I really, really don't care that ARM doesn't own the workstation market---or that Intel does. For the other 90% of CPU unit sales per year, ARM is clearly a dominant player by any measure except raw cash income ONLY because the margins for non-workstation chips are much lower.
This article is a hybrid of fanboi and FUD, which an organization resorts to only when they sense that a competitor is starting to eat their lunch. The mere existence of this article is pretty strong evidence that Intel itself thinks ARM is a serious threat.
Intel did buy ARM a while ago---via the DEC StrongARM line. Granted, that was accidental side effect of the Intel-DEC settlement.
Intel replaced their i860/960 chips with StongARM later called XScale, making the ARM chips for almost 10 years. They then sold them in 2006 to Marvell, for almost the same amount that they paid DEC---great deal for Intel because they essentially got the DEC Hudson chip plant for free as a result.
Let me repeat the words of a Soviet General from the Cold War referring to the huge numbers of tanks the Soviet army possessed, "Quantity has a quality all its own...". ARM does have quantity of rising proportions as the author said.
I 3rd the FUD comment.
Even MS executives know they are loosing X86 and have reasons why
Intel also shares in the blame. Anyone who has studied intels 22nm foundry silicon technology offering understand Intel makes trade offs for CPU performance versus SOCs: just look at analog, RF, high voltage devices, and back end metal design rules for intel foundry 22nm (all uncompetitive).
Colin certainly has an interesting spin on this. Let's look at the different markets:
Servers: That the software and ecosystem has been stable for x86 based systems is certainly true BUT most of this matters less in the new and widely accepted and growing portion of the server space - cloud and warehouse computing. Here most software is being written using higher level descriptions over Java virtual machines e.g. The hooks into the underlying hardware matter less which allows these applications to be ported easily. The fact that Microsoft is now supporting ARM is a HUGE validation of where ARM is heading. So far there hasn't been competitive silicon to challenge Intel but now with HP,Dell announcing ARM servers and Si vendors like Calxeda, Marvell, AppliedMicro, Samsung, nVidia coming out with silicon here it will not be easy for Intel to do an AMD on them. With ARMs new 64b architecture and silicon expected from the likes of AppliedMicro, this will level the playing field even more.
Mobile: In the mobile space ARM has been the de-facto leader. The interesing battle is now for the notebook market which is up for grabs. ARM has the wind of the newer/slicker OSs on its back to drive that into the notebook space.
Embedded: Here it is true that ARM is eating PowerPC and MIP's lunch. In the end the winner here will not be the ISA but the companies out-doing each other in delivering solutions. There are more companies moving to ARM including exisitng MIPS and PowerPC licensees so this this is an indication of which ISA will take the lead.
Intel does have one advantage over others and that is its manufacturing muscle. With FinFets it will maintain its lead for now. I expect the others to catch up though. The future of Intels lead here will also be questionable. FinFets are an example of the exotic direction silicon manufacturing will have to take to maintain moores law. If Intel stumbles here then the war might indeed be over.
It's interesting you should compare the ARM to the Atom. A little birdy from inside told me that Intel STARTED with an ARM core, ripped out the guts and built the X86 compatible machine inside. So Atom is a distant relative of an ARM implementation!
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