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.
Embedded market is crowded, specifically Comms, and Industrial. Gaming the have a chance.
Comms & Industrial market same incumbents are there, they have to deal with and offer a equivalent solutions such as FPGA companies do with Application specific IP block on top. This takes time to build up 2014 is not out of the question either.
Bottom line: they have lots of long term plans. with minimal time on hand, and little money as well.
I would say ARM based servers offering from QCOM, BRCM would make me feel comfy as end customer, at least they will be around.
I agree there is competition everywhere and nobody said it will be easy for AMD.
But the embedded applications space is wide. Perhaps AMD can find an application that can take off.
Something that can make use of their graphics abilities or just something that is hardware agnostic but has not been addressed before in industrial or security.
But I agree it is going to be tough do anything in three or four quarters -- unless they started three or four quarters ago.
Let's assume they will ARM server cores, then they fuse together the sea micro fabric as well. Which BTW is only useful for web server app as it stands.
Question : Do they $200m sitting around to fund this, as I thought they have 3~4 Q Operating money left?
Also ARM server product will not be ready until 2014, and there are other ARM servers SOC already, something people like Broadcom, Cavium will build as well.
Again AMD versus all these other guys , I have not heard anything compelling yet!