It’s been a couple of weeks since we found out Nvidia was interested in acquiring Arm and it looks like the talks are at an advanced stage according to a Bloomberg source. It also looks like current owner Softbank wants to retain a stake in the company, too.
UK-based Arm is a significant firm because its chip designs are inside the vast majority of mobile devices – more than 95 percent of mobile processors worldwide are based on its work including those designed by Apple, Samsung, Huawei and Qualcomm.
Nvidia’s own Tegra chips are also based on those designs, too, but while Nvidia made some headway with those chips in terms of Android tablets, the poor market share of Android tablets generally meant that it couldn’t get a foothold in the mobile device market.
Nvidia would be a much stronger company for the acquisition, especially considering it looks like there’s a definite move in computing away from traditional Intel and AMD processors towards more power-efficient ARM-based chips – Apple plans to develop its own Mac chips based on Arm designs, while Qualcomm has also been launching specific Snapdragon chips for laptops.
Nvdia has been doing well recently, reflected in a soaring share price.
Bloomberg suggested a fortnight ago that Apple and SoftBank held discussions with a view to purchasing Arm, but that Arm’s licensing model wouldn’t fit in with Apple’s software-hardware-services model.
Arm was originally spun off from British computer marker Acorn. Its name originates from the Advanced RISC Machine processor inside 1980/90s BBC and Acorn machines.