The advances in size and accessibility of modern databases is a wonder of our age. But to continue they will need similar innovation in the silicon on which databases run.
Arm is now a real force in the data center. With all of the “Super 7” running Arm CPUs, and the software industry increasingly recognizing the benefit of porting to Arm, we are at or approaching a significant tipping point in this massive market.
Will Apple build its own RF chips – it turns out this is much more complicated than it sounds, and Apple is already getting almost everything it wants from its RF suppliers. However, nowhere in this piece do we say it will never happen.
Semis are changing, so it makes sense that some foundries are going to adopt new customer acquisition models. So just like we saw “Stealth IT” encourage cloud adoption, maybe we are going to see “Stealth Semis”.
AWS cannot control the software it runs, but it can still benefit from having its own CPU by reducing power consumption and thus increasing capacity of its data centers. And maybe that also introduces a new form of customer lock-in.
Much of modern technology is built on the idea of abstracting different layers of systems so that they can operate independently. For semis, the pendulum is now swinging back the other direction towards less abstract, custom chips.
A recap of our emerging thesis on the changing nature of compute and what that means for semis companies large and small.
There probably will not be thousands of companies designing their own chips – the upfront costs are just too prohibitive – but there will be enough to mark a major shift for the industry.
By our count 28 non-chip companies are developing their own chips. Of these, at least 16 have delivered multiple generations of their chips, signaling a long-term commitment.
Google is promoting the growth of open source tools for designing semis. The science fiction version of this story leads to everyone designing chips, the reality is going to be much narrower, but still means many more companies designing their own semis.