As befits any executive in the electronics industry today, Inglis is worried about the economy. "We are beginning to see a recovery in this industry," he said, "but nobody knows if consumer spending will come back."
During this Great Recession, Inglis said that ARM accelerated the company's efforts particularly in engineering. This year, ARM has also kept a keen eye out for "strategic investment opportunities." ARM and Qualcomm, for example, recently led a group of investors to help network-on-chip IP supplier Arteris Inc. raise $9.7 million.
Inglis said ARM has made similar investments in a series of companies -- although not publicly announced -- in 2009. ARM's efforts have been critical, especially during this year's drought in VC money. Inglis said, "We made commitments to some start-ups, hoping that this will help them attract money from other sources." ARM's original funding in Luminary Micro is an example of how ARM's seed investment helped not just the start-up, but ARM and ARM's partners.
As widely successful as ARM has been on the mobile handset market, what's remarkable about the company is that it has never rested on its laurels.
In the third quarter of this year alone, the company claimed that 15 new processor licenses signed, including four next-generation processors, for a broad range of markets including digital TV, microcontrollers, hard disk drives and networking applications
During the interview, Inglis stated his ambition bluntly: "We want every socket MIPS is in today."
ARM's invasion into new market areas beyond mobile is already gaining a solid ground. Getting STMicroelectronics, one of the world's leading set-top-box chip makers, to adopt the ARM Corte-A9 MP Core processor, in addition to the Mali-400 graphics processor, for its upcoming set-top-box and digital TV system-on-chip ICs, was a huge win for ARM. ST, traditionally, has depended on home-grown processors to drive its digital consumer products.
Inglis acknowledged that ARM's ST persuasion has taken "seven years."
Similarly, ARM recently announced that it has talked Infineon Technologies AG into using ARM in security controllers for chip card and security applications.