Apple not interested in takeover of Arm Holdings, report claims [u]

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 2020
Apple was approached to discuss a potential takeover of semiconductor designer Arm Holdings, but does not plan to pursue a bid for the company, according to a new report.

Credit: Nvidia
Credit: Nvidia


SoftBank, the Japanese company that owns Arm Holdings, is reportedly considering alternative options for the chip architecture designer. That could include either an initial public offering, or some type of full or partial sale, per a report from earlier in July.

According to Bloomberg, Apple and Softbank were in preliminary talks for a potential sale, but Apple decided not to chase the offer. Sources familiar with the matter said Arm's licensing operation would be a poor fit with the tech giant's current business structure. Further, an Apple takeover would likely raise red flags considering Arm is a licensee to multiple industry rivals.

Nvidia, which mostly produces graphics cards for the gaming and professional market, has reportedly showed interest in Arm. If those discussions break down, SoftBank could also decide to pursue a public listing, sources familiar with the matter said.

A deal for Arm Holdings could become the largest chip industry acquisition to date. Arm designs and licenses the ARM chip architecture that Apple uses in its A-series system-on-chips (SoCs).

Any deal for Arm is likely to spark antitrust scrutiny, however. Companies looking to buy the firm will likely need to prove that it will continue to provide equal access to the ARM instruction set. Those concerns, according to Bloomberg are what resulted in SoftBank, a neutral company, acquiring Arm the last time it went up for sale.

Update: This story has been updated to reflect additional information regarding Apple's role in the ongoing process.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 43
    civaciva Posts: 78member
    Okay, this is gong exactly where I thought it would go. 
    Apple announces they are completely switching architecture. 
    Softbank suddenly decides to sell ARM Holdings. 
    A competitor swoops in to pull the rug out from under Apple
    cornchipdysamoriawatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 43
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 2,205member
    The way I understood it is that Apple license the instruction set and not the chip architecture. It is why Apple calls their chips Apple Silicon and not Apple Arm. 
    fastasleepRayz2016aderutterMacQcqwerty52watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 43
    flydogflydog Posts: 1,093member
    civa said:
    Okay, this is gong exactly where I thought it would go. 
    Apple announces they are completely switching architecture. 
    Softbank suddenly decides to sell ARM Holdings. 
    A competitor swoops in to pull the rug out from under Apple
    You wouldn't have thought that if you actually knew what ARM does. 
    JapheyfastasleepericthehalfbeeblastdoorMacQcrazorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 43
    XedXed Posts: 1,426member
    civa said:
    Okay, this is gong exactly where I thought it would go. 
    Apple announces they are completely switching architecture. 
    Softbank suddenly decides to sell ARM Holdings. 
    A competitor swoops in to pull the rug out from under Apple
    This doesn't affect Apple Silicon. They'll still use their licensed ISA to make chips that no one else can keep up with. It doesn't matter who "owns" ARM Holdings.
    fastasleepEsquireCatsmattinozrandominternetpersonaderutterwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 43
    civa said:
    Okay, this is gong exactly where I thought it would go. 
    Apple announces they are completely switching architecture. 
    Softbank suddenly decides to sell ARM Holdings. 
    A competitor swoops in to pull the rug out from under Apple
    OK. This is exactly where it is going. No one cares about Apple using its own chips for its own computers ... but people who use Apple computers. (And even then a tiny subset of people who use Apple computers. Most Apple computer users see their Macs as locked boxes and know/care less about their internals than Windows/Linux users. The same for iPhone/iPad owners versus Android device owners. They buy Apple products because they "just work" - and when they don't they just take advantage of Apple's legendary support - and do not have to think about the underlying technology.)

