Apple rumored to buy ARM Holdings

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Apple is reportedly interested in acquiring ARM Holdings, the Cambridge England firm that licenses the majority of the world's mobile chip designs.



According to a report by the London Evening Standard, "Apple is ARM's biggest customer and speculation is that the iPad maker wants to take chip design in house."



After noting that shares in ARM had "shot up 8.1p to 251.1p," the report cited a trader as saying, "A deal would make a lot of sense for Apple. That way, they could stop ARM's technology from ending up in everyone else's computers and gadgets.?



The report added "traders reckon a bid would come in at around 400p a share, valuing ARM at more than £5.2 billion [$8 billion US]."



Apple originally founded ARM in a 1990 partnership with UK computer maker Acorn and chip fab VLSI Technologies. At the time, Apple was interested in adapting Acorn's new RISC processor for use as a mobile processor in the company's new Newton Message Pad.



As Apple discontinued the the Newton line in the late 90s, chief executive Steve Jobs began selling Apple's shares of ARM in an effort to balance the company's books. Apple returned to ARM processors with the iPod in 2001, and has consistently used ARM processors ever since in its iPods, recent AirPort wireless base stations, the iPhone, and iPad.



Apple appears to have acquired chip designer Intrinsity in order to accelerate the ARM Cortex A8 to 1GHz speeds. Were Apple to buy ARM, it could leverage a great deal of power over the market for mobile and embedded processors chips, the vast majority of which are based on licensed ARM designs.



Currently, Apple pays royalties for ARM's chip designs used in its products. If the company acquired ARM, it could conceivably raise licensing costs to rivals or even take ARM designs off the market. Competitors to ARM in the mobile arena, including Intel's Atom processor family, are not nearly as power efficient.



Similar to Intrinsity and PA Semi, ARM only licenses its chip designs and technologies to other companies that actually build the chips.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 154
    msnlymsnly Posts: 378member
    Two Words:



    Do It!
  • Reply 2 of 154
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MsNly View Post


    Two Words:



    Do It!



    One word:



    Amen!
  • Reply 3 of 154
    Holy sh*t! Wouldn't this just shake up the entire mobile industry! Having to license from Apple!
  • Reply 4 of 154
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,875member
    Yes! Do it Apple!
  • Reply 5 of 154
    ibillibill Posts: 391member
    The plot thickens..
  • Reply 6 of 154
    dcj001dcj001 Posts: 301member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GregoriusM View Post


    Holy sh*t! Wouldn't this just shake up the entire mobile industry! Having to license from Apple!



    And, even better, having Apple say, "No thanks. These are ours. Get your own."
  • Reply 7 of 154
    Apple keeps moving!!! On to the next one!!! 
  • Reply 8 of 154
    Question, does ARM actually manufacture the processors themselves?



    I ask only that this could make Apple's mobile devices even more cost effective AND allow them to make super secret squirrel processors without the need for external printing factories.



    I've said Apple should do this themselves and if this really is the case Apple is going to produce even more amazing things. The best way to ensure everything is perfect is to do it yourself.



    If they print their own processors could they also make their own solid state drives?



    The potential for something like this is astronomical.
  • Reply 9 of 154
    Jobsinator, Get'r done!!!
  • Reply 10 of 154
    msnlymsnly Posts: 378member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DCJ001 View Post


    And, even better, having Apple say, "No thanks. These are ours. Get your own."



    YES!!!



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lowededwookie View Post


    Question, does ARM actually manufacture the processors themselves?



    No, I they're just a IP company, hence the name ARM Holdings.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Wikipedia


    Unlike other microprocessor corporations such as AMD, Intel, Freescale (formerly Motorola) and Renesas (formerly Hitachi and Mitsubishi),[27] ARM only licenses its technology as intellectual property (IP), rather than manufacturing its own CPUs. Thus, there are a few dozen companies making processors based on ARM's designs. Intel, Freescale and Renesas have all licensed ARM technology. In 2007, 2.9 billion chips based on an ARM design were manufactured.[28]



  • Reply 11 of 154
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lowededwookie View Post


    Question, does ARM actually manufacture the processors themselves?



