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ARM earnings drop, but still beat expectations

by Scott Bicheno on 2 February 2010, 09:50

Tags: ARM

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Well positioned

As we wrote yesterday, the launch of the Apple iPad is probably at least as beneficial to the broader technology industry as it is to Apple itself, the reason being the unique attention and Apple launch generates.

One company this certainly applies to is UK low-power chip designer ARM. Its designs are already ubiquitous in mobile phones (2.4 chips per phone on average), but it's also hoping to see a lot of growth from other smart devices, like mini-notebooks, set-top boxes, TVs and, yes, tablets.

For the record, we rang ARM this morning in the forlorn hope it might confirm what specific ARM IP is in the Apple A4 chip, but it's leaving any such comment to Apple. Probably very wise if ARM wants to continue to work with Apple in future.

ARM announced its Q4 earnings today and it looks well positioned to capitalise on such trends. While revenues were down ten percent year-on-year, broader industry revenues were down by twice that much, and ARM managed to limit the fall in profits to three percent at £32.3 million.

"We are pleased that in Q4 ARM has continued to outperform the semiconductor industry as we gain market share," said Warren East, CEO of ARM. "Throughout 2009 we demonstrated the resilience of the ARM business model in a challenging trading environment. 

"The company is well-placed for this strong performance to continue as leading semiconductor manufacturers are increasingly designing ARM technology into their products, and as ARM technology becomes ever more pervasive in markets with long-term structural growth such as smartphones, digital TVs and microcontrollers."

Looking forward to this year, ARM said the semiconductor industry is expecting improving conditions in 2010. However, the rate of that improvement will be influenced by the macroeconomic factors we've all become grimly aware of and their effect on consumer confidence. ARM expects full year revenues to be in line with current expectations.

ARM's shares were up over four percent on the London stock exchange at time of writing.


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