Rumours claiming Apple has reached a licensing deal with ARM continue to intensify following the latter firm’s financial results announcement today, when management revealed an extensive multi-year architectural licensee has reached a deal with ARM.
Naturally, ARM management refused to disclose just who the new licensee actually is, beyond describing it as a "leading handset OEM", adding "which is developing its roadmap for mobile computing devices."
As EETimes observes, there’s no complete evidence of the licensee being Apple, but that company is now a leading handset OEM and is widely known to be developing mobile computing devices. An ARM processor is in the iPhone (to the detriment of Intel) and Apple recently invested in PA Semi, which works on PowerPC chips and has extensive ARM experience.
"Don’t get excited about any revenue on this deal as it’s all tied up with future technology and the revenue will be recognized over several years. But it is very important as far as we’re concerned in terms of securing design wins with that particular OEM and also in the mobile space altogether," said Warren East, CEO of ARM, at an analysts conference.
He also said, "Some handset manufacturers want to have more control over the design of their handset, including the components within it, than others. And it’s as simple as that. And the ARM business model offers one that level of control, if that’s what one wants to do and one has the technical resources available to do it," East added, as reported by EE Times. (You can watch a video webcast of this mornings Q2 financial call from ARM here).
Apple purchased P.A. Semi for $278 million in April. P.A. had one major product and about 150 really smart engineers. They had lots of venture capital including money from Texas Instruments. They also had a genius CEO – Dan Dobberpuhl, with a long history in designing revolutionary chips – including DEC Alpha and the ARM architecture itself….and the one product, the PWRficient chip, was built on StrongARM’s legacy of power efficiency but with a PowerPC core.
Apple boss Steve Jobs has previously said, "PA Semi is going to do system-on-chips for iPhones and iPods."
We think this looks like Apple’s plan for its mobile devices…..who else would be so secretive?