ARM has managed to win over most semiconductor companies to the use of its architecture but Intel, the world's largest semiconductor company, is the rival pole with its x86 architecture and its capabilities in leading-edge manufacturing.
Intel used to be a ARM licensee through its acquisition of the StrongARM architecture along with part of Digital Equipment Corp. back in 1997-1998. Intel changed the name to XScale could not make the business work and ended up selling the technology to Marvell in 2006.
Meanwhile, Intel's focus on the flat-to-down PC market leaves it stumbling and about to change CEO. Could Segars could persuade the incoming CEO to take a license and use its manufacturing machine to drive into markets other than PC? Some of ARM's existing semiconductor licensees might not be best pleased but then it has always been ARM's business model to license its architecture broadly and let the licensees compete on fronts other than the processor core architecture.
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.
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
"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.