ARM deal nears closure with Nvidia mulling $40B purchase from SoftBank

Posted:
in General Discussion
Softbank and Nvidia are reportedly close to making a deal over the sale of ARM Holdings, one that could be finalized in the next week and could see the British chip design firm handed over for more than $40 billion.




Nvidia and Softbank have been in talks for several weeks over the matter, with initial murmurs of a sale or IPO of ARM by Softbank in July followed later in the month by the two entering "advanced talks." Over a month later, the two sides are apparently getting very close to closing a deal.

According to people familiar with the talks speaking to the Wall Street Journal, a deal could be made early next week, so long as it doesn't hit a sudden roadblock. As to the value of the deal, it is expected to be a cash and stock transaction that would be for more than $40 billion.

For Softbank, the deal would be beneficial as it would make a considerable profit. The Japanese communications giant acquired ARM in 2016 for $32 billion, which would mean Softbank will have earned at least $8 billion in profit over four years from the acquisition.

It is claimed Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son has been working on the deal with a small team of executives, including ARM CEO Simon Segars, CFO Yoshimitsu Goto, Vision Fund CEO Rajeev Misra, and Vision Fund executive Akshay Naheta.

Initial reports on a possible sale of ARM alleged Apple was approached for potential bid, which apparently reached preliminary talks but stalled. As Apple licenses the ARM chip architecture used in its A-series SoCs, it seemed plausible for Apple to have an interest, but report sources suggested it would be a poor fit with the rest of the company's business structure.

A purchase of ARM by Nvidia would give the graphics chip producer access to more patents and intellectual property to enhance its own offerings, as well as giving itself more of an opening to move deeper into processor sales. However, the deal may hit regulatory hurdles, as ARM licenses its technology to many other companies, including Apple, AMD, Intel, and Qualcomm, and Nvidia's control over a vital license that its competitors need would raise questions by critics if the deal goes through.
killroy
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 25
    Too many legal land mines in this sale. An IPO would be better and keep things out of court.
    aderutterwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 25
    tmaytmay Posts: 6,437member
    I don't imagine that Apple has concerns one way or the other. Apple is likely at a point where they have in house capability and have licensed necessary IP to create their own proprietary ISA, while also large enough to create the design and validation tools needed to fab at TMSC, or whomever.

    I would prefer that ARM reside in Japan or the UK, and not Taiwan, simply for National Security reasons.
    edited September 2020 killroyrob53flyingdpaderutterwilliamlondonStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 25
    tmay said:
    I don't imagine that Apple has concerns one way or the other. Apple is likely at a point where they have in house capability and have licensed necessary IP to create their own proprietary ISA, while also large enough to create the design and validation tools needed to fab at TMSC, or whomever.

    I would prefer that ARM reside in Japan or the UK, and not Taiwan, simply for National Security reasons.
    You can't create any ARM designs without licensing from ARM Holdings. Even if it were possible somehow, Apple's existing line of processors - A, T, S, U, W, H - are all based on designs that they currently licensed from ARM. Creating 6 new lines of processors in a way that doesn't infringe on the MANY RISC-based CPU patents - and there are tons as RISC has been around since the early 1980s - would take years, and one would have no idea about such real world issues as performance, heat and scalability. Speaking of real world issues, Apple would be responsible for things like creating a new instruction set, architecture, microcode etc. as well as publishing all that stuff and securing patents for it. They also would need to build an entire application stack on top of the new architecture AND migrate their existing applications for their hardware to it, while still supporting the 2 billion iOS devices on the previous architecture for the 5-6 years that all those devices last. 

    Another thing: basic R&D like this isn't Apple's deal. It is amazing that so many people are convinced that it is. In fact, Apple doesn't do originality. Instead they take existing technology - stuff that has been around for awhile and has been proven - and incorporate them into their existing design language. At most, one could say that they excel at taking parts innovated or improved by others and using them to make new great products. But the truth is that nothing in Apple's present existence or their previous history indicates that they are capable of coming up with a "new" CPU design, or even a major advance on an existing design. Even their own CPUs, in addition to being based on the existing ARM design, were the result of acqui-hiring PA Semiconductor. Even something MUCH SIMPLER such as a fingerprint scanner, they had to buy a company that already had the tech, where Qualcomm and Samsung created their own using their own R&D departments (which is why they were able to make under-the-screen fingerprint scanners so quickly). 
    emoellerOferwilliamlondonronn
  • Reply 4 of 25
    killroy said:
    Too many legal land mines in this sale. An IPO would be better and keep things out of court.
    Nah. First off, a company creating tech and licensing it to competitors is nothing new. Recall that Sony had no issues licensing Blu-Ray tech to everyone else in the industry who wanted to make Blu-Ray players, including not a few companies that took their IP and used it to make far more money off Blu-Ray players than Sony did. Also specific to this case, there is no other way to monetize the IP otherwise. Is Nvidia going to start making smartphones, tablets, computers etc.? Meanwhile if anything does happen - whether through malice, neglect or even incompetence - Apple and the rest of Nvidia's licensees can and will hammer them in lawsuits and win.

