ARM badgers Intel over licenses

Posted by a staff writer

Intel needs to stop mucking about and get itself an ARM license so that it can push into the mobile market, claims, er, a co-founder of ARM.

Robin Saxby, a co-founder of ARM, at the GSA Entrepreneurship Conference at the British Museum, told Intel to "stop messing about".

Years ago Intel offered StrongARM and Xscale microprocessors based on ARMv4 and ARMv5 instruction-sets, but sold off that division to Marvell Semiconductor in mid-2006.

At the time Intel thought that ARM architecture was not scalable enough in terms of performance. While it turned out ARM was scalable, its power consumption increased along with performance. Intel did not think that the ARMv8 64-bit architecture would be significantly more power-efficient than comparable x86 offerings based on AMD Jaguar or Intel Silvermont.

Saxby said that AMD recently came to the ARM party and decided to develop server-class system-on-chips based on ARMv8, just like loads of other companies, including Applied Micro, Calxeda, Nvidia, Samsung, Qualcomm and many others. But Intel just does not want to be friends with ARM, he moaned.

Talking to Electronics Weekly, he said that ARM had to turn its enemies into friends, the only one it has not managed to turn is Intel, Saxby said.

"I recommend Intel to take an ARM license and stop messing about," said Saxby. With a nice ARM license, Intel could start building mobile chips around ARM cores, he added. A few years ago, that Tudor Brown, a senior ARM executive, told us that Intel has several licenses, something that Intel confirmed.

Of course this implies that Intel's own mobile chips are going nowhere.