    Seriously, who you think regards themselves as being in competition with Apple in the PC market? Nvidia? In what way? They don't manufacture PCs. They don't manufacture PC CPUs. And Apple doesn't even buy their GPUs for the vast majority of their products. So what on earth would Nvidia gain by denying Apple licenses for ARM and forcing Apple to continue using Intel? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

    How about someone who actually makes PCs then? Dell. Dell buys ARM, keeps Apple from making ARM Macs. Guess what? Apple still keeps making Intel Macs. Apple's market share remains the same. And Dell keeps getting hammered by Lenovo. And Dell - who is already financially struggling from their failed VMWare purchase that they are going to have to write down billions from - will also have another worthless acquisition in ARM. Lenovo? More of the same. Virtually no one on this planet who would even think of buying a Mac would buy a Lenovo because they don't have the brand name that IBM once did. HP? Acer? Asus? Yeah, no. There aren't very many people who would say "will I buy a MacBook Pro or will I buy an Acer Predator?" either. (By "very many" I mean absolutely none.)
    Detnator
  • Reply 6 of 43
    XedXed Posts: 1,426member
    civa said:
    Okay, this is gong exactly where I thought it would go. 
    Apple announces they are completely switching architecture. 
    Softbank suddenly decides to sell ARM Holdings. 
    A competitor swoops in to pull the rug out from under Apple
    OK. This is exactly where it is going. No one cares about Apple using its own chips for its own computers ... but people who use Apple computers. (And even then a tiny subset of people who use Apple computers. Most Apple computer users see their Macs as locked boxes and know/care less about their internals than Windows/Linux users. The same for iPhone/iPad owners versus Android device owners. They buy Apple products because they "just work" - and when they don't they just take advantage of Apple's legendary support - and do not have to think about the underlying technology.)

    Seriously, who you think regards themselves as being in competition with Apple in the PC market? Nvidia? In what way? They don't manufacture PCs. They don't manufacture PC CPUs. And Apple doesn't even buy their GPUs for the vast majority of their products. So what on earth would Nvidia gain by denying Apple licenses for ARM and forcing Apple to continue using Intel? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

    How about someone who actually makes PCs then? Dell. Dell buys ARM, keeps Apple from making ARM Macs. Guess what? Apple still keeps making Intel Macs. Apple's market share remains the same. And Dell keeps getting hammered by Lenovo. And Dell - who is already financially struggling from their failed VMWare purchase that they are going to have to write down billions from - will also have another worthless acquisition in ARM. Lenovo? More of the same. Virtually no one on this planet who would even think of buying a Mac would buy a Lenovo because they don't have the brand name that IBM once did. HP? Acer? Asus? Yeah, no. There aren't very many people who would say "will I buy a MacBook Pro or will I buy an Acer Predator?" either. (By "very many" I mean absolutely none.)
    Um, no. It doesn't work that way. Despite your tautological pleonasmic trolling you should know that much.
    tmaycivawonkothesanetenthousandthingsbikerdudeMacQcqwerty52Rayz2016fastasleeprazorpit
  • Reply 7 of 43
    tmaytmay Posts: 5,716member
    Xed said:
    civa said:
    Okay, this is gong exactly where I thought it would go. 
    Apple announces they are completely switching architecture. 
    Softbank suddenly decides to sell ARM Holdings. 
    A competitor swoops in to pull the rug out from under Apple
    OK. This is exactly where it is going. No one cares about Apple using its own chips for its own computers ... but people who use Apple computers. (And even then a tiny subset of people who use Apple computers. Most Apple computer users see their Macs as locked boxes and know/care less about their internals than Windows/Linux users. The same for iPhone/iPad owners versus Android device owners. They buy Apple products because they "just work" - and when they don't they just take advantage of Apple's legendary support - and do not have to think about the underlying technology.)

    Seriously, who you think regards themselves as being in competition with Apple in the PC market? Nvidia? In what way? They don't manufacture PCs. They don't manufacture PC CPUs. And Apple doesn't even buy their GPUs for the vast majority of their products. So what on earth would Nvidia gain by denying Apple licenses for ARM and forcing Apple to continue using Intel? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

    How about someone who actually makes PCs then? Dell. Dell buys ARM, keeps Apple from making ARM Macs. Guess what? Apple still keeps making Intel Macs. Apple's market share remains the same. And Dell keeps getting hammered by Lenovo. And Dell - who is already financially struggling from their failed VMWare purchase that they are going to have to write down billions from - will also have another worthless acquisition in ARM. Lenovo? More of the same. Virtually no one on this planet who would even think of buying a Mac would buy a Lenovo because they don't have the brand name that IBM once did. HP? Acer? Asus? Yeah, no. There aren't very many people who would say "will I buy a MacBook Pro or will I buy an Acer Predator?" either. (By "very many" I mean absolutely none.)
    Um, no. It doesn't work that way. Despite your tautological pleonasmic trolling you should know that much.
    You're good. 