    Apple doesn't do this because Apple - see above - Apple isn't into basic R&D. They do R&D for their own products for which it isn't in their interests to license. 

    As for the IPO thing ... Softbank investigated that, largely because it was the stated preference of ARM Holdings' current employees, previous owners/stakeholders as well as many of the licensees. The problem is that there is absolutely no way that ARM Holdings is going to generate anywhere near $32 billion in an IPO. ARM Holdings doesn't make/sell products. They are what a lot of folks on this board would not hesitate to call a patent troll were ARM to ever sue Apple or vice versa. Their only value is to an existing company that wants to bring their R&D in house. 

    Nvidia is pushing an to create an ARM-based edge computing platform (something about parallel processing on GPUs to take advantage of architectural capabilities that do not exist in CPUs because of the way that CPUs are designed to handle instructions) to sell to data centers and cloud companies. They are satisfied with the software but right now are basically running it on commodity hardware. They want to create their own custom ARM-based data center GPU hardware that is designed specifically for and optimized for their platform software and the data center workloads. If they are able to buy ARM and dedicate their R&D resources towards this design issue, they are going to dominate this market - which is very lucrative and on the verge of exploding but is also niche because it requires specialized hardware and software that is very difficult and expensive and not many companies have the expertise or capability to provide or any real way of getting it anytime soon - and this $40 billion will pay for itself many times over. But if they are not able to, then that will give the competition - which does exist - time to catch up by coming up with a similar platform but with better hardware (or software) or another approach to edge computing altogether. 

    But the bottom line, Nvidia's reasons for buying ARM have nothing to do with consumer devices like phones, tablets, PCs and smartwatches. Nvidia's competitors in the ARM-based enterprise hardware space have some reasons to be concerned but that is about it.
    Grayeaglewilliamlondonronnmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 5 of 25
    tmaytmay Posts: 6,437member
    cloudguy said:
    tmay said:
    I don't imagine that Apple has concerns one way or the other. Apple is likely at a point where they have in house capability and have licensed necessary IP to create their own proprietary ISA, while also large enough to create the design and validation tools needed to fab at TMSC, or whomever.

    I would prefer that ARM reside in Japan or the UK, and not Taiwan, simply for National Security reasons.
    You can't create any ARM designs without licensing from ARM Holdings. Even if it were possible somehow, Apple's existing line of processors - A, T, S, U, W, H - are all based on designs that they currently licensed from ARM. Creating 6 new lines of processors in a way that doesn't infringe on the MANY RISC-based CPU patents - and there are tons as RISC has been around since the early 1980s - would take years, and one would have no idea about such real world issues as performance, heat and scalability. Speaking of real world issues, Apple would be responsible for things like creating a new instruction set, architecture, microcode etc. as well as publishing all that stuff and securing patents for it. They also would need to build an entire application stack on top of the new architecture AND migrate their existing applications for their hardware to it, while still supporting the 2 billion iOS devices on the previous architecture for the 5-6 years that all those devices last. 

    Another thing: basic R&D like this isn't Apple's deal. It is amazing that so many people are convinced that it is. In fact, Apple doesn't do originality. Instead they take existing technology - stuff that has been around for awhile and has been proven - and incorporate them into their existing design language. At most, one could say that they excel at taking parts innovated or improved by others and using them to make new great products. But the truth is that nothing in Apple's present existence or their previous history indicates that they are capable of coming up with a "new" CPU design, or even a major advance on an existing design. Even their own CPUs, in addition to being based on the existing ARM design, were the result of acqui-hiring PA Semiconductor. Even something MUCH SIMPLER such as a fingerprint scanner, they had to buy a company that already had the tech, where Qualcomm and Samsung created their own using their own R&D departments (which is why they were able to make under-the-screen fingerprint scanners so quickly). 
    You do realize that Apple created the first 64 bit ARM implementation before ARM actually provided its own ARM 64 bit implementation.

    https://appleinsider.com/articles/19/12/02/a7-how-apples-custom-64-bit-silicon-embarrassed-the-industry

    Apple has never been challenged in SOC's since.

