Intel should take an ARM licence, says Saxby

Intel should take an ARM licence, ARM’s founding CEO Sir Robin Saxby, told the GSA Entrepreneurship Conference at the British Museum yesterday.

“As an ARM shareholder, I recommend Intel to take an ARM licence and stop messing about,” said Saxby.

Intel has been trying, without much success, to get into mobile devices with its x86 architecture which dominates the PC industry.

Saxby recalled that when ARM was launched with little money and a team of 12 IC designers plus Saxby, that the only way he could create a business was to build partnerships.

“We had to turn our enemies into friends,” said Saxby, “the only enemy we haven’t turned into a friend is Intel.”

Hence Saxby’s recommendation that Intel should take out an ARM licence and start building mobile chips around ARM cores.

The x86 architecture was designed for computers which plug into the mains. Power usage didn’t matter. High performance was the only thing that did matter to Intel and, for years, Intel scaled its transistors, and designed its microprocessors, primarily for performance.

Having a monopoly over PC microprocessor architecture made Intel think it could also gain a monopoly in mobile device microprocessor architecture, but ARM’s architecture is already the dominant architecture in mobile.

If Intel made mobile SOCs based on ARM’s architecture, Intel would start winning significant mobile design-ins at OEMs.

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