I am writing this at 38,000 feet on my way to California primarily to attend ARM TechCon, the conference and exhibition organized by EE Times' publisher UBM Electronics on behalf of processor intellectual property licensor ARM Holdings plc (Cambridge, England).
I don't see Warren East, CEO of ARM, on the flight but East flying west would make sense as he scheduled to be in downtown San Francisco on Tuesday (Oct. 30) and to provide a keynote address to ARM TechCon on Thursday (Nov. 1). And I have a hunch these may not be East's only speaking engagements.
On Monday processor vendor Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (Sunnyvale, Calif.) is also holding a press conference in downtown San Francisco. CEO Rory Read and Lisa Su, senior vice president and general manager of global business units are due to present on the company's "ambidextrous strategy" and there will be an as yet unnamed special guest!
AMD is gradually and painfully trying to drag itself away from a dependence on the x86 processor architecture and the personal computer market. The company has been trying to effect this change for some time and for the last several months has referred to a strategy that would build on the company's history of x86 and graphics innovation while embracing other technologies and intellectual property.
In the recent conference call to discuss AMD's latest weak third quarter financial results Read and Su talked about re-applying AMD and third-party IP to embedded markets in servers, gaming, communications and industrial infrastructure. The third-party reference was rather general and the pair barely mentioned, ARM but it could be that they were keeping their powder dry for the forthcoming event.
Back in 2011 it was revealed that ARM had been trying to sell its IP to Advanced Micro Devices for some time and I argued that AMD-ARM made sense. At the time a lot of argument focused on the wisdom of take Intel on in the PC world with ARM. Of course with hindsight – and predictions of a flat or declining PC market – it can be seen that the argument should have been about taking on Intel in embedded markets and not the PC market.
I have no knowledge of whether Warren East is the special guest mentioned by AMD. But if AMD is serious about an "ambidextrous strategy" it should have signed an ARM license or licenses some time ago and this week could be a good opportunity to announce a strengthened AMD-ARM partnership.
Related links and articles:
AMD eyes ARM IP, realignment
AMD, ARM, Imagination, TI, MediaTek form HSA group
AMD creates embedded IC business unit
Why AMD is opening up Fusion: cores are the new gates