Why Shrink Your Process When You Can Shrink The Market?
According to separate reports from Bloomberg and the Financial Times, linked to by Slashdot but buried behind a paywall, NVIDIA is in talks with SoftBank to purchase ARM. SoftBank bought ARM for $32 billion in July of 2016, the following year splitting 25% of it off to their Vision Fund which is a global conglomerate/investment fund with a variety of powerful members. Those members include Apple, Larry Ellison of Oracle fame and Mubadala Development Co. which happens to be the single largest shareholder of AMD and Globalfoundries Inc.
That gives you an small glimpse into how the technology industry works; at the top the competition is nothing like what it appears to be at the consumer level. You should also bear in mind that ARM’s customers include Apple Inc., Qualcomm Inc., Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and Intel Corp. among others when thinking about what it would mean if NVIDIA successfully purchases ARM.
If the deal does go through, this will give NVIDIA ownership of a scalable CPU company to add to their GPU offerings, just as AMD is and Intel intends to be if Xe gets off the ground. While it is unlikely NVIDIA will cut off revenue streams by shutting out the competition from licensing ARM products, there are likely to be changes to how they deal with their customers.
It is tempting to ponder if this means NVIDIA is thinking of expanding their mobile offerings beyond the Shield but this is more likely a way to ensure they can build HPC devices in house. The ownerhsip of a CPU architecture to interface with peripherals such as storage, as well as handling network traffic on their NVLink and NVSwitch products could really help boost NVIDIA’s already impressive HPC portfolio.
We can only hope this will not reduce competition and that Qualcomm and others will be able to continue to develop and sell their own products but only time will tell … and that is assuming the deal will be approved.
A deal for Arm could be the largest ever in the semiconductor industry, which has been consolidating in recent years as companies seek to diversify and add scale. Cambridge, England-based Arm's technology underpins chips in products including Apple Inc. devices and connected appliances.