    "Apple doesn't do originality" is a bullshit meme.
    Beatsgregoriusmcitpeksomar moralesJWSCflyingdprobabaaderutterlolliverwilliamlondon
  • Reply 6 of 25
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,267member
    tmay said:
    cloudguy said:
    tmay said:
    I don't imagine that Apple has concerns one way or the other. Apple is likely at a point where they have in house capability and have licensed necessary IP to create their own proprietary ISA, while also large enough to create the design and validation tools needed to fab at TMSC, or whomever.

    I would prefer that ARM reside in Japan or the UK, and not Taiwan, simply for National Security reasons.
    You can't create any ARM designs without licensing from ARM Holdings. Even if it were possible somehow, Apple's existing line of processors - A, T, S, U, W, H - are all based on designs that they currently licensed from ARM. Creating 6 new lines of processors in a way that doesn't infringe on the MANY RISC-based CPU patents - and there are tons as RISC has been around since the early 1980s - would take years, and one would have no idea about such real world issues as performance, heat and scalability. Speaking of real world issues, Apple would be responsible for things like creating a new instruction set, architecture, microcode etc. as well as publishing all that stuff and securing patents for it. They also would need to build an entire application stack on top of the new architecture AND migrate their existing applications for their hardware to it, while still supporting the 2 billion iOS devices on the previous architecture for the 5-6 years that all those devices last. 

    Another thing: basic R&D like this isn't Apple's deal. It is amazing that so many people are convinced that it is. In fact, Apple doesn't do originality. Instead they take existing technology - stuff that has been around for awhile and has been proven - and incorporate them into their existing design language. At most, one could say that they excel at taking parts innovated or improved by others and using them to make new great products. But the truth is that nothing in Apple's present existence or their previous history indicates that they are capable of coming up with a "new" CPU design, or even a major advance on an existing design. Even their own CPUs, in addition to being based on the existing ARM design, were the result of acqui-hiring PA Semiconductor. Even something MUCH SIMPLER such as a fingerprint scanner, they had to buy a company that already had the tech, where Qualcomm and Samsung created their own using their own R&D departments (which is why they were able to make under-the-screen fingerprint scanners so quickly). 
    You do realize that Apple created the first 64 bit ARM implementation before ARM actually provided its own ARM 64 bit implementation.

    https://appleinsider.com/articles/19/12/02/a7-how-apples-custom-64-bit-silicon-embarrassed-the-industry

    Apple has never been challenged in SOC's since.

    "Apple doesn't do originality" is a bullshit meme.
    I would add Apple's Arm6 as well:

    "In the late 1980s, Apple Computer and VLSI Technology started working with Acorn on newer versions of the Arm core. In 1990, Acorn spun off the design team into a new company named Advanced RISC Machines Ltd.,[30][31][32] which became Arm Ltd when its parent company, Arm Holdings plc, floated on the London Stock Exchange and NASDAQ in 1998.[33] The new Apple-Arm work would eventually evolve into the Arm6, first released in early 1992. Apple used the Arm6-based Arm610 as the basis for their Apple Newton PDA." [ref: ] wikipedia

    @cloudguy Apple has been involved with Arm for over 30 years so they do have experience and probably have been adding their own technology back into ARM licenses. Never sell their technical abilities short. Apple released revolutionary products well ahead of their time even though some of them, like the Newton, took awhile before technology and consumers were ready for them.
    tmayGrayeagleBeatsgregoriusmJWSCflyingdprobabaaderutterlolliverwilliamlondon
  • Reply 7 of 25
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,927member
    cloudguy said:
    tmay said:
    I don't imagine that Apple has concerns one way or the other. Apple is likely at a point where they have in house capability and have licensed necessary IP to create their own proprietary ISA, while also large enough to create the design and validation tools needed to fab at TMSC, or whomever.

    I would prefer that ARM reside in Japan or the UK, and not Taiwan, simply for National Security reasons.
    You can't create any ARM designs without licensing from ARM Holdings. Even if it were possible somehow, Apple's existing line of processors - A, T, S, U, W, H - are all based on designs that they currently licensed from ARM. Creating 6 new lines of processors in a way that doesn't infringe on the MANY RISC-based CPU patents - and there are tons as RISC has been around since the early 1980s - would take years, and one would have no idea about such real world issues as performance, heat and scalability. Speaking of real world issues, Apple would be responsible for things like creating a new instruction set, architecture, microcode etc. as well as publishing all that stuff and securing patents for it. They also would need to build an entire application stack on top of the new architecture AND migrate their existing applications for their hardware to it, while still supporting the 2 billion iOS devices on the previous architecture for the 5-6 years that all those devices last. 