    I ask only that this could make Apple's mobile devices even more cost effective AND allow them to make super secret squirrel processors without the need for external printing factories.



    I've said Apple should do this themselves and if this really is the case Apple is going to produce even more amazing things. The best way to ensure everything is perfect is to do it yourself.



    If they print their own processors could they also make their own solid state drives?



    The potential for something like this is astronomical.



    No, they are the holding company. They give the rights to companies to use the tech. Intellectual Properties.
  • Reply 12 of 154
    ARM has one of the best business models in the business. All they do is create the designs, and sell them to others, who then have to invest in actually building those chips.



    That being said, I can't see how Apple would prevent a PA Semi style outflow of engineers if they acquired ARM? I think it would not be smart of Apple to stop them from selling to competitors (for employee morale, as well as anti-trust reasons). A better idea might be to continue selling designs to 3rd parties, but getting a 3-6 month lead in development time (in the mobile industry this is huge, since its half the life-cycle of a phone).
  • Reply 13 of 154
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,131member
    I don't buy the whole " spend billions to keep others from having it" ethos.

    I think Apple realizes that ARM is "the" platform for mobility going forward and

    they are investing heavily themselves. If they are investing themselves then why

    not make a little money and influence the design of mobile platforms going forward.



    I think this is less about thwarting competition and more about Apple becoming the "Intel" of mobile computing (in dominance)



    Intel's not going to have Atom as a viable successor for years if at all but ARM will grow its MP core business to attack Atom in the Netbook class sector.



    It behooves Apple to not only maintain current clientele but keep them happy and move forward with improved designs and tools.
  • Reply 14 of 154
    Apple should build their own manufacturing plant.



    Then they could make their own processors as well as ARM processors so then they could make double profits from licensing with this buyout and selling from their own plant. They'd make their money back easily.
  • Reply 15 of 154
    Don't do it.
  • Reply 16 of 154
    tofinotofino Posts: 697member
    shouldn't have been in such a hurry to sell all those shares in 1999 i guess, after the newton got steved. apple could have saved a couple of billions. a billion here, a billion there, soon you're talking real money!
  • Reply 17 of 154
    Apple needs to remember what business it is in... What it excels at!



    I have no doubt that Apple will-- if Apple were to buy ARM, it would be to advance Apple products, not to lock out others or to squelch competition... They don't believe that they have any real competition at what they choose to do.



    However, they are savvy enough not to let others put them at a competitive disadvantage by constricting their access to technology...



    .
  • Reply 18 of 154
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Apple is reportedly interested in acquiring ARM Holdings, the Cambridge England firm that licenses the majority of the world's mobile chip designs.



    According to a report by the London Evening Standard, "Apple is ARM's biggest customer and speculation is that the iPad maker wants to take chip design in house."



    After noting that shares in ARM had "shot up 8.1p to 251.1p," the report cited a trader as saying, "A deal would make a lot of sense for Apple. That way, they could stop ARM's technology from ending up in everyone else's computers and gadgets.”



    Where has this trader been? ARM's technology already is in everyone else's computers and gadgets, at least the pocket sized ones. As such, I don't see this getting past the anti-trust boards, if it even gets that far.
  • Reply 19 of 154
    iAd = ARM purchase?



    we need to spend some money...how can we make more!



    do it.
  • Reply 20 of 154
    tofinotofino Posts: 697member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DCJ001 View Post


    And, even better, having Apple say, "No thanks. These are ours. Get your own."



    that doesn't make a lot of sense. arm is obviously making money from licensing their chip design. it would be a no-brainer to keep that coming in, and i'm sure that their current customers have some pretty air tight contracts. i'm definitely not qualified on the legal implications, but i think that would be the kind of thing that would invite an investigation over anti-competitive behaviour.



    anybody more qualified to comment on this?



    this seems to me to be more of a strategic move to acquire intellectual property, possibly even to strengthen apple's bargaining position for one of the ongoing ping-pong lawsuits.
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