Chances are, you have not heard of British chipmaker ARM, and don’t understand their business model. ARM develops semiconductor IP cores that most other chip vendors license and include in their products, to speed up their design cycles. ARM, in turn, collects royalties from these licensing deals. It is by far the largest IP core vendor in the world.
In his conversations with EE Times, Warren East, CEO of ARM, has confirmed that “at least three” ARM processor cores are present within the iPhone from Apple Inc. ARM’s declared ambition is to have its intellectual property included in every digital chip manufactured.
EE Times also believes that the main CPU for the iPhone is a PXA320, formerly the Monahan applications processor from Intel, now supplied by Marvell. “ARM is in 90% of the world’s [mobile phone] handsets; we’re in WiFi, baseband processors and applications processors and most of the world’s MP3 players. So it’s at least three,” East said.
I have often said in the past that Cadence should buy ARM. At this point, given how solid the mobile and consumer electronics businesses look for the foreseeable future, an extremely compelling way to modify the business model of the EDA business, and for Cadence to get itself leverage would be to acquire this company.
There’s nothing like aligning with a potential rocket!