Nvidia in talks to buy ARM

Wow. And yikes.

I suppose Apple will love that. NOT

Apple could easily outbid anyone in the tech space. If Nvidia succeeds it means Apple doesn’t consider it a threat to their CPU work.

32 billion? More like ARM and a LEG, right?

(I’ll leave.)

It’s not like Nvidia will be able to stop other manufacturers from using ARM chips. There’s no way in hell any regulators will allow that.

Well, sure, Apple’s endgame is to be at total control of nearly all aspects of what it needs to make its business tick (including feeling entitled to all profits from people using their platform, but that is a different subject). They’ll more likely than not produce their own ARM chips once they switch over, but I wonder if patents and trademarks controlled by someone else could potentially interfere with that beautiful plan of world domination.

Apple has produced their own ARM chips for many, many years. There are two ways to go with ARM. First you can get their actual chips, named things like the cortex A57, and integrate them into your product. That’s what Qualcomm, Samsung, and Nvidia does. But ARM also offers instruction set licenses. That’s what Apple got, just the instruction set, and then they design and manufacture their own entirely custom implementation. Think AMD making x86-64 compatible chips-- they don’t buy any silicon from Intel.

We don’t know the details of their architecture license, but Arm was actually founded as a joint venture between Apple and Acorn Computers, so they might have a perpetual license, or an option to renew at a fixed increase, or similar.

It’s a little more complicated than that, they get access to a lot more design and implementation information than just a license to use the instruction set itself. Obviously Apple does a ton of custom work beyond the stock ARM core designs, but they are working off a reference architecture implementation. It’s reflected in things like how they parallel the ARM big.LITTLE style core concepts as they came about.

I doubt they’d be allowed to considering how many competitors license ARM stuff at some level.

Perhaps, they do call it an “architecture license”. I haven’t seen the terms ever made public though. Regardless, Apple designs its own SoCs.

This is correct.

tenor

Aww, that monkey is so sad!

Done deal apparently.

Yup.

Something tells me the US/EU governments and regulators are gonna have a big say in how this goes down if at all.

US ownership of the future of processors? Sounds good to me.

ARM chips are going to be in every car made in a couple years. Not to mention refrigerators, microwaves, smart speakers, etc.

Plus every iPhone, iPad, appletv, Mac, and MacBook.

I have been trying to figure out how this affects Apple, but it doesn’t seem like anyone knows exactly because no one knows the exact details of the license. From what I have read, Apple doesn’t pay ARM for chips, they just license the architecture and design their own chips from that. So they use the ARM architecture, but not their chips. That is why Apple isn’t calling their new Macs “ARM Macs”, but “Apple Silicon Macs”. I wonder how much of ARM revenue comes from Apple?

Edit: Rene Ritchie weighs in:

All the major players (Intel, Apple, MS, etc) have perpetual licenses to ARM. Otherwise you would have seen them bidding. They’re not worrying about getting cut-off or else this would have been an insane bidding war.

The question is what does Nvidia get out of this? They could have gotten a perceptual license, too, without having to spend $40 billion. Any attempt to cut-off everyone else to ARM will be met with massive legal battles they will almost certainly lose, not to mention the EU regulators probably getting involved.

If all the key users have these perpetual licenses that cause them not to care about this, why is Nvidia buying them a big deal then? Nvidia is gong to make it into an Intel challenger I guess?