    Another thing: basic R&D like this isn't Apple's deal. It is amazing that so many people are convinced that it is. In fact, Apple doesn't do originality. Instead they take existing technology - stuff that has been around for awhile and has been proven - and incorporate them into their existing design language. At most, one could say that they excel at taking parts innovated or improved by others and using them to make new great products. But the truth is that nothing in Apple's present existence or their previous history indicates that they are capable of coming up with a "new" CPU design, or even a major advance on an existing design. Even their own CPUs, in addition to being based on the existing ARM design, were the result of acqui-hiring PA Semiconductor. Even something MUCH SIMPLER such as a fingerprint scanner, they had to buy a company that already had the tech, where Qualcomm and Samsung created their own using their own R&D departments (which is why they were able to make under-the-screen fingerprint scanners so quickly). 
    Not a smart appraisal of the situation or Apple in general. True that Apple integrates 3rd-party technologies and augments them with proprietary 1st-party ones when they’re lacking. 
    You also seem to assume a CPU ISA is beyond them when their SoCs already hold many 1st-party ISAs (graphics & neural being the obvious). Apple can (and probably already do) create a direct relationship between Swift, OS and Apple Silicon which eliminates the need for a 3rd-party CPU ISA at all.  Probably time to implement that, though they could already be emulating Aarch64 anyway.

    tmaygregoriusmcitpekskillroyJWSCrobabalolliverwilliamlondonGG1StrangeDays
  • Reply 8 of 25
    tmaytmay Posts: 6,437member
    mcdave said:
    cloudguy said:
    tmay said:
    I don't imagine that Apple has concerns one way or the other. Apple is likely at a point where they have in house capability and have licensed necessary IP to create their own proprietary ISA, while also large enough to create the design and validation tools needed to fab at TMSC, or whomever.

    I would prefer that ARM reside in Japan or the UK, and not Taiwan, simply for National Security reasons.
    You can't create any ARM designs without licensing from ARM Holdings. Even if it were possible somehow, Apple's existing line of processors - A, T, S, U, W, H - are all based on designs that they currently licensed from ARM. Creating 6 new lines of processors in a way that doesn't infringe on the MANY RISC-based CPU patents - and there are tons as RISC has been around since the early 1980s - would take years, and one would have no idea about such real world issues as performance, heat and scalability. Speaking of real world issues, Apple would be responsible for things like creating a new instruction set, architecture, microcode etc. as well as publishing all that stuff and securing patents for it. They also would need to build an entire application stack on top of the new architecture AND migrate their existing applications for their hardware to it, while still supporting the 2 billion iOS devices on the previous architecture for the 5-6 years that all those devices last. 

    Another thing: basic R&D like this isn't Apple's deal. It is amazing that so many people are convinced that it is. In fact, Apple doesn't do originality. Instead they take existing technology - stuff that has been around for awhile and has been proven - and incorporate them into their existing design language. At most, one could say that they excel at taking parts innovated or improved by others and using them to make new great products. But the truth is that nothing in Apple's present existence or their previous history indicates that they are capable of coming up with a "new" CPU design, or even a major advance on an existing design. Even their own CPUs, in addition to being based on the existing ARM design, were the result of acqui-hiring PA Semiconductor. Even something MUCH SIMPLER such as a fingerprint scanner, they had to buy a company that already had the tech, where Qualcomm and Samsung created their own using their own R&D departments (which is why they were able to make under-the-screen fingerprint scanners so quickly). 
    Not a smart appraisal of the situation or Apple in general. True that Apple integrates 3rd-party technologies and augments them with proprietary 1st-party ones when they’re lacking. 
    You also seem to assume a CPU ISA is beyond them when their SoCs already hold many 1st-party ISAs (graphics & neural being the obvious). Apple can (and probably already do) create a direct relationship between Swift, OS and Apple Silicon which eliminates the need for a 3rd-party CPU ISA at all.  Probably time to implement that, though they could already be emulating Aarch64 anyway.

    Well thought out response.
    killroyflyingdplolliverwilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 25
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    cloudguy said:
    ARM Holdings doesn't make/sell products. They are what a lot of folks on this board would not hesitate to call a patent troll were ARM to ever sue Apple or vice versa. Their only value is to an existing company that wants to bring their R&D in house. 

    You don't know what a patent troll is.
    killroylolliverwilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 25
    cloudguy said:
    tmay said:
    I don't imagine that Apple has concerns one way or the other. Apple is likely at a point where they have in house capability and have licensed necessary IP to create their own proprietary ISA, while also large enough to create the design and validation tools needed to fab at TMSC, or whomever.

    I would prefer that ARM reside in Japan or the UK, and not Taiwan, simply for National Security reasons.
    You can't create any ARM designs without licensing from ARM Holdings. Even if it were possible somehow, Apple's existing line of processors - A, T, S