The Arm Story Part 2 : Archimedes to Advanced RISC Machines - Supplemental
Apple's Möbius, Active Book, the Acorn Archimedes and 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire?'
Olivetti owned Acorn, who made ARM, which was partly sold to Apple as a replacement for the Hobbit, which was made by AT&T, which partly owned Olivetti.
It’s remarkable how interlocked the stories of the key firms and technologies in this part of the Arm story are.
The other remarkable part of the story is how much Acorn managed to do with so few resources. I can’t think of another firm that managed to develop so much of their tech ‘stack’ in-house. From CPUs, to support chips, to software including programming languages, games and an operating system with a GUI. Acorn clearly had a culture that enabled it to do a lot with a little.
I think it’s worth bearing this in mind when we come to look at the early history of Advanced RISC Machines the company, another firm that had very few resources. We’ll discuss this in more detail in Part 3 of the Arm Story.
History is full of intriguing ‘what-ifs’. This part of the Arm story has at least two.
First, what if Olivetti had put its full weight and resources behind the Acorn RISC Machine?