On July 1, Simon Segars is set to become the third CEO in the history of processor licensing vendor ARM Holdings plc.
Segars, a 22-year veteran of ARM who worked as an IC engineer on some of ARM's early processor core designs and has held many senior executive positions in engineering and sales, will take the reins of a firm that has been enjoying growing momentum.
But Segars' job is no walk in the park. Despite ARM's success in recent years, the company is fighting high-stakes battles on many fronts. The degree of the company's future health will depend largely on how well ARM can penetrate into computing at the performance end of the market—servers and supercomputers—and into the tiny, autonomous systems labeled the Internet of Things.
The following is a list of 10 items that Segars must execute on in order to keep ARM's trajectory up and to the right.
Penetrate the Internet of Things
One of the challenges for Segars' period of tenure at ARM will be how well ARM can penetrate into computing within the Internet of Things (IoT). Forecasters reckon IoT will be the next big volume market requiring tens of billions of chips--albeit with extreme requirements in terms of power and price.
With its low-power Cortex-M0 cores for microcontrollers, ARM is already in a good position and under Warren East the company had started to participate in some industry working groups on IoT.
However, in the past it has not been ARM's style to drive markets preferring to let its customers and its customers' customers do that. The larger and more significant ARM becomes the more others look to it to set an industry course and the highly fragmented IoT landscape would benefit from some structure and direction to help get some applications started.
Also sitting back and waiting for the market to develop is tantamount to complacency and could see ARM giving startups and rivals the time and space to outflank it. It is ARM's interest to keep pressing forward both in business and technology with developments such as near- and sub-threshold transistor operation supported by design and processing infrastructure to deliver the ultra-low power cores needed for wireless sensor networks.
The CityTouch system (below) from Philips automates the job of
controlling outdoor municipal lights. It is currently in use in Prague
and the London boroughs of Croydon and Lewisham.
"This has become the successful Mali GPU core range, second in the market place to Imagination's PowerVR line."
Successful...hmmm, they have certainly had some low end chinese design wins, but other than Samsung, they don't have a tier 1, and even samsung has diluted with them preferring imagination for their flashship Exynos octacore. Given that their shipped volume of graphics IP is much less than 1/2 of imaginations, and their published royalty rate is around 4.5c for graphics cores compared with of IMG's average of 25c, I would suggest that todate its graphics dept has been a complete commerical failure relative to the R&D spend.
I think you need to read the ARM 2012 Annual Report (see ARM's website) rather than guessing
"We have also seen the penetration of Mali, ARM's graphics processor, grow to more than 20% of Android smartphones and over 50% of Android tablets worldwide"
Mali is growing fast for them in terms of licences and shipment. In 2011 there were 50m units shipped, 2012 120m and the forecast for 2013 is 240m.
Given you are unlikely to know the R&D spend or the licensing and royalty revenues generated I suspect you have very little data on which to define it as a "commercial failure". And that would assume, wrongly, that R&D spend on something like Mali can be judged a commercial failure over such a short space of time. The R&D on Mali, just on the designs already announced, will be generating revenues for ARM for many, many years to come. It's how the business model works
A very interesting article but I kept wondering about the pictures in the "slide show". How did most of these relate to the paragraph above them? Did I miss something or is my web viewer not working for some reason? Also, I was looking for 10 and not 9 "slides" but did not see that either.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.