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Qualcomm to enter ARM server chip market

Qualcomm's processor range is known as Snapdragon
Qualcomm's processor range is known as Snapdragon

Qualcomm's CEO, Steve Mollenkopf, has identified the server market as a $15 billion opportunity and will deliver products to address that market.

Mollenkopf, speaking at the company's annual analyst day meeting in New York, told the audience that he sees a convergence between the requirements of chips that power high-end smartphones and tablets and those inside data centres.

Intriguingly, he revealed that while it will take time build that business, Qualcomm is confident that it will do well because it has access to the latest manufacturing technologies.

14nm is currently the smallest commercial geometry available with 10nm likely to be reached by 2017. Nvidia and Samsung pulled out of that race while Calxeda went belly up after becoming one of the first to successfully launch an ARM-based server product.

Only Cavium, Applied Micro (whose chips are in HP's Moonshot server) and AMD are staying in the game. Competition however will come mostly from Intel.

Mollenkopf has also acknowledged that it will take a while for it to get into that market. It lacks the expertise of AMD and one has to wonder whether Qualcomm will not, five years after acquiring AMD's mobile graphics IP, swallow the rest of the company.