SAN JOSE, Calif. – "Warren and I have different styles but our philosophy is very similar," said Simon Segars, president of processor IP licensor ARM Holdings plc making comparison with his boss Warren East whom he is scheduled to replace as CEO on July 1.
"Customer adoption of our cores is excellent. There's no need to rethink the strategy. For the large part it is business as usual," he told EE Times in an interview on the day he picked up the ACE award on behalf of ARM as company of the year at the DESIGN West exhibition organized by UBM Tech, publisher of EE Times. In the interview Segars pointed out the company has been striving to penetrate new markets under East's leadership: for servers in the enterprise and to deliver on the promise of the Internet of Things. That effort will continue, Segars said.
When asked if there is one overarching challenge that he sees facing ARM during his upcoming tenure as CEO, Segars provided an ecological, top-down point of view: "We need to drive down the energy consumed by the use of electronics. One thing I expect to face is that the generation and consumption of data is going to explode. There's going to be large amounts of autonomous sensing and those nodes will need sensors, microprocessors, connectivity, and will generate data and send that data to the cloud."
"If we’re going to drive expansion we need to continue to reduce power. Population growth, expansion of the middle-classes is going to put great strain on the world's resources," Segars said. "The good news is that ARM has always been focused on low power. There's an opportunity to apply what we have learned in the mobile sector to data centers and small basestations."
Another change might be that the rise and rise of ARM under East means that others now see ARM as market leader and a market maker even though it is still a relatively small company with sales of £577 million (about $880 million) in 2012.
Segars acknowledged that ARM is expected to do some big-picture thinking but added that the company always has seen itself, and will continue to see itself, as part of an ecosystem of companies with common interests. "People do look to us for direction but we look to the partnership so that we can move forward together," he said.
Click on image to enlarge.
Simon Segars on stage at the 2012 ARM TechCon exhibition and conference in Santa Clara, California, in October 2012.
ARM's success means that quarter by quarter the company is adding significant amounts
of cash to its resources. The company has a stated policy of returning
value to shareholders by ramping dividends and implementing share
buy-back programs but nonetheless at the end of 2012 the company's cash
pile stood at about $800 million. So besides doing some serious
acquisitions ARM has the resources to create an institution along the
lines of Intel Capital.
"It is something we think about. During
Warren East's time at ARM the amount of venture capital invested into
semiconductors has gone down. So corporate venturing does have a
significant role to play. But our cash pile compared with some companies'
is tiny," Segars said. Segars may have been thinking of Apple which has
a cash pile of about $145 billion.
Segars acknowledged that some
more structured form of investing by ARM is an option that the company
thinks about. "But for now we continue to make spot investments along
the lines laid out by Warren," he added.
It's business as usual.Related links and articles:
Slideshow: Next ARM CEO's 10 toughest tasks
London Calling: ARM's Segars is safe CEO choice
ARM's Warren East retires from CEO post