Is ARM’s secret architecture licensee Apple?

“In a repeat run of the announcement of ARM’s second quarter financial results, the company’s senior executives revealed that the multiyear architectural licensee mentioned on Monday (July 28) is a ‘leading handset OEM’ which is developing its roadmap for mobile computing devices,” Peter Clarke reports for EE Times Europe.

“However, ARM did not reveal that the identity of the architecture licensee. Apple, with its success with the iPhone, would be a clear contender as the un-named licensee. The iPhone is rich in ARM processor cores,” Clarke reports.

“‘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,” Clarke reports.

More in the full article here.

In a related article, Clarke reports, “The Apple iPhone is thought to have as many as five ARM processor cores inside it, but in as many as five chips from multiple chip vendors. Wouldn’t that be perfect for rationalizing into a multicore ARM architecture, if Apple chose to go down that route?”

“Who was the engineering guru that had led the Digital Equipment team that developed StrongARM under an architectural license? It was Dan Dobberpuhl, subsequently chief executive officer of Palo Alto Semiconductor Inc. Dobberpuhl has become an Apple employee,” Clarke reports.

“And don’t forget that Apple was an original part owner of Advanced RISC Machines Ltd., the forerunner of ARM Holdings plc, back in 1990,” Clarke reports.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: Apple has earned hundreds of millions of dollars from cashing in million of its shares in ARM over the years.

A quick history lesson by way of The Mac Observer, April 4, 2005:

This week is just chock full of irony, because it was this week in 1998 that Apple, once again controlled by Steve Jobs, began selling the millions of shares in ARM that it owned. Those shares came to Apple as part of the Newton project — Apple invested in ARM in order to get the company’s RISC processors to power the Newton — and though the Newton cost Apple more than a half billion dollars, the company eventually made some US$792 million in pre-tax profits from the sale of those shares.

So, to put this in perspective, Steve Jobs brings on John Sculley, who eventually comes to blows with Steve Jobs, who then leaves Apple when the board of directors and some of Apple’s top execs back John Sculley. John Sculley then backs the Newton project, which was a big disaster at first, and leads, in part, to John Sculley’s own ouster; but, just a couple of years after that, Steve Jobs returns to Apple, kills the Newton, and sells all those shares of ARM that Mr. Sculley had acquired, making the company more than a quarter billion dollars in profit above and beyond the cost of the Newton itself, but all on Mr. Jobs’ watch.

MacDailyNews Take: What’s even more ironic is that Jobs has since resurrected the Newton in various forms, he calls them “iPhone” and “iPod touch.” There are more to come, we hear. Quite likely, they’ll be running on ARM processors, too; with at least a dollop of Apple’s P.A Semi magic thrown into the mix.


  1. Do ya think!! Of course… the more chips the more problems and expense. Power consumption and a whole lot of other issues will be lessened by multi-core. Of course Steve would have insider people working on stuff. It’s how they have always worked. iPhone 3.0 will be even cheaper and even faster…


  2. I guess this goes to show that Sculley was a true genius visionary, a decade ahead of Job in foresight regarding the importance of a mobile computing device.

    I wonder if Sculley is available to resume CEO duties once Jobs expires.

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