ARM expected to record highest growth in MCU market

September 12, 2011 // By Phil Ling
According to findings from the 2011 edition of Semicast’s study of 32/64-bit Microcontrollers, Embedded Microprocessors & DSPs, ARM became the leading architecture for 32/64-bit MCUs/eMPUs in 2010, ahead of x64/x86 and Power Architecture, although x64/x86 is set to remain the leading challenger.

Over the period 2010 to 2016, highest growth is forecast for ARM, Revenues for 32/64-bit MCUs and embedded MPUs (eMPUs) are forecast to grow from USD 8.3 billion in 2010 to USD 19.8 billion in 2016, a CAGR of 15.6 per cent. In 32-bit MCUs, the ARM architecture primarily competes against products based on Coldfire, Power Architecture, SuperH and V850, with automotive and industrial the key markets in 2010.

In 32/64-bit eMPUs, the ARM architecture held a market share of less than ten per cent in 2010, with x64/x86 the leading architecture. ARM licensees have also started to compete in the market for 32/64-bit eMPUs with products based on the A8 and A9 cores, but face strong competition from established suppliers such as AMD, AppliedMicro, Cavium, Freescale, Intel and PMC-Sierra.

Microsoft's announcement that Windows 8 will be supported on both the x64/x86 and ARM architectures is judged to have only a minor impact on this market until the very latter stages of the forecast period, but to have significant implications over the long term.

Colin Barnden, Principal Analyst at Semicast Research and study author commented “Semicast judges that this announcement will weaken the stranglehold that the x64/x86 architecture has on applications which historically have been developed to be run on Microsoft Windows, thus opening up yet more design-wins to run on ARM”. Semicast judges Freescale to have been the leading supplier of 32/64-bit MCUs and embedded MPUs in 2010, ahead of Intel and Renesas. Freescale’s offering in this market includes ARM, Coldfire and Power Architecture, while Renesas Electronics supports products based on SuperH, V850, H8SX, M32, R32 and RX.

The source material for this news release is taken from the Semicast report “32/64-bit Microcontrollers, Embedded Microprocessors & DSPs – 2011 Edition”, published in August 2011. A copy of the study brochure can be viewed at: www.semicast.net/resources/Semicast+report+brochure+32$2664+bit+MCUs+eMPUs+DSPs+2011.pdf