ARM to "take seriously" any Intel plan to make chips for rivals

Mon May 30, 2011 4:26am EDT
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By Clare Jim and Argin Chang

TAIPEI (Reuters) - British chip designer ARM Holdings Plc, which licenses its chip technology to other makers, will take any plan by Intel Corp to make chips for rivals "very seriously," a top executive said on Monday.

Intel said last week it would consider making chips for rivals, a move that might help it gain bigger access to the mobile device realm and pose a threat to ARM's current dominance in the tablet and smartphones sector.

"It's important that Intel makes a change in their business model. Intel has never done this before, so we have to take it very seriously," ARM's marketing executive vice president Ian Drew told Reuters in an interview ahead of the Computex computer show in Taipei.

Intel views its massive lead in manufacturing know-how as a key asset and opening its factories up to competitors would be a major shift for the industry.

Intel noted that it would be happy to produce chip cores based on its own architecture for other companies but that allowing rival architectures to be manufactured in its plants would be "a tough decision."

Drew said he believes ARM's business model has less restrictions than Intel's, and the company is confident in keeping its current market shares of 80 percent in tablets and 90 percent in smartphones.

ARM has been far ahead of Intel in the red-hot mobile arena and its chips are the industry standard for Apple's mobile gadgets and other devices running Google's Android operating system.

ARM's power-sipping architecture is used in processors produced by Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, Nvidia and Samsung Electronics.   Continued...