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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

ARM's Broadcom deal is bigger than Microsoft


By Nick Flaherty

Broadcom has taken a broad license to all ARM's processor cores in a move that is fundamentally more important for the embedded market than the recent Microsoft announcement.

Broadcom now has access the entire range of ARM processors, from the smallest, lowest-power ARM CortexTM-M0 processor, through to the newly introduced, high-performance Cortex-A15 application processor and beyond. As Broadcom is pushing the system-on-chip approach strongly into the embedded market, this will see a lot more 32bit ARM cores in designs that traditionally used 16bit processors, as well as high end smartphone chips to take on Qualcomm and in highly integrated networking devices.
As part of the agreement Broadcom has access to both current and future ARM processors to use across product lines. This includes the Cortex-A15 processor for use in high performance mobile and networking applications, the specialized security hardened SC000 processor core for security applications, and the newly announced Cortex-R5 and Cortex-R7 processors for high performance real-time applications.
“ARM’s wide portfolio of cores enhances Broadcom’s strategy of designing cost- optimized high performance solutions for a wide range of applications from Bluetooth headsets to high-end application processors for tablets,” said Scott McGregor, President and CEO of Broadcom. “Broadcom and ARM have already established a successful partnership in smartphones and other exciting mobile devices. Today’s agreement will help expand that success into many new and exciting high-growth opportunities.”
 “The growing partnership with Broadcom brings new opportunities” said Warren East, CEO, ARM. “Broadcom’s strength across diverse markets and their expertise in highly integrated systems brings a breadth of knowledge to the ARM Partnership. Our expanded relationship shows the universal benefits that scalable, low-power ARM IP can bring to market leading solutions across a wide range of end devices and equipment.”
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