Intel will soon have real reasons to fear ARM

Posted by Mike Magee in San Francisco

Third party sources in the Valley told me yesterday that ARM is likely to strike a strategic deal with GlobalFoundries during the next week or so.

GlobalFoundries, of course, is the spun off semiconductor fabrication division of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and currently it's held in quite high regard by a number of people including President Obama - who visited its future New York State site last Monday, and by New York State politicians as well because it will bring much needed work to the area.

Chartered, of course, will be amalgamated into GlobalFoundries and brings with it a considerable number of customers. Before Chartered, Global Foundries had two customers - AMD and ST Microelectronics. Sources suggest the real number now is something like 150 or so.

With that sort of customer base, it's little wonder that TSMC, the number one foundry in the world, is getting a little rattled. A GlobalFoundries deal with ARM would bring an awful lot to the party.

During this week's Intel Developer Forum, senior executives at the chip company outlined their plans to capture the smartphone and MID markets, but there's considerable opposition in this part of the industry to throw their lot in with the chip giant. Intel regularly dismisses ARM and Qualcomm as irrelevant to its own plans, but that is almost certainly just a position it's taking.

Intel fears ARM. Just a few years ago it had its own ARM based chip, Xscale, but got nowhere with it and eventually Marvell picked it up and has done spectacularly well with it.