James Moore: Departing chief's show of strength at Arm

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The Independent Online

Outlook It's not often that shares in Arm Holdings finish the day in negative territory, although the fall is understandable enough. Its chief executive Warren East caught more than a few people on the hop by announcing his resignation.

Arm is that rare beast: a genuine British tech success that can go toe-to-toe with the big guns of Silicon Valley and beat them at their own game. Mr East, who has overseen the company's rise to power – three quarters of internet-connected screens and devices used an Arm-designed chip last year – deserves credit.

He has run the company with quiet effectiveness; an awful lot of his peers could learn a thing or two from him. On the face of it, his departure wouldn't appear to be motivated by a desire to get out at the right time. Arm's prospects look rosy as he hands the reins over to Simon Segars, another Arm veteran.

So is there anything that the UK could do to foster more of this sort of thing?

Not really, say the two of them. The UK has competitive corporation tax rates and the patent box, which offers even lower rates for things designed and patented in the UK. This country even produces a steady supply of good engineers.

Presented with an opportunity to make some pointed pre-Budget suggestions Messrs Segars and East declined. They like it here.

In fact the only suggestion that Mr Segars made, after a bit of prodding, was this: We need to be more tolerant of failure. That's not necessarily a popular idea, given the way our banks have behaved (and behave). But having worked in California, he points out that over there it is almost a badge of honour to have run a failed tech company. You pick yourself up, dust yourself down and, having learned from your errors (banks take note), you start again and nobody bats an eyelid. Perhaps we should listen to him.