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What is the impact on Apple if NVIDIA were to buy ARM?

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Nvidia is looking to buy Arm, in 'advanced talks'. The acquisition could be met with regulatory hurdles, however, as Nvidia is also currently a customer of Arm and rival customers like Apple, Qualcomm, AMD and Intel will require guarantees that they'll be given equal access to Arm's instruction set but does this change Arm’s model of being a neutral provider of chip technology to everybody from mobile phone makers, to Apple for its future Mac computers?

 

trs96

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If this were to happen I don't see Nvidia wanting to lose hundreds of billions in revenue by revoking the ARM licenses of the majority of the current ARM customers. Would make no sense in terms of business practice. Everyone knows they don't get along well with Apple but I'm sure they'd be willing to take billions of dollars in licensing fees from them over the next 5 years.
 
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jaymonkey

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I was thinking it would make sense for Intel to buy ARM.

@craighazan,

It is highly unlikely that Intel would be interested in purchasing ARM, they have way too much invested in their CISC based (x86) architecture and switching to RISC based CPU's would make no sense at all.

They’re stuck at 10nm or 14nm, They could get back on track and be more competitive.

Purchasing ARM would not help Intel with their on-going transistor density issues as ARM (the company) only designs the ARM instruction set and reference designs which are then sold as multi-year license deals to 3rd parties such as Apple, Samsung, Fujitsu, Huawei, Marvel ..etc.

ARM (the company) do not manufacture any chips themselves, that's down to the 3rd party who are free to use any transistor destiny (7nm, 10nm, 14nm ..etc) for their CPU/SOC product and can use whichever fab foundry they want such as TSMC, GlobalFoundries, Samsung ...etc.

Cheers
Jay
 
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For the time being it won't. Nvidia doesn't get ARM and a clean slate. They're bound by existing contracts and they're usually extremely long in duration when it comes instruction set licensing. Just look at AMD, I don't think Intel would voluntarily renew right now.

I think this is going to have more impact on those who use reference designs. I think those will be going away in favor Nvidia designs and I think they're going to make a run at Intel/AMD with desktop/ mobile/ server chips, SoCs, and chipsets.
 
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It looks like a brilliant move for NVidia, especially after Apple snubbed their graphics cards for many years...
Apple didn't snub them Nvidia kept releasing bad drivers and would not give apple the information they wanted to develop their own driver so they parted ways and apple stopped certifying their web drivers. There really is no reason Nvidia could not just release the driver but they do not care.
 
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Thanks @jaymonkey I appreciate the answers. When Crypto first blew up two years ago, I did some reading about how the 'Crypto' works, I read that the most efficient crypto card was the 1050Ti. Obviously you would need a lot 1050Ti's lined up for it all to make sense!, but are NVidia on to something?, something they don't want to share with Apple. It's a good opportunity for NVidia to get into the processor business and see how many CUDA's it would take to fill a processor.
 

jaymonkey

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@craighazan,

I agree it will be interesting to see how Nvidia integrates ARM into its product line if the deal goes through.

As detailed in the above article I think its most likely that nothing will change with regards to ARM license deals, but it's quite possible that Nvidia will target the data centre / high end server market with a high core count, server optimised ARM processor supplemented with cuda cores, similar to what Fujitsu did with the AFX64 CPU's that where used in the new Japanese super computer.

I guess time will tell ....

Cheers
Jay
 

trs96

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Here's the most important paragraph(s) of the linked article.
Arm has already started to give some of its technology away in response to open chip architectures. And where does this end? Ask the proprietary minicomputer makers Digital Equipment, Hewlett Packard, IBM, or better still, the RISC/Unix vendors like Acorn RISC Machines (the originator of the Arm architecture), IBM, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett Packard, Data General, and so on. What Linux plus X86 did to all of them Linux plus RISC-V can do to Arm plus either Windows Server or Linux or MacOS or iOS or whatever. We said can, not will.
ARM generated just shy of $2 billion a year in licensing fees and other revenues in SoftBank’s fiscal 2019 and 2020 years ending in March and had an income of $1.27 billion in fiscal 2019 and a loss of $400 million in fiscal 2020.
So it looks like Nvidia paying tens of billions (maybe over 30 billion) for ARM is not the wisest investment as of today. Also, Apple is not really in competition with Nvidia. There's no good reason for Nvidia to attempt to stop Apple from making their SoCs and having success in the business they're in. As everyone knows Apple will never be selling their A series chips or new Mac silicon to anyone else (especially data centers) so why would Nvidia try to limit their use of the ARM architecture in their proprietary custom processors ?

In summary it won't have much if any affect on Apple but it will make some bankers incredibly happy. :)
 
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