    I had to google pleonasmic. 
    flyingdpcivabikerdudeqwerty52razorpitdysamoriawatto_cobraTRAGkillroy
  • Reply 8 of 43
    applesauce007applesauce007 Posts: 1,682member
    Purchasing all or part of ARM Holdings will save Apple some instruction set licensing fees in the long term.

    https://youtu.be/wgEKDGNjqsk


    civadysamoriawatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 43
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,820member
    Is this one of Apples classic non-denial denials?
    "Apple not (directly) interested" but has already signed an agreement with someone else as mystery joint venture partner kind of situation.
    civawatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 43
    civaciva Posts: 78member
    Deleted comment 
    quoting doesn’t work well on the iPhone app, and I think the “planogasmic” comment covered what I was going to say. 
    edited July 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 43
    civaciva Posts: 78member
    The way I understood it is that Apple license the instruction set and not the chip architecture. It is why Apple calls their chips Apple Silicon and not Apple Arm. 
    Specifically, the way I understand it, Apple silicon is an SOC, however still has ARM at the core. As the nanometer process for ARM advances, so does Apple silicon. It’s like they bought a Chevy small block, and built a drive train around it, added turbos, improved the fuel injection, THEN put it in their car. I could be wrong, but that was my understanding.
    flydog said:
    civa said:
    Okay, this is gong exactly where I thought it would go. 
    Apple announces they are completely switching architecture. 
    Softbank suddenly decides to sell ARM Holdings. 
    A competitor swoops in to pull the rug out from under Apple
    You wouldn't have thought that if you actually knew what ARM does. 
    Please enlighten me
  • Reply 12 of 43
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,908member
    "Further, an Apple takeover would likely raise red flags considering Arm is a licensee to multiple industry rivals."

    Apple plays too nice. I would acquire technology and have everyone pay me for stealing my tech in the first place.
    civa
  • Reply 13 of 43
    civa said:
    The way I understood it is that Apple license the instruction set and not the chip architecture. It is why Apple calls their chips Apple Silicon and not Apple Arm. 
    Specifically, the way I understand it, Apple silicon is an SOC, however still has ARM at the core. As the nanometer process for ARM advances, so does Apple silicon. It’s like they bought a Chevy small block, and built a drive train around it, added turbos, improved the fuel injection, THEN put it in their car. I could be wrong, but that was my understanding.
    flydog said:
    civa said:
    Okay, this is gong exactly where I thought it would go. 
    Apple announces they are completely switching architecture. 
    Softbank suddenly decides to sell ARM Holdings. 
    A competitor swoops in to pull the rug out from under Apple
    You wouldn't have thought that if you actually knew what ARM does. 
    Please enlighten me

    Completely wrong. If you want to use automotive as an analogy this would be closer:

    Chevy will either sell you complete engines or they’ll sell you the “rights” to manufacture your own.

    Samsung, Qualcomm and others buy generic off-the-shelf Chevy small blocks direct from Chevy with cast iron blocks and heads. They’re cheap and reliable.

    Apple makes their own engines adhering to the standards Chevy provides for a small block. Except Apple makes both their block and heads from billet aluminum and CNC machines them to exact tolerances. They have the exact same dimensions as a Chevy small block so they’ll mate with the same transmissions and accessories (like alternators or PS pumps). They are better than the Chevy engines in every regard (lighter weight, stronger, much higher power output, excellent reliability). The only thing in common with the original Chevy small block are the dimensions.


    This is the difference between Apple processors and everyone else. Apple designs 100% custom processors that run the ARM instruction set. The same way AMD makes 100% custom processors that run the Intel x86 instruction set. AMD isn’t using Intel cores to make their processors just like Apple isn’t using ARM cores to make theirs. 
    edited July 2020 aderutterhammeroftruthMacQcrob53Xedqwerty52watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 43
    svanstromsvanstrom Posts: 702member
    civa said:
    Okay, this is gong exactly where I thought it would go. 
    Apple announces they are completely switching architecture. 
    Softbank suddenly decides to sell ARM Holdings. 
    A competitor swoops in to pull the rug out from under Apple
    If only Apple had had your insights into this, instead of them being completely taken by surprise; and now is definitely going bankrupt within 3.2 weeks.

