SBN is taking a look back at news events of the past in a weekly series called "Memory Refresh".
In February 1998 Intel admitted that it did not have a monopoly on good processor design and said it would base the company's future in part on a licensed processor architecture. Five years on and Intel has just about obliterated all reference to ARM from its renamed XScale product line, but the cores themselves and their derivatives are becoming more and more key to Intel's future.
This story first appeared on SBN's web site on February 23, 1998.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. February 23, 1998 -- Intel Corp. here today announced an agreement with U.K.-based Advanced RISC Machines Ltd. (ARM) to license the StrongARM RISC processor core for use in products. Intel's agreement is linked to its pending acquisition of Digital Equipment Corp.'s chip business, which has been offering StrongARM-based IC.
Under its licensing pact with ARM, Intel will have the right to produce, sell and enhance StrongARM microprocessors. The pact also includes a cross licensing agreement between ARM of Cambridge U.K. and Intel. A final agreement is contingent upon U.S. approval of Intel's proposed $700 million purchase of DEC's semiconductor division, announced in October 1997.
"We believe the StrongARM processors have tremendous potential in the market," said Ron Smith vice president and general manager of Intel's Computer Enhancement Group. "High-performance, low-power microprocessors are essential to the future of a variety of portable devices and other consumer electronics and embedded applications.
"Once we obtain regulatory approval, our plan is to continue to enhance and improve the product," Smith said. "We also plan to grow the customer base as well as provide support for existing customers."
Covered by the agreement are DEC's SA-110, SA-1100 and SA-1500 microprocessors, and other future products under development such as the SA-1101 and SA-1501 ARM-designed companion processors using ARM's technology. ARM said these microprocessors offer clock speeds of up to 200 MHz while consuming less than 250 milliwatts of power. As a result, these processors are being targeted at a range of smar t hand-held devices and Internet appliances.
The terms of the agreement were not disclosed by either company.