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Dec. 31, 2013, 6:21 PM
- With Apple having kicked off the 64-bit ARM (ARMH) mobile processor era this fall, many other companies are expected to launch 64-bit ARM-powered smartphones and tablets in 2014, notes the Micrprocessor Report's Mike Demler. That, in turn, should provide a boost to ARM's CPU royalty rates.
- Already, Qualcomm has announced a mid-range 64-bit Snapdragon processor (features four ARM Cortex A53 cores) and Samsung has promised its next-gen Exynos mobile CPUs will be 64-bit. Also, Intel has demoed a tablet running on a 64-bit version of Android and the chip giant's (x86-based) Bay Trail Atom CPU.
- Demler also expects strong demand for microcontrollers running on ARM's low-power Cortex-M CPUs (previous), which power a variety of intelligent embedded/wearable devices. At the same time, he notes ARM faces competition here from Synopsys' (SNPS) ARC CPU cores, as well as some smaller firms.
- ARM has called the embedded market its biggest opportunity. The company recently bought Sensinode, a startup offering a software platform that provides Web connectivity for embedded devices.
Dec. 13, 2013, 6:48 PM
- ARM (ARMH) has bought Geomerics, a provider of global illumination lighting tech for 3D games. Terms are undisclosed. (PR)
- ARM states the acquisition will allow Geomerics to strengthen its existing partnerships with developers such as Electronic Arts, and will "accelerate" its mobile development efforts.
- Look for ARM to optimize Geomerics' technology for its Mali GPU cores, which have been gaining share against market leader Imagination (IGNMF) over the last two years.
- The deal comes three months after ARM bought display controller core IP from chip design software vendor Cadence.
Dec. 13, 2013, 6:31 PM
- With ARM-based (ARMH +2.6%) CPUs currently having a minimal presence in the massive server CPU market, a report that Google is thinking of developing its own ARM-based server CPUs has gone over well with ARM investors.
- In addition to Google, Facebook has shown an interest in ARM. A recent post from a Facebook developer suggests the company is working to port some of its internal software for use with ARM CPUs.
- AppliedMicro (AMCC -4.6%), an early leader in the ARM server CPU space (courtesy of its X-Gene chips), wound up selling off after opening higher. There may be concerns Google will open-source its CPU designs to help foster a broader ecosystem for them, as it has done with many pieces of software. AMD, Marvell, and private Calxeda are also targeting the ARM server CPU market.
- Intel (INTC -0.7%), whose server CPU division had a $1.39B Q3 op. profit on the back of 12% Y/Y rev. growth, finished down modestly. Google/Facebook would act as big reference wins for ARM, which still face major software ecosystem challenges as it tries to grow its server presence. Intel is trying to counter ARM with its low-power Avoton Atom server CPUs.
- FBR, which just started coverage on ARM with an Outperform, thinks ARM-based designs could grab 10% of the server CPU market by 2018, thanks to a 50% share in the fast-growing microserver segment.
Dec. 13, 2013, 5:13 AM
- Google (GOOG) is reportedly thinking about designing its own server processors using technology from ARM Holdings (ARMH).
- The idea is that with its own chips, Google could better better manage the interaction between hardware and software.
- The move could hurt Intel (INTC), which earns over 4% of its revenue from the search giant, and which has a 95% share of the market for server chips that use PC processors. The company has been hoping that rising demand for the components will offset the slump in the PC market.
Dec. 11, 2013, 1:03 PM
- Fresh off writing about a Nokia Android phone project, The Verge reports Microsoft (MSFT -1.6%) is thinking of eliminating licensing fees for Windows Phone and RT, and focusing on monetizing the platforms via ads and services subscriptions.
- In practice, such a move would make it cheaper to license Windows Phone than Android (GOOG), given Microsoft collects significant Android royalties from top OEMs.
- Though Windows Phone has achieved a double-digit smartphone unit share in certain European and emerging markets, IDC estimates the OS only had a 3.6% global share in Q3, thanks in large part to small U.S. and Chinese shares. With regards to the latter, it's worth noting Microsoft doesn't collect royalties on a large portion of Chinese Android shipments, particularly those form white-label OEMs.
- RT, meanwhile, has fallen flat since its 2012 launch. PC OEMs have largely abandoned the ARM-based (ARMH) OS, which may be merged with Windows Phone down the line, to focus on building Windows 8 and Android tablets.
Nov. 22, 2013, 6:52 PM
- Google (GOOG) is working with vision benefits provider VSP Global to create prescription Google Glass lenses, as well as alternative frame designs.
