This is the origin story of technology super heroes: the creators and founders of ARM, the company that is responsible for the processors found inside 95% of the world’s mobile devices today. This is also the evolution story of how three companies – Apple, Samsung, and Qualcomm – put ARM technology in the hands of billions of people through smartphones, tablets, music players, and more.
It was anything but a straight line from idea to success for ARM. The story starts with the triumph of BBC Micro engineers Steve Furber and Sophie Wilson, who make the audacious decision to design their own microprocessor – and it works the first time. The question becomes, how to sell it? Part I follows ARM as its founders launch their own company, select a new leader, a new strategy, and find themselves partnered with Apple, TI, Nokia, and other companies just as digital technology starts to unleash mobile devices. ARM grows rapidly, even as other semiconductor firms struggle in the dot com meltdown, and establishes itself as a standard for embedded RISC processors.
Apple aficionados will find the opening of Part II of interest the moment Steve Jobs returns and changes the direction toward fulfilling consumer dreams. Samsung devotees will see how that firm evolved from its earliest days in consumer electronics and semiconductors through a philosophical shift to innovation. Qualcomm followers will learn much of their history as it plays out from satellite communications to development of a mobile phone standard and emergence as a leading fabless semiconductor company.
If ARM could be summarized in one word, it would be “collaboration.” Throughout this story, from Foreword to Epilogue, efforts to develop an ecosystem are highlighted. Familiar names such as Google, Intel, Mediatek, Microsoft, Motorola, TSMC, and others are interwoven throughout. The evolution of ARM’s first 25 years as a company wraps up with a shift to its next strategy: the Internet of Things, the ultimate connector for people and devices.
Research for this story is extensive, simplifying a complex mobile industry timeline and uncovering critical points where ARM and other companies made fateful and sometimes surprising decisions. Rare photos, summary diagrams and tables, and unique perspectives from insiders add insight to this important telling of technology history.
The forward by Sir Robin Saxby alone is worth the price of admission, not to mention the picture of Simon Segar as a young engineer when he first joined ARM… 😉 There is also a cameo by Wally Rhines from his TI days.
I truly believe you need to fully understand, as a semiconductor professional, how we got to where we are today to better understand where we are going tomorrow and that is what this book is all about. On a personal note, writing books like this is a lot like giving birth (although my wife may disagree). It was nine months of hard work but let me tell you one thing, Don Dingee made this whole process a lot easier. Don is the most dedicated, thorough, and hardworking researcher I have ever worked with, absolutely!