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Softbank, the Japanese telecom/everything provider with its 30 year business plan and 300 year strategy, recently acquired ARM Holdings with a record sum of 24 billion pounds. Not all investors were thrilled, but I think that the move is very logical, what comes to Softbank’s vision of becoming a global ‘Everything-as-a-Service’ provider.
Chances are you’re not that familiar with ARM, but you’re likely using chips designed by them in countless devices around you, from your Samsung or Apple smartphone to your dishwasher and heat pump. ARM’s long term commitment to robust architecture, compatibility and sustainability has made them the hardware platform of choice for the Internet of Things. Yes, also our Spime Enabler runs on ARM.
Much like Nokia in the early days of GSM, ARM created an architecture that could be readily utilized by a multitude of vendors globally. Their designs were not the fastest or trendiest, but usually most energy and cost efficient. ARM slowly but steadily convinced everyone in the electronics business that their design could be trusted for decades ahead.
With their robotics research, several telecom divisons (including Sprint in the US) and now ARM hardware design foundation, Softbank is well positioned to serve the cyber-physical future, assuming that they will learn from ARM’s legacy what comes to sustainable IoT platforms of the future.
The next big challenge for Softbank in thinking and leadership is to bring together hardware, software and robotics. Embrace spimes that is.