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Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena is a freelance journalist and Editor of EDA Confidential at She can be reached at peggy at aycinena dot com.

SAME Forum: Mike Muller lights the way to 2020

October 11th, 2012 by Peggy Aycinena

ARM CTO Mike Muller came to Sophia Antipolis in the South of France on October 2nd and 3rd for three reasons: To visit the 70+ ARM developers who work in the region, to announce the winner of the annual SAME Forum outstanding Startup Award, and to deliver the conference keynote address.

Muller is an extremely affable man and seemed quite delighted to announce the winner of the Startup Panel at the October 2nd conference dinner: the French company ADACSYS. Muller also noted during the award presentation that very early startup ZettICE, a participant in the competition, showed great potential and should continue to pursue their vision.

On Wednesday, October 3rd, Muller gave his keynote address to an absolutely packed auditorium as part of the morning’s events at SAME Forum. It was a reprise of his DAC 2012 keynote address, which was also given to a packed audience back in June in Moscone Center in San Francisco.

While Muller was speaking in Sophia Antipolis, I was in the back of the auditorium taking photos of his presentation on my iPad. To steady my arm for a snapshot, I leaned up against the wall and in that moment managed to change the lighting throughout the room; I had inadvertently leaned against the light switch panel. The lights on the stage where Muller was speaking went down and the lights in the house went up.

I was horrified, but after several anxious minutes peering in the semi-darkness at the control panel next to me, was able to guess that turning down the switch marked “Salle” would re-darken the house lights, while turning up the switch marked “Scène” would illuminate the stage once again.

Happily, Muller had just completed his talk and his PowerPoint presentation had ended. He was asking for questions from the audience as I brought up the lights on the stage and brought down the lights in the house, too much of each unfortunately.

Even though he couldn’t see the audience at all – the house lights were completely off at this point thanks to my over-reaction, and the stage was fully illuminated – Muller answered many questions easily, peering out into the darkness.

The most amusing among the questions from his admiring audience at SAME Forum: Does ARM actually have any competitors at this point in time?

Muller, his hand shading his eyes as he attempted to see the people out in front of him, chuckled and said, “Not really, unless you count that one company that keeps trying to catch up with us.”

The audience laughed, and Muller wrapped up his talk. It was clear that ARM feels it has little competition at this phase in the history of microelectronics. It was also clear that Mike Muller – articulate, relaxed, and at the top of his game – is a big part of why ARM has been so successful. Even when he couldn’t actually see his audience, he was comfortable with his message.

More importantly, even though he can’t see the millions of products that employee his company’s cores, Mike Muller is comfortable that ARM is the reason the world is as far down the path in technology as it is here in 2012. And he is just as sure that ARM will be leading the world to an even better place in 2020.


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