Chip maker AMD, holding its big software developer conference in Bellevue this week, announced a new partnership with ARM Holdings this morning that further aligns the behind-the-scenes technologies of the two companies. The partnership is viewed as an attempt to join forces against common rival Intel.

Under the arrangement, AMD says it will develop a new processor that uses ARM’s TrustZone security technology — aiming to make that technology more prevalent across the x86 processor architecture common in personal computers, not just on the mobile architecture for which ARM is best known.

The companies are hoping to make it more attractive for software developers to write for their chips, by making the underlying technologies more common and widespread. Intel acquired security firm McAfee earlier this year in a move to build security more deeply into its core technologies.

The partnership between AMD and ARM follows the news yesterday that they’re establishing a new Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) Foundation to make it easier to write software for chips that include both a central processor and a graphics processor. Other founding members of the group are Imagination Technologies, MediaTek and Texas Instruments.

“It’s significant that the high mobility guys and the graphics guys are throwing their lot in together,” said Roger Kay, an industry analyst with Endpoint Technologies Associates who is attending the AMD conference in Bellevue this week.

Jem Davies, an ARM fellow, told the audience at the AMD Fusion Developer Conference yesterday that rumors about a further tie-up between AMD and ARM were unfounded.

“There was a lot of ill-informed speculation about AMD buying ARM, ARM buying AMD, us getting together and buying Intel. Honestly, it’s really much, much simpler than that,” he said, talking about the benefits of the two companies adopting common technical approaches.

More: Austin American-Statesman, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News.

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