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Computex 2011: ARM'ing The Future

There's no denying that ARM has got some fantastic momentum behind it at the moment; Microsoft's Windows 8 partner preview was as much about the semiconductor company as it was about the next version of Windows itself.

And the fact that the OS is well on target for a 2012 launch combined with the enthusiasm of Microsoft partners, most of which are already ARM licensees, means that next year could be a watershed moment for the company.

By this time next year, companies like Dell, Lenovo, HP, Acer and Samsung may have started to sell ARM-based desktops and laptops running on Windows 8, some may even be powered by a quad-core system on chip which would offer the same level of performance as an entry level desktop offering based on Intel or AMD.

Paradoxically, it may not increase ARM's fortunes significantly as it could add only around 10 per cent to its annual revenue (a £300 computer may bring in only 10p for ARM) but it will dramatically increase its exposure and provide a fantastic halo effect.

ARM's strategy as an IP provider means that it will never strike gold as Intel has, but like mammals in prehistoric times, it is small and nimble enough to thrive when dinosaurs like Intel will find business more and more difficult.