ARM Chief Calls Intel "Niche" Player In Computing World

In an interview with the Telegraph on Sunday, the head of British microchip developer ARM touted his firm as the “most influential” company of its kind in the world, while dismissing U.S. based rival Intel as a “niche” player in the future of computing.

In an interview with Technology Correspondent Christopher Williams, ARM Chief Executive Warren East said that his company’s business model was the “best economic offering” and that Intel had been “very successful… but they’ve been very successful in a niche market.”

The comments come despite the fact that Intel’s revenues are, in Williams’ words, “100 times greater than ARM’s.”

However, the Telegraph also reports that analysts with IDC have cut their PC sales growth forecast — a medium dominated by Intel microprocessors — while predicting sales of tablet computers to increase from 18 million in 2010 to 62.5 million this year, and smartphone sales to jump from 270 million last year to over 472 million in 2011.

East told Williams that Intel was, in fact, a licensee of ARM technology.

“Intel’s efforts to break the British mobile computing stranglehold have so far been unsuccessful but it plans a fightback, however,” the Telegraph reporter wrote. “In September it announced a partnership with Google to tailor new smartphone microchips for the Android operating system, which it said would broaden choice for smartphone makers. ARM designs are currently used in 95 per cent of handsets.”

“As well as mobile devices, ARM is targeting the growing market for ‘embedded systems’, which are typically simpler computers used in domestic appliances, cars and other specialized applications,” Williams added. “And the ARM Cortex-A15, the firm’s next generation design, expected to be used in forthcoming ‘superphones’ from Apple, Samsung and their rivals, it is also powerful enough to encroach on Intel’s territory in laptop and server microchips.”

On Thursday, ARM unveiled the first technical details of its new ARMv8 architecture, which it has referred to as the first of the company’s offerings to include a 64-bit instruction set. The new architecture is currently available to be licensed to partners, and processors that use the ARMv8 will be revealed by the company in 2012.

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