4. ARM vs. Intel
It would be hard to put this list together and not mention processor architectures, a highly competitive market made more complex when IP and software issues come into play. ARM's move into Intel’s territory in 2012 with its 64-bit server chips, and Intel move into the mobile space, albeit tentatively, with chips for tablets. One result was that two other competing architectures, MIPS and Power.org, struggled to keep pace. MIPS is being acquired and Power.org struggles to maintain an ecosystem.
Both ARM and Intel are incredibly well-run companies with talented managers who are playing the highest stakes game over the future of electronics and computing.
Acknowledging that I could be 100 percent wrong, here are some key factors that will shape the processor competition:
-Intel has the manufacturing skill and capacity to convince major OEMs to stay with them regardless of the processor application. In order to compete, Intel’s way of doing business must change, and this will disrupt Intel’s corporate culture and even its margins. In order to compete with the burgeoning ARM ecosystem, Intel has to learn how to do business with many more customers than it does today. In other words, Intel needs to become a different company. As we all know from Silicon Valley history, this is hard to do.
-ARM is clearly on a roll, and its ecosystem just keeps growing as more chip companies abandon 8- and 16-bit architectures. Even analog companies realize they need a processor in integrated products. Being an ARM licensee levels the playing field for vendors, but it also means they are ceding control of their destiny and must pay ARM for the privilege. This is probably not a major issue for many semi houses, but it must be for Samsung, Qualcomm, NVidia and TI.
ARM, Intel battle heats up on networking front
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