INTC’s ARM play and the ARM ecosystem

My best two investments this year have been NVDA and ARMH. NVDA’s been on fire, it was obvious when I attended their GPU Tech Conference that they were going to do very well this year. And Softbank’s play for ARMH has been rewarding.

All the growth in compute usage and capability has moved to non-Intel processor cores — GPU and ARM, both of which are better in different ways for the high growth compute issues of the day. Hard to imagine this changing, I’d expect to see even more GPU migration (or even on to FPGAs).

INTC’s ARM licensing move is a sign that intel is fully accepting the reality here. I am sure Intel still has a lot of internal religion about x86 instruction set — but they shouldn’t hold back now. They should fully cast aside any religion about instruction sets, and just make sure everyone is opting to put an Intel part everywhere. Put an ARM core on every x86 processor — they certainly have the transistors, it would be great as a developer to have an ARM core at my disposal on my laptop. Put an x86 core on every ARM chip, it would be great to be able to use x86 code in more places.

Softbank meanwhile may have just enabled their biggest competitor. It is great to have Intel as a licensee, but there is no way Intel is going to accept a secondary position in the processor market, they are going to use their design skills and fab skills to try to coopt the ARM market. Softbank will need to ramp up their own ARM ecosystem efforts, probably with a deeper software and services play, or they are going to find themselves with less and less influence.