AMD and ARM collaborate on chip security

AMD and ARM have formed a strategic partnership to accelerate the adoption of an open, end-to-end security ecosystem based on ARM TrustZone technology. 

An AMD spokesperson told TG Daily the company would develop a platform security processor based on ARM’s Cortex-A5 chip which features TrustZone technology. 

Essentially, this would align both AMD x86- and ARM-based hardware with an industry standard security platform – spanning multiple processor architectures and helping to spur broader ecosystem support.

Indeed, AMD plans to provide TrustZone-enabled development platforms on  select APUs in 2013, and expected to further expand across its product portfolio in 2014. 

“As technology becomes more important to our everyday lives, security needs to be present in every single device. The challenge that the industry faces is how to make this a reality,” explained AMD exec Ian Drew. 

“Through this technology partnership with AMD, and the broadening of the ARM TrustZone technology ecosystem, we’re making another important step towards a solution. The aim is to make security accessible and consistent for consumers and business users across all computing devices.”

Nathan Brookwood, an analyst at Saratoga market consulting firm Insight 64, termed the deal a “clever move” on AMD’s part. 

“It’s going to help AMD in its competition with Intel and it’s going to help ARM in its competition with Intel,” he told the San Jose Mercury News and PC World.

“Given that AMD does now have a relationship with ARM, there might be other shoes they could drop over the coming months. We may start to see that kind of behavior where AMD gets important pieces of technology for its products from ARM.”

Analyst Patrick Moorhead, who worked for 11 years at AMD, concurred, noting that ARM’s TrustZone features would allow Advanced Micro Devices to directly compete with Intel’s $7.7 billion purchase of security software company McAfee in 2010.

“Collaboration with [ARM] keeps AMD very competitive,” he added.