Bloomberg Businessweek’s profile on How ARM Came to Rule the World, thanks in part to Apple, which I’m sure most of you probably already knew about:
Then, in 1990, a new and determined customer arrived: Apple. The Mac maker had developed plans for a handheld computer and wanted a breakthrough microprocessor for the device. Apple, Acorn, and VLSI Technology, a chip design tools maker, formed a joint venture to build the silicon. Twelve Acorn engineers were picked to staff the company, which they named ARM. It’s an acronym within an acronym: Advanced RISC Machines—RISC stands for “reduced instruction set computing.”
ARM’s about page lists the following milestone from 1990:
Advanced RISC Machines (ARM) spins out of Acorn and Apple Computer’s collaboration efforts with a charter to create a new microprocessor standard. VLSI Technology becomes an investor and the first licensee.
If you’ve ever wondered about the history of ARM and why its processors are so dominant today, the in-depth article is worth the read.