ARM boss mocks Intel's 3D transistor breakthrough

ARM has mocked Intel’s release of 3D 20nm transistors as a “fantastic marketing coup”.

Chief Executive Warren East told the  Reuters Technology Summit that Intel’s statement was an “interesting announcement” but there was nothing to see here, move on please.

East said that other manufacturers will eventually use 3D technology, but probably not before they absolutely need it.

The technology comes with complexities, East warned. He added that it’s more important to answer questions about performance and power consumption, and that 3D technology will not provide any answers.

ARM is still growing like anything thanks to its well-placed strong position in stuff that flies off the shelves, like smartphones, East said.

Changing the subject, East said he expected ARM would be able to maintain premium royalty rates when licensing Cortex processors more widely.

Currently ARM charges a one percent rate on its older chips, but has been asking for closer to two percent with the new Cortex processors.

He said it is easier when ARM licenses technology more broadly because the precedent will have been set.

This policy has had a good effect on ARM’s share price which is more than 50 times next year’s forecasted earnings. Investors like the idea of increasing royalty revenues as chipmakers buy in ARM’s technology rather than design chips from scratch.

East added that licence sales, both for its core processor technology and increasingly for graphics, are gaining momentum – which means increased cash from royalties is likely.

Microsoft’s moves towards configuring its Windows software for ARM chips was also touched on by East.

Redmond is driving the development of the software, not ARM. But East warned that Microsoft’s estimation for it to take between 24 and 36 months before widespread availability is about right.