- The efforts highlight Google's interest in driving broader consumer adoption for Glass, which critics have argued is a product made by, of, and for geeks. Glass microdisplay supplier Himax (HIMX) has much to gain if the eyewear proves a mass-market hit following its commercial launch (set for early 2014).
- Google's Calico anti-aging startup has been busy recruiting a team of "genetics superstars." Among them: Hal Barron, the chief medical officer for pharma giant Roche (set to be Calico's R&D chief); senior Genentech oncologist Robert Cohen; and renowned anti-aging researcher Cynthia Kenyon.
- Google has reportedly committed "hundreds of millions" of dollars to Calico, and has hired Apple/Genentech chairman Arthur Levinson to be its CEO.
- Eric Schmidt says the NSA scandal led Google to seriously consider moving all its U.S. servers out of the country. Though ultimately deeming such a move "impractical," Schmidt says it's still "an interesting idea" given U.S. surveillance efforts. For now, Google is settling for encrypting all traffic moving between its data centers.
- Benedict Evans takes a look at the massive proliferation of cheap hardware running on Android and ARM-based (ARMH) CPUs, a trend that now extends well beyond smartphones/tablets. "Android/ARM has become a new de facto platform for any piece of smart connected electronics ... The cost of putting a real computer with an internet connection into a product is collapsing."
Nov. 15, 2013, 9:07 AM
- SAP has been upgraded to Overweight by Barclays. Shares +1.3% premarket.
- Ericsson (ERIC) has been upgraded to Buy by Banco Santander. Shares +2%.
- Millennial Media (MM) has been cut to Neutral by Goldman two days after it posted a disappointing Q3 report (I, III).
- GOGO has been cut to Underweight by Morgan Stanley following a huge run-up in response to a strong Q3 report and a positive FAA ruling. Two other firms have already downgraded the in-flight Wi-Fi provider since its Q3 report. Shares -3.1%.
- ARM (ARMH) has been started at Outperform by JMP.
Nov. 6, 2013, 8:43 AM
- Intel's (INTC) new division, called the Internet of Things Solutions Group, will (like the core Architecture Group) report directly to CEO Brian Krzanich.
- The division is being formed a month after Intel launched a low-power Atom CPU (the E3800) meant for embedded devices, and provided details about its tiny/ultra-low-power Quark CPU for wearable/embedded devices (begins shipping in Q1 2014), and also outlined plans to provide hardware/software reference designs for gateway systems meant to provide connectivity from legacy industrial/infrastructure systems.
- While ASPs for embedded/wearable CPUs are bound to be lower than those for CPUs, the volumes could be huge. While estimates differ plenty on how many Internet-connected embedded devices will ship over the next decade, they generally run well into the tens of billions.
- Intel is bound to face strong competition in this space from ARM (ARMH), whose low-power CPU cores are already found in billions of embedded devices (Internet-connected or otherwise).
Oct. 28, 2013, 9:52 AM
- Baidu (BIDU -1.5%) has been cut to Hold by BNP Paribas prior to tomorrow's Q3 report.
- ARM (ARMH -0.8%) has been cut to Hold by Benchmark six days after posting Q3 results. UBS cut shares to Neutral last Wednesday.
- Audience (ADNC -4.6%), meanwhile, has received a similar downgrade from Benchmark in advance of a Thursday Q3 report.
- Trimble (TRMB -2.7%) has been cut to Hold by Needham ahead of Thursday's Q3 report.
- AutoNavi (AMAP -1.9%) has been cut to Sector Perform by Pac Crest.
- DuPont Fabros (DFT -2.2%) has been cut to Neutral by Baird four days after delivering a Q3 beat.
- SolarCity (SCTY +1.3%) has been started at Outperform by Credit Suisse; Q3 results are due on Nov. 6.
- Ruckus (RKUS +1.5%) has been started at Outperform by Northland ahead of Wednesday's Q3 report.
- Gigamon (GIMO +1.3%) has been started at Outperform by William Blair; Q3 results arrive on Nov. 4.
- International Game Technology (IGT +2.8%) has been started at Buy by Citi.
Oct. 26, 2013, 2:00 PM
- Anand Chandrasekher, Qualcomm's (QCOM) chief marketing officer and once the head of Intel's Atom CPU unit, has been reassigned after calling the 64-bit ARMv8 (ARMH) instruction set used by Apple's (AAPL) new A7 CPU (found in the iPhone 5S, iPad Air, and retina iPad Mini) a "gimmick."
