Could Nvidia be in the running to buy British mobile chip designer ARM? It certainly seems that way and that could have implications for the future of mobile phone chip design.
Over 95 percent of the mobile processors used globally are based on ARM designs to varying degrees including Apple’s A-Series chips, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon and Samsung’s Exynos.
What’s more, Nvidia would be in a strong position to take the computing fight to Intel – especially since Apple’s plans to develop its own Mac chips are based on ARM designs.
It’s been known for some time that current owner SoftBank has been looking to divest ARM or list it publicly – it paid $32 billion for the company in 2016. Bloomberg says it has been in touch with “people with knowledge of the matter” who haven’t mentioned any other potential purchasers.
Bloomberg do suggest that Apple and SoftBank held discussions with a view to a purchase, but that ARM’s licensing model wouldn’t fit in with Apple’s hardware and software services business that well.
Interestingly, SoftBank previously owned a stake in Nvidia which it sold in 2019.
There is bound to be wider interest in the acquisition of ARM, which has grown from tiny roots of the Advanced RISC Machine processor inside 1980s BBC and Acorn machines into one of the biggest technology companies in the world, still based in Cambridge, UK.