ARM snaps up American design firm

Steve Dinneen
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ARM Holdings yesterday snapped up US design software firm Prolific, as chief executive Warren East reiterated his belief that the firm would suffer if it was subject to a US takeover.

And East’s bullish attitude appeared justified later in the day, as Hewlett-Packard unveiled plans to develop extremely low-energy servers, utilising ARM technology.

The Silicon Valley giant is working with Austin-based start-up chipmaker Calxeda -- which uses the ARM technology in its microprocessors -- to create servers aimed at companies running large-scale remote computing operations such as Twitter and Facebook.

Meanwhile, it was confirmed yesterday that ARM has bought privately-held Prolific for an undisclosed – understood to be relatively low – sum.

It hopes the company will enable it to design chips that are easier for its semiconductor manufacturer customers to produce. Ease of manufacture is an increasing concern as ARM designs ever smaller and more energy efficient chips to power the world’s smartphones.

Yesterday morning East said ARM’s status as a British company is beneficial to the business and a takeover by a larger US rival would “hamper” it.

He told the Today programme: “ARM’s business model works on us being independent.”