Ina Fried

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ARM Chief: It’s a Bit Early to Write Intel’s Obituary

Even Intel’s chief rival thinks that the chip giant still has some good years left.

Asked about Intel’s future, ARM Chief Executive Warren East noted that Intel is a company that has successfully navigated a number of big changes during the 60-year history of the chip industry. So those who write the company off are probably making a mistake, East said.

“I think it’s a little bit early to call that sort of thing for Intel,” East said, kicking off the Open Mobile Summit in San Francisco. “Intel has successfully in that time reinvented themselves from a memory maker into a microprocessor company.”

Nonetheless, ARM and the legion of companies that make chips using ARM’s designs certainly have their sights set on Intel’s key markets. Once relegated to low-end devices, ARM-based chips dominate the smartphone market and, with the release of Windows RT, now are competing in the PC market as well.

ARM last week announced a new line of 64-bit chips aimed at bringing a threefold increase in performance for roughly the same amount of power consumption. The company is also working to bring its chips into another power-sensitive area: The data center.

Technology, East notes, already consumes 10 percent of the world’s electricity, highlighting the need for more power-efficient chips. He likened it to the auto industry where miles-per-gallon has replaced horsepower as the key benchmark.

“That is an essential part of the equation,” East said.

East said that he sees continued tough competition, whether it is his firm and other chip players or on the device front, between Apple, Google, Samsung and others.

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