD is always playing catch-up; trying to provide a code-compatible processor at a better price. And Intel, as market leader with phenomenally deep pockets, has been able to use a mixture of pricing and manufacturing leadership to keep AMD under pressure.
Indeed, AMD was forced to divest itself of in-house manufacturing two years ago as it could no longer afford to keep developing manufacturing technology and putting down billions of dollars to build wafer fabs in which to run them at the same time as developing microprocessors. That divestiture was the seed for the creation of Globalfoundries Inc., now one of its foundry partners.
Intriguing link @Yankiwi...there is an interesting analogy between Intel, Nokia, Microsoft etc. as large companies that once dominated their markets but now struggling to maintain their dominance...but they still have billions of dollars in the bank so you can't write them off just like that....Arm, Apple and Google might struggle one day too, this is a cycle of good capitalism that is healthy for all of us...Kris
AMD has long experience selling microprocessors into desktop, server and notebook computers. This is something which ARM has never been able to do because of a lack of Windows, until now.
Could AMD help ARM power up Windows-based computers?
Right, thereís no story here. ARM is always seeking another design compliment; Intel or otherwise. Trade here, exchange there, just another license. AMD abandon x86; never. $100,000 wafers for $4,000 wafers; not likely. Establish parity position in ARM cluster; possibly. Unique & differentiated; hard to say. Shadow of Intel; stepped on & dumped on & infiltrated & dismantled by Intel over, & over, & over again. Playing catch up; and that has something to do with being stepped on & dumped on; over & over & over again. Definer of x86 architecture and always playing catch up; Socket 7, first to 1 GHz, Hyper transport, 1st to 64 bit x86, first over 90 nanometer hurdle. Intel always uses others for their most risky prototypes. Code compatibility at a better price, sure, but only when Intel dumps below cost. Under pressure; more like forced under. From scaling down to scaling out; know Linux? And if only multiprocessing thatís more than distributed could make all those installed processors work meaning no more processors to sell; what would sales think? This margin; you do understand the difference between $100,000 wafers and $4,000 wafer donít you. Whatís not making sense here? 64 bit Windows efficient; bloat, bloat. Oh Samsung, you must mean the good Intel? Fusion dev conference; Iím wondering too? One always has to explain too Microsoft, exactly, why not combining with Intel makes financial sense. Yea, tablets, if the board said to anyone make meager processors below cost Iíd be upset with what that did to employee MBOís and enterprise profitability too. Destroy XEON, then you can afford dabble in tablet. ARM; maybe? But only if those wafers are worth a whole lot moore. x86 not worth second sourcing; are you out of your mind? Value of first source chips pays for everything else. Licensing x86 would essentially limit ARM to their little $600 million dollar island. Wake up.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for todayís commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.