- Qualcomm, which had already declared the comments to be "inaccurate" in an attempt at damage control, says Chandrasekher is "moving to a new role leading our exploration of certain enterprise related initiatives."
- Back in August, Chandrasekher drew headlines by declaring 8-core mobile processors, such as one launched by MediaTek, a "dumb" idea, given efficiency/battery life tradeoffs. But whereas MediaTek is a rival, Apple is one of Qualcomm's top clients, using its baseband modems, RF transceivers, and power management ICs (but not its app processors) in iPhones and 4G-capable iPads.
- PR concerns aside, most apps won't get a performance boost from 64-bit in the near-term. But ARMv8's support for more CPU registers will benefit some performance-intensive media apps. Long-term, the ability of 64-bit CPUs to support more than 4GB of RAM make their mobile adoption inevitable.
- ARM shares took off after Apple disclosed the A7 will feature ARMv8, since 64-bit CPUs carry higher royalties. Since then, Samsung has disclosed its next-gen CPUs will be 64-bit.
Oct. 25, 2013, 1:35 PM
- IBM (IBM -0.6%) is licensing four ARM (ARMH +2.1%) Cortex CPU cores to offer to clients of its custom ASIC business, as well as ARM's Mali GPU cores. (PR)
- The deal is notable both due to the size of IBM's custom ASIC ops - clients include Cisco and Juniper - and the fact the business has thus far relied on Big Blue's proprietary Power CPU cores.
- The deal comes shortly after Broadcom (BRCM +0.7%), which has traditionally relied on cores from Imagination's (IGNMF) MIPS unit, announced it would build 64-bit network processors (NPUs) based on ARM cores using a next-gen 16nm process. Broadcom has taken out a costly ARM architectural license to build custom cores, and promises unmatched performance.
- ARM-based cores have historically had a small presence in the NPU space, which has been dominated by Power, MIPS, and (largely Intel-based) x86 offerings. But the tide is turning: In addition to IBM and Broadcom, NPU vendors Cavium, Freescale, and LSI have embraced ARM.
- NPUs are bound to be a lower-volume business for ARM than mobile processors. But they also carry higher ASPs, and potentially (if 64-bit cores are widely used) higher royalty rates.
- IBM's chip unit, which faces tough competition from foundry rivals such as TSMC and GlobalFoundries, posted 1% Y/Y sales growth in Q3.
Oct. 23, 2013, 9:43 AM
- Cree (CREE -18.4%) has been cut to Hold by Needham, and to Underweight by Stephens, after the company posted mixed FQ1 results and provided FQ2 guidance that was largely below consensus.
- Broadcom (BRCM -8.5%) has been cut to Neutral by Wedbush after providing soft Q4 guidance to go with a Q3 beat, and announcing job cuts.
- Rackspace (RAX +1.8%) has been upgraded to Outperform by Oppenheimer; Q3 results arrive on Nov. 11.
- ARM (ARMH -4.3%) has been cut to Neutral by UBS a day after posting Q3 results.
- AOL (AOL +2.7%) has been started at Buy by BofA/Merrill.
- SeaChange (SEAC +4.2%) has been started at Strong Buy by BWS Financial.
Oct. 22, 2013, 3:30 AM
- ARM's (ARMH) net profit +17.4% to £48.5M; revenue and pretax profit come in above consensus.
- Expects Q4 revenue of $290M, "assuming the macroeconomic situation does not deteriorate significantly." Has record order backlog and a "robust opportunity pipeline."
- 2.5B ARM-based chips shipped, +14% on year.
- Broadcom (BRCM) to create a new 64-bit chip based on ARM's technology for enterprise networking applications.
- Licensing revenue +54% to £68M, royalties +16% to £78.7M. Advanced technology enables a higher royalty percentage per chip
- Signs a record 48 licenses with 24 companies in Q3, 11 of which are new customers. Has already signed four large licensing deals this quarter.
- Shares -2.8% in London. (Previous) (PR)
Oct. 22, 2013, 2:10 AM
- ARM Holdings (ARMH) Q3 EPS +38% to 5.11 pence.
- Revenue +27% to £184M.
- Pretax profit +36% to £92.6M. (PR)
Oct. 22, 2013, 12:05 AM
Oct. 21, 2013, 5:30 PM
ARM Holdings PLC designs microprocessors, physical IP and related technology and software, and sells development tools to enhance the performance and energy-efficiency of high-volume embedded applications.
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