Tue, Jun 05, 2012 - Page 12 News List

ARM Holdings looks to expand PC market share

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

ARM Holdings PLC, which designs chips and is a processor licenser, aims to seize a double-digit percentage of the world’s PC market share by 2016, riding on the adoption of Microsoft Corp’s next-generation operating system with ARM-based chips, a company executive said yesterday.

Microsoft announced in January last year that it would launch a new operating system, dubbed “Windows RT,” for ARM-based processors, which would give the US software giant a new way to break into the booming tablet PC market, which has been dominated by Apple Inc’s iPads. Windows RT is a sub-brand of the Windows 8 operating system, which supports Intel’s processors.

For ARM, it intends to duplicate its success in smartphones and tablets in the new PC market, by providing high-performance chips that are low on power consumption. Currently, ARM-based chips are used in most mobile devices, including iPads and iPhones, Samsung’s Galaxy SIII smartphone and HTC Corp’s (宏達電) One X.

“We’re excited about the new opportunity for the Windows phone camp, for the first time bringing Windows to the ARM platform. I think it is a big market and there is room for many players,” Graham Budd, chief operating officer of ARM, told the Taipei Times on the sideline of an ARM press conference during the Computex trade show in Taipei.

“What we would like to achieve is to get to double-digit share of that [PC] market by 2016,” Budd said.

The target appears realistic as market researcher IDC Corp expected Windows running on the ARM platform to obtain an 11.5 percent share globally in 2016, while Android running on ARM-based chips would seize 30 percent and Windows on Intel chips 24.8 percent.

Meanwhile, Acer Inc (宏碁), the world’s No. 3 PC vendor, yesterday said it planned to launch its first Intel-based products using Windows 8 in August.

The potential benefit to the British company is that ARM chips had not been widely used on clamshell form notebooks in the past and that people were mainly used to running Windows on PCs, ARM executive vice president and general manager Simon Segars said during a group interview after the media briefing.

“Windows is an operating system that is deployed in a lot of different devices such as computers, phones, terminals, and industrial machines. Having Windows on ARM opens up the Windows world to our processors and our customers,” Segars said.

Segars said he was confident the mix of technologies could be delivered on those kinds of devices, which would lead to a very significant market share for ARM. However, he also said the quality of the end products would be the key that determines their success.

QUALCOMM

Separately, handset chip designer Qualcomm Inc yesterday said more than 70 manufacturers were working with San Diego, California-based company and launched 370 devices with an additional 400 now under development. That included 35 tablets mostly powered by the Android system, Rob Chandhok, president of Qualcomm’s Internet services, told a media briefing in Taipei.

For the latest chip series, or the “S4,” the company had more than 150 client commitments, including those on Windows RT, Chandhok said. He said the company’s newest chip in the S4 family are the first chips made with advanced 28-nanometer technology. However, he declined to comment on questions about chip supply constraints from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電).

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