Investors chance their ARM

 
Steve Dinneen
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SHARES in chip designer ARM Holdings continued to creep up yesterday as investors eyed further consolidation in the technology sector.

It has been buoyed by HP’s shock $10.2bn (£6.2bn) deal to buy UK software firm Autonomy. Intel, which has been out-manoeuvred by ARM in the mobile chip market, has been persistently linked to the firm.

ARM’s most high-profile client Apple, which uses ARM chips in its iPhone and iPad products and has a gigantic cash pile behind it, is also seen as a potential suitor.

However, ARM chief executive Warren East has warned a takeover would be difficult without devaluing the firm.

ARM, whose technology is also used by firms including Samsung, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments, last month reported a 25 per cent rise in quarterly profit but warned it is not counting on a Christmas sales boom.

The group was among the top five risers in the FTSE 100 yesterday, gaining 4.5 per cent to close at 514p.

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Google and Apple have both tightened their grip on the smartphone market, at the expense of struggling rivals RIM and Microsoft. Android handsets represented 57 per cent of the market in the last quarter, up from a third last year, according to market research firm NPD Group. Apple also consolidated its position, taking an additional seven per cent of the total market share to command 29 per cent. Canadian BlackBerry-maker RIM was the biggest loser, seeing its market share fall from 28 per cent to just 11 per cent. Microsoft’s failure to set the market alight was highlighted once again, with its Windows Phone 7 platform making up just one per cent and its superceded Windows Mobile just four per cent.
● Google is preparing to deploy its newly acquired patents against Apple as the Cold War-style arms race continues to hot up. Google is understood to have identified 18 patents it can turn against Apple from the portfolio of 17,000 it acquired from Motorola earlier this month.
● Meanwhile, Apple is understood to have begun manufacturing a lower-priced version of its iPhone 4 featuring less storage space and aimed at the middle market. Suppliers say the 8GB iPhone 4 is being manufactured by a Korean company. Industry insiders say Apple is targeting an end-September launch for its next-generation iPhone 5.