ARM tries to get AMD to license its processors

ARM is attempting to persuade Intel rival AMD to license its processors instead of using the x86 architecture.

ARM's CEO, Warren East, revealed to EETimes that his company has been unsuccessfully trying to sell its licences to AMD for the last decade, but that AMD was “technically ... an ARM licensee” after it took over ATI.

East said that at the time of AMD's acquisition of ATI, the latter had a licence deal with ARM for mobile applications, so AMD became a licencee of ARM in turn, but that was a short lived venture when AMD sold its mobile graphics wing to Qualcomm for $65 million in 2009.

However, a licensing deal may be on the cards for the future, East indicated, since AMD is rethinking its strategy. He said AMD might use ARM microprocessors and that ARM is firmly nudging them in that direction.

He said that a deal with AMD might involve the Mali graphics cards, but would not be limited to this area. Licences for the upcoming Cortex-A15, along with the older Cortex-A8 and Cortex-A9. may also be on the cards.

It is not yet clear if ARM will attempt to incorporate the x86 architecture into its processors or if it will adopt Intel's approach instead.

AMD spun off its manufacturing operations to form GlobalFoundries, leaving AMD as a fabless chip firm, which means it might not be able ignore a deal for low-cost, low-power-consumption chips with ARM.

ARM enough revenue from its licensing deals for it to worry the mighty Intel. It recently signed an agreement to license its processors and graphics chippery to LG.