Who are ARM’s top ten customers?


Who are ARM’s top ten customers?. Peter writes…

The leading customer of processor technology licensor ARM Holdings plc (Cambridge, England) by revenue contribution in 2010, according to Nomura Equities Research, comes as a bit of a surprise. The financial brokerage and analysis house says it was Intel Corp (Santa Clara, CA).


That was my reaction too and it begs the question: what ARM-supplied services, licenses or royalties was Intel paying millions of dollars for in 2010? ARM’s revenue in 2010 was $631.3 million so a 7 percent contribution means that about $44 million flowed from Intel to ARM—according to Nomura.

I am scratching my head to make sense of this. Could it be some hard disk drive controller that Intel makes by the bucket-load includes an ARM core? Or is there some ARM core that has made its way into some dusty, otherwise-forgotten corner of an Intel memory controller or image processing block that has ended up in an Intel microprocessor?

Intel 7.0%
TSMC 5.7%
Samsung 5.7%
TI 4.6%
NEC 3.5%
ST 3.5%
ZTE 2.8%
Broadcom 2.6%
AMD 2.5%
Infineon 2.4%
Apple 2.1%
Qualcomm 2.0%
Fujitsu 1.9%
UMC 1.9%
Lenovo 1.8%

Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here: adafruit.com/editorialstandards

Join Adafruit on Mastodon

Adafruit is on Mastodon, join in! adafruit.com/mastodon

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Join over 36,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community! http://adafru.it/discord

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers – CircuitPython.org

Maker Business — “Packaging” chips in the US

Wearables — Enclosures help fight body humidity in costumes

Electronics — Transformers: More than meets the eye!

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: Silicon Labs introduces CircuitPython support, and more! #CircuitPython #Python #micropython @ThePSF @Raspberry_Pi

Adafruit IoT Monthly — Guardian Robot, Weather-wise Umbrella Stand, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — #NewProds 7/19/23 Feat. Adafruit Matrix Portal S3 CircuitPython Powered Internet Display!

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at AdafruitDaily.com !


  1. I hate CAPTCHAs but love this one on ADafruit!

  2. Wouldn’t it be safe to assume that those are just licensing fees for use of patents ARM may hold? That only implies that they were the highest single contributor to revenue, not that any physical product was ever shipped to them. They are listed with other companies on the wiki for ARM… Then again, I wouldn’t be surprised if Intel acquired some ARM chips for reverse engineering purposes, I mean they are competitors and this is the 21st century…

  3. ARM don’t have any physical product or fab, they purely generate Intellectual Property. i.e. Designs for other people to fabricate. There are no ARM chips from ARM. In effect their income is all licensing fees.

    Intel bought DEC/Digital’s StrongARM (ARM v4) cored processor family, which they evolved to the ARM v5 cored XSCALE. Puzzlingly, though, they sold XSCALE to Marvell a few years ago, yet still own the ARM v5 licence, so maybe some of the money is coming from Marvell, via Intel, to ARM.

    Remember also, that ARM design modules such as I/O, floating point cores, vector interrupt handling etc, so it is possible that Intel are using this IP inside it’s own embedded micros etc.

    Although I believe Intel may reverse engineer (it makes good engineering sense anyway), many large companies have found to their cost just how expensive it is it infringe other companies’ IP, and find it better to licence its use legally and openly. Indeed Intel and AMD have a mutual agreement to use each others patents.

    K0re: Adafruit’s Captcha is great, except for one small problem; Around 10% of men are colour blind.

    Additional: Two Degrees, but I am clearly too stupid to function as a human. I just spent 10 minutes trying to drag the colour strips, type in numbers and use cursor keys. Turns out you drag the box instead. Sigh.

  4. @Brad: ARM does not manufacture CPUs, and they ship no physical product. Instead, they create detailed CPU designs and license their designs to other companies for production. Those companies are free to modify the design for their purposes. So Apple, Qualcomm, Samsung, NVIDA, etc. all pay ARM license fees to produce their own ARM processors.

    It is possible that some of the companies on this list are paying for patents rather than ARM designs, but I still think processor designs should be the bulk of their income.

  5. “Wouldn’t it be safe to assume that those are just licensing fees for use of patents ARM may hold?”
    ARM *only* sells their IP. They do not produce chips for sale. The intent is to integrate their IP into your chip design. So it isn’t just “safe to assume”, that’s what those numbers represent.

    “I wouldn’t be surprised if Intel acquired some ARM chips for reverse engineering purposes,”
    I find it hard to believe Intel bought $44million dollars in IP and services just for “reverse engineering” purposes. Even more so, I find it difficult to believe ARM would sell them that much for that reason.

  6. Intel have an ARM licence and have done work with ARM cores for nearly a decade now (StrongARM then XScale). Maybe that’s the licence cost?

    Buying physical ARM chips won’t have anything to do with it – ARM don’t make their own chips, they get their income from licensing the designs for ARM cores to other companies.

  7. TSMC i a bit of a surprise for me. I assume this is for custom designs for customers, but I didn’t realize design work would represent such a significant chunk of their business. Many ARM vendors use them to manufacture their wafers (there are hardly hundreds of modern fabs out there), but I’m curious what those numbers represent. Cross town rival UMC is also listed in the top 10???

  8. As for ARM and Intel, a very big part of ARM’s IP isn’t just MCU cores. They also license a huge variety of other designs like external memory controllers, LCD controllers, IO blocks for things like SSP/SPI, etc. Some of that is almost certainly (as others have mentionned) payment due to patent infringement and licensing agreements.

    That said … I’m always amazed that ARM doesn’t make more money than it does for the ubiquity of their IP! Of course … part of the reason it’s everywhere may also be the reasonable licensing fees.

  9. I worry the likes of Apple will buy-out ARM (patents) and then proceed to use corrupt Trial Lawyers to sue everyone else out of business over time. Doom and gloom…?

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.