Looking at the ARM Top Ten customers list (for 2010) brings useful information about the volumes production generated by the chip makers involved in the wireless handset segment. Revenue for an ARM licensee comes from upfront license and royalties. Upfront license are in the few $ million range (max), when the below listed contribution from ARM’ customers are in few dozen of million $ (4% of $631M makes $25M). We can reasonably guess that the contributions are made at more than 90% by royalties. Another estimate is to make the assumption that these are mostly generated in the wireless handset segment. As a matter of confirmation, you can search for Atmel or NXP in this list (both are selling ARM based micros, but are not covering the wireless handset). You don’t see them? That’s normal; ARM revenue in wireless handset is (still) the most important share, even if the company desires to increase their position in the embedded market (22 billion chips in 2010). According with ARM annual report for 2010:
- “Our partners reported shipping over six billion ARM processor-based chips in 2010.”
- “On average there are now 2.5 ARM processor-based chips in every mobile phone handset.”
As the shipments of mobile phone handset were 1,250 million in 2010, more than three billion ARM processors (not chips) have been shipped in the wireless handset segment. This is consistent with the 62% reported by ARM for unit shipment in the mobile segment. See
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