Subject: Re: ARM: The Non-Evil Monopolist
From: DV Henkel-Wallace <>
Date: Mon, 12 Jul 2004 08:48:55 -0700

ARM doesn't really have a monopoly, it just has very large market share 
at the moment.

Modern embedded systems don't have that large a %age of assembly code 
any more -- they're mostly written in C (much as I tried years ago to 
get people do adopt C++).  So from the software side the switching cost 
is relatively low (there is always some assy code, so it's only 
"relatively" low).

Various MIPS and PPC vendors work to get those same design wins and 
succeed to some degree.  ARM currently has the best design for most 
applications so wins the most deals.  But there's nothing in principle 
to stop the Dragon processor (China's quasi-open-source CPU) from 
getting good enough to start displacing it in another 5-10 years 
(probably what it needs is someone in Bangalore to pick it up -- a 
classic fork!)

In addition, the entire embedded business is a tiny sliver of the CPU 
business (dominated of course by Intel) so doesn't receive the same 
kind of attention.  It's just not a big disaster if one company gets 
control of it for a while.  But I think it's an overstatement to say 
that ARM has control of it.