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Arm CEO: Intel far behind in smartphone market

Agam Shah | Jan. 13, 2010
Warren East says Intel has no advantage in smartphone chip development and manufacturing

IDG: Microsoft has mentioned that its operating systems like Windows 7 won't support Arm. Are you pushing Microsoft for Arm compatibility with Windows?

East: I'm confident in our world, with or without Microsoft. If Microsoft wants to play, then good because they will realize some opportunities that they would otherwise lose. We would think that either there will be large Windows support from Microsoft, or Microsoft would have missed out on an opportunity. That's a decision only Microsoft can make, we can't do it for them. Would we accelerate the Arm progress for form factors with the Windows logo? Yes. Any improvement on that is good for us. If Windows doesn't happen, we can manage without the acceleration. I can sympathize with Microsoft because it's a difficult challenge for them because they have 25 years of baggage behind [PCs].

IDG: What is that baggage?

East: The issue is the old printer that you kept under the spare bed. When you bought a new PC and ... you plugged in your old printer with Windows, it just works. But they have to make all that baggage available on Arm as well. So it's a big maintenance task.

IDG: There are still hardware compatibility and usability issues in Linux that will take time to resolve. That could be an issue for people used to Windows.

East: If you look at what's been accomplished in 18 months to two years and compare that to the 25 years of the Wintel monopoly, it's clear that the consumer experience on Linux-based desktops ... in a relatively short period of time is catching up quickly. It's not going to be an issue.

IDG: What will Arm put in its next designs?

East: What's happening in mainframe land is happening in integrated chips. You can certainly extend it to 64-bit, virtualization and so on. Those are the type of things you will see. Whenever we're doing a new microprocessor, we're always looking at more miles per gallon. As we shrink the silicon you get the speed up as well. We do classic computer architecture ... it's all about getting more mathematics done in the same period of time.

 

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