ARM (Advanced RISC Machines)


With the education market starting to fall off, Acorn’s priority was to open new markets and to
promote its processor design. VLSI, Acorn’s partner, had been tasked with fi nding new applications
for ARM processors, and Hauser had a separate company, Active Book, that was developing a
mobile system based on an ARM2 CPU. Apple Computer’s Advanced Technology Group (ATG)
contacted Acorn and started to study ARM processors. Apple’s ATG objective was to create an
Apple II-like computer, but the project was abandoned for fear of creating too much confusion
with Macintosh systems. However, the fi nal report stated that ARM processors were extremely
interesting — both their initial design and their power usage and processing power ratio.
Later, Apple Computers again studied the ARM processor. Apple had set strict requirements for its
Newton project; requiring a processor that had specifi c power consumption, performance, and cost,
but also a processor that could be completely stopped at any given moment by freezing the system
clock. Acorn’s design came closest to Apple’s requirements but didn’t quite fi ll them. A number of
changes were required, but Acorn lacked the resources necessary to make the changes. Apple helped
Acorn develop the missing requirements, and after a short collaboration, it was decided that the best
move would be to create a new, separate company. In November 1990, with funding from VLSI,
Acorn, and Apple, ARM was founded.