Part 1: 7 License types to rule them all, one company to bind them
by Charlie Demerjian
semiaccurate.com (Aug 7, 2013)
People routinely ask SemiAccurate about ARM CPUs which is an odd question because ARM makes absolutely no silicon. That said they do design cores, GPUs, interconnects, and lots and lots of related IP but they manufacture absolutely none of it.
If you are one of the ~320 ARM partners you don’t buy anything physical, a partner just licenses designs, support, and tools. The company makes nothing physical you can buy, just IP to license and tools to use with that IP. Another ironic bit is that you can’t actually make a full SoC with what you get from ARM, you need to make or license other IP from other sources to have a complete device that you can eventually manufacture. With each passing day ARM fills in more and more pieces but there are lots of additional areas for a thriving ecosystem to sell both complementary and even competing designs to.
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