Arm, also recognized in the industry as ARM, is a British semiconductor and software design company with its global headquarters in Cambridge, UK. The company was founded in 1990 as Advanced RISC Machines Ltd and structured as a joint venture between Acorn Computers, Apple Computer (now Apple), and VLSI Technology. In 2016, the company was acquired by the Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp. Today, Arm is best known for its computer processor architecture. The company generates the majority of its revenue from licensing sales of its technologies, and royalties arising from the subsequent sales of licensee’s chips that contain Arm’s technologies.
Arm’s processor architecture
Licensees use the design to create microcontrollers (MCUs), central processing units (CPUs), and system on a chip (SoC) or application processors (APs). An SoC is an integrated circuit that combines all the functions of a computer on one IC microchip. These chips typically incorporate the CPU, graphics processing unit (GPU), and memory (RAM), and are commonly found in smartphones, tablets, wearables, and other IoT devices. Arm is recognized as a market leader in this field, with the firm accounting for more than 95 percent of the main chips in mobile devices.
Examples of products using Arm-based processors include the Qualcomm Snapdragon and the Apple A13 Bionic chip found in the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro. In 2020, Apple announced it will also begin using Arm-based CPUs across its line of Mac PCs, a move away from their current partnership with Intel. The decision was made to standardize on one CPU architecture for all iPhone, iPad, and Mac products, with the transition to Apple's custom Arm-based chips expected to take place over two years.
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