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Arm CEO Simon Segars, speaking at Web Summit 2019. Photo: Horacio Villalobos/Corbis via Getty Images

Simon Segars has been a busy guy during the pandemic, even if the Arm CEO has spent the bulk of the last 15 months at home: Overseeing a redesign of his company's products, helping his customers deal with a global chip shortage and engineering a $40 billion deal to sell his company.

Why it matters: U.K.-based Arm, uniquely in the chip industry, neither designs nor manufactures entire processors. It focuses on chip cores, and its energy-efficient designs sit at the heart of billions of products, from phones and computers to cars and home electronics.

If nothing else, Segars says the global chip shortage means people are finally talking about semiconductors.

  • "I hope this interest does spur people to want to come into this industry," Segars said in an interview with Axios Monday.

The big picture: There's a reason that SoftBank paid $32 billion to buy it five years ago — and it's the same reason that Nvidia is coughing up even more to acquire it now.

  • Arm licenses its chip-core architecture to the firms that design chips — companies such as Apple, Samsung and Qualcomm.
  • Its partners made some 25 billion chips based on its architecture last year. And, with the chip industry booming, Arm has seen its business grow too, with revenue last year up 11%.
  • In March, the company announced its latest chip architecture, known as V9, which adds improved security and machine learning capabilities, along with better overall performance.

What's new: Arm is announcing how that design will impact the mobile industry, which has adopted Arm designs almost universally.

  • While Intel defined the PC era with its ever more powerful chips, Arm's designs aim for the optimum balance of performance and power efficiency.
  • That's important because battery technology improves only a little each year, while people constantly want to do more with their devices without having to stop midday to recharge their phone.

Go deeper

Back-to-school spending expected to hit record high

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Families are expecting to spend a record amount on back-to-school shopping this year, according to a new National Retail Federation survey conducted this month.

Why it matters: Purchases will be driven in part by electronics items, putting more pressure on retailers and manufacturers to meet that demand amid a continuing chip shortage and other supply chain constraints.

Updated 32 mins ago - World

Brazil senators vote to recommend criminal charges for Bolsonaro

Brazilian senators vote on probe into President Bolsonaro's handling of pandemic. Photo: Gustavo Minas/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Brazilian Senate committee Tuesday voted to approve a report recommending President Jair Bolsonaro be charged with a raft of criminal indictments, including crimes against humanity over his response to the COVID-19 pandemic, per AP.

Why it matters: Bolsonaro has become the face of a right-wing approach to the pandemic that includes repudiating vaccines and masks and resisting lockdowns and other mitigation measures. The Senate report holds him personally responsible for half of the country's 600,000 deaths.

Former Georgetown tennis coach pleads guilty to accepting admissions bribes

Gordon Ernst (left) former head tennis coach at Georgetown, outside a courthouse in Boston in 2019. Photo: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

A former Georgetown University head tennis coach has pleaded guilty Tuesday to bribery charges related to facilitating the admission of prospective applicants.

Why it matters: Gordon Ernst solicited and accepted bribes from William Singer, ringleader of the cheating scheme uncovered by Operation Varsity Blues, and families in exchange for helping prospective applicants get into Georgetown as student athletes, according to the Justice Department.