By Ashlee Vance (Bloomberg Businessweek)
This is a story about ARM Holdings (ARMH), the mobile technology company. But before it gets going, here are a few things you need to know:
1. ARM is a company made up mostly of chip engineers. They design parts of chips—such as graphics and communication bits—and they design entire chips.
2. ARM sells these designs and licenses its chip architecture to dozens of companies, including Apple (AAPL), Samsung Electronics (005930:KS), Qualcomm (QCOM), and Nvidia (NVDA).
3. As a result, just about every smartphone, mobile phone, and tablet runs on an ARM chip.
4. In fact, you can argue that ARM-based products are now the most-used consumer products in the world, outflanking even Coca-Cola (KO) and McDonald’s (MCD) by some measures. (I recently made just such an argument.)
5. A great many people have not heard of ARM. This is because the company has largely kept to itself from a headquarters in Cambridge, England.
6. Its anonymity is sort of incredible when you think about it, considering that ARM has arguably had a more profound effect on modern living than just about any other company.
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