Nvidia Will Control Mobile Processors Through ARM Purchase
Four years after SoftBank acquired ARM for $32 billion, the company is apparently about to sell its acquisition. NVIDIA is interested in buying ARM.
Bloomberg reports that the two companies are in talks and could "agree on a deal in the next few weeks," according to anonymous sources, although there is still a possibility that "the negotiations could take longer or fall apart."
There have been many mergers in the semiconductor market in recent years, but this will be the largest deal that will likely need to be approved by antitrust regulators before it is finalized.
UK-based ARM Holdings doesn't actually make processors. But the company is developing the chip architecture used by the processors found in virtually every smartphone on the planet, as well as a growing number of other devices, including smart TVs, routers, storage devices, and smart home gadgets. ARM-based chips are also becoming more common in Windows and Chrome OS laptops. In addition, Apple plans to release the first ARM-based Macs this year.
NVIDIA is probably best known for making the graphics chips used in gaming PCs. But the company has also expanded into products for data centers, automotive systems, and other products that can leverage GPU technology for artificial intelligence.
The company also makes processors like the Tegra X1 chip, which runs the NVIDIA Shield Android console and the Nintendo Switch game console. But beyond this relatively important relationship with Nintendo, NVIDIA has never been as big of a player in the processor market as rivals AMD, Intel, or Qualcomm.
It is not known whether NVIDIA plans to use the ARM acquisition to change this situation or whether the company will simply continue ARM's proven business model of licensing designs to third-party chip manufacturers.