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.
Can Radeon GPUs be made compatible with ARM? AMD sold ATI's Imageon GPU technology that was made to measure for ARM, and Qualcomm are now exploiting it as Adreno very aggressively and effectively. So if AMD take ARM licenses, what do they do for GPUs.
License back from Qualcomm? Yuk!
Start from scratch? Yuk!
License Mali? Yuk?
License ARM architecture including Mali? Hmm.
That would allow them to leverage their existing skills to differentiate their products.
Perhaps they could work together with ARM on future GPUs as nVidia say they are doing with CPUs.Just a thought.
Now I see why AMD's CEO. Dirk Meyer leave ... doing business in corporate enterprise market (Opteron: server, HPC) is diff from end-user consumer market (ARM: elec gadget). It'd like asking a traditional dance teacher to dance in the nightclub. But the decision moving to ARM sound logical since Microsoft is also joining the party.
P/S: With exception of new Brazo platform, I think main revenue from AMD's CPU processor did come from server rather then desktop/notebook.
Let me get this right --- the suggestion is that ARM abandons a market where they seem to have a 20% share and relatively stable financial situation (when averaged over longer periods) and go to a chip market where nobody but a few handset makers are making a profit and where instead of being a me-too in the a field of two they would be me-too in a field of 10's. Does anyone really think that TI and Samsung and Qualcomm are just going to roll over? Even if AMD instantly gets 20% of that ecosystem they will still make less money than with 20% of the PC share. And let's not exaggerate the importance of the availability of Windows on the ARM architecture. Windows has been available on Itanium since day 1 and I don't think that anyone is crediting it with the "smashing success" of that particular platform.
Actually, this is a new fact in the ARMx Intel battle.
For AMD is also a good strategy, but they donīt to finish working with x86 products. They can have both. So they will enter in the Qualcomm, TI, NVidea, Marvel market.
Of course, with the experience they have from the x86 market, they will be able to offer very interesting products that will face Intel.
AMD could extend its instruction decoder to support ARM instructions in addition to x86, and it may not even cost much die space. while this might not yet save lots of power, it would be a preparation step away from x86. over time more and more ARM-only cores can be added to the CPU. also, if done right, mixed-mode code could be made possible without help from microsoft. AMD should do it simply because intel was stupid enough to sell its ARM architecture license - a serious strategic mistake.
AMD FANS always happy: Intel's CPU share of a new high - people off the hook sooner or later x86 ARM
Intel continues to lead the process - people focus on R & D IBM
Intel must share the crown of semiconductor - SAMSUNG people make better
Intel's net harvest - people apple blue sky overhead rates
The possibility of only one probable outcome is highly likely; AMD will most likely license ARM cpus. 2 factors help the domination of X86 programs- the amount of installed X86 software, and shrinking die size of future Fusion APU's, Intel has gotten a 30% increase of performance and battery life with every die shrink - Llano should gain, as well as the C class APU's - Monte Carlo simulations and simultaneous HD at the same time, on a tablet or netbook?
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