Simon Segars took hold of the position of CEO of Softbank in 2013. And now, he has some plans for a better future of the company as well as the world. Let us have a look.
How’s life after the acquisition by SoftBank?
In a lot of ways, it’s exactly the same. We are focused on our roadmap, delivery… all of that is business as usual. What we do now is spend a lot of time thinking about the investment profile for the future, how that is going to pan out, how we take advantage around this opportunity around IoT.
So the time that I have got from not doing public company reporting and shareholder meeting is devoted to crafting strategy and talking to lot of people.
Your headcount seems to have grown in the past one year. What’s the case in India?
We are growing worldwide, including in India. This is the fourth or fifth building we have moved in Bengaluru. A lot of the work done here is R&D.
We have had an engineering presence here since 2005 and I think we had 50 people back then and we are well over 800 people now. A lot of the work we do is around silicon design, what we call physical IP. Its leading edge work!!
ARM said that it plans to develop a chip that can be implanted in the brain. What’s that about? How far is something that away?
Globally, a lot of companies right now are looking at neural-nets, trying to understand how the brain works, and thinking about interfaces, perceptive computing… working out what is it that you want before you consciously realize it. A lot of work is going around implanted technology to provide medical benefits. We are exploring all those areas in collaboration with partners. There are implantable technologies today (pacemakers that send data to smartphones, for example). It will be a few more years before that (a chip in the brain) becomes commonplace, but it’s inevitable. Phone sales are now saturating.
Where do you see new growth coming from?
We have been expecting that slowdown, given the pace at which they were growing. The good thing about technology is that while we put a lot of focus around developing the right capability around mobile devices, what that boils down to is: high performance with energy and a comprehensive set of IP that people can use in lots of other markets. The new high growth markets we are thinking about are automotive. IoT is another area; tiny processors so small you can’t see them embedded in the clock on the wall, light bulbs.
We are putting together a technology portfolio that people can build their chips which are so energy efficient that they can run for years and yet be connectivity. Computer vision is another area we are expanding into.
Clearly, it looks that Segars is interested to invest in chips and make the future a better world.