ARM and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC – the largest independant chip foundry) have struck an agreement that provides access to ARM’s intellectual property (IP) to TSMC. What does this mean? TSMC is a chip foundry, they do not develop chips but they manufacture them. If you were a graphics designer, then TSMC would be the printer – that’s the simplest way to put it. However, a chip designer needs to work with a set of tools and libraries that are built by the foundry, and each foundry tends to have its own set, that is not compatible with other foundries.
So, the end game is to allow TSMC customers to use ARM’s upcoming IP in their own designs. Now, many or all the famous (NVIDIA, Qualcomm, Marvel…) TSMC customers already use ARM designs with TSMC, but this deal might make things easier for smaller ones. In short: expect to see ARM continue to proliferate on the mobile computing market.