    Or… perhaps… and this is like the most crazy and complex conspiracy theory ever… Apple… and hang on to your hat here… actually knows stuff, and wouldn't completely bet their whole damn business on something like this.
    mwhitetmayfastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 43
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 2,648member
    Nvidia makes sense -- ARM is complimentary to their GPU business and there don't appear to be any major regulatory worries.

    Another few companies that make some sense to me (and that would be less likely to trigger regulatory worries):

    1. Amazon (they are an "infrastructure" company)
    2. Microsoft (long history of making money off of licensing; happy to bolster a competitor for x86)
    3. IBM (could ditch Power, get better economies of scale for their CPU design efforts)

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 43
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,911member
    Here's some information on the Arm instruction set (ISA) and general Arm information. 

    https://developer.arm.com/architectures/instruction-sets I imagine Apple is using the A64 ISA.
    ---
    An Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) is part of the abstract model of a computer. It defines how software controls the CPU.

    The Arm ISA family allows developers to write software and firmware that conforms to the Arm specifications, secure in the knowledge that any Arm-based processor will execute it in the same way. This is the foundation of the Arm portability and compatibility promise, underlying the Arm ecosystem.
    ---

    wikipedia: Arm (previously officially written all caps as ARM and usually written as such today), previously Advanced RISC Machine, originally Acorn RISC Machine, is a family of reduced instruction set computing (RISC) architectures for computer processors, configured for various environments. Arm Holdings develops the architecture and licenses it to other companies, who design their own products that implement one of those architectures‍—‌including systems-on-chips (SoC) and systems-on-modules (SoM) that incorporate memory, interfaces, radios, etc. It also designs cores that implement this instruction set and licenses these designs to a number of companies that incorporate those core designs into their own products.

    @ericthehalfbee Had a very good analogy using a car engine. 
    jony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 43
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,563member
    rob53 said:

    @ericthehalfbee Had a very good analogy using a car engine. 

    Another analogy is with construction... ARM ISA is basically a list of building codes. An ARM core is a blueprint of a house designed using all those codes.

    So a company can either buy the blueprint and build that house. Or license the building codes and design and build their own house staying within those codes.
    tenthousandthingsjony0watto_cobrakillroy
  • Reply 18 of 43
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,563member
    Personally, would be best if a new company was formed and bought ARM Holdings and let it run as is. Possibly a consortium of tech companies that use their IP; Samsung, Apple, Qualcomm, nVIDIA, etc. some of these companies have come together before to buy up patents that they felt needed to remain out of the hands of patent trolls.

    (Although would be great for Apple to buy the company and double charge Qualcomm for using its IP. Once to license it and again to sell any product made from it Haha. Apple did have a large stake in the company once before.. in fact, they helped start the company.)
    edited July 2020 civatenthousandthingswatto_cobrakillroy
  • Reply 19 of 43
    civaciva Posts: 78member
    svanstrom said:
    civa said:
    Okay, this is gong exactly where I thought it would go. 
    Apple announces they are completely switching architecture. 
    Softbank suddenly decides to sell ARM Holdings. 
    A competitor swoops in to pull the rug out from under Apple
    If only Apple had had your insights into this, instead of them being completely taken by surprise; and now is definitely going bankrupt within 3.2 weeks.

    Or… perhaps… and this is like the most crazy and complex conspiracy theory ever… Apple… and hang on to your hat here… actually knows stuff, and wouldn't completely bet their whole damn business on something like this.
    I'm not saying they will go bankrupt. 
    I am saying they will now have some organization either raising their price for licensing (possibly), or numerous court battles over patents, etc. 
    Then they might be forced to "share" what they spent billions of dollars to develop. 
    dysamoriawatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 43
    civaciva Posts: 78member
    blastdoor said:
    Nvidia makes sense -- ARM is complimentary to their GPU business and there don't appear to be any major regulatory worries.

    Another few companies that make some sense to me (and that would be less likely to trigger regulatory worries):

    1. Amazon (they are an "infrastructure" company)
    2. Microsoft (long history of making money off of licensing; happy to bolster a competitor for x86)
    3. IBM (could ditch Power, get better economies of scale for their CPU design efforts)

    NONE of those are good ideas. 
    razorpitdysamoriakillroy
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