ARM Holdings develops intellectual property (IP) used in silicon chips. It was founded in 1990 as a spinoff of British computer manufacturer Acorn Computers. The first time ARM designs were used in a cell phone was in 1994 for the Nokia 6110.
Semiconductor manufacturers combine ARM IP with their own IP to create complete chip designs. Chips containing ARM IP power most of today’s mobile devices, due to their low power consumption. In 2014, 60% of the world’s population used a device with an ARM chip on a daily basis.55 In 2012, 95% of the chips found in smartphones and tablets were ARM designs.
ARM licenses IP to over 1,000 global partners (including Samsung, Apple, Microsoft). The company doesn’t manufacture or sell chips, unlike semiconductor manufacturers such as Intel or AMD.
SoftBank purchased ARM in 2016 for £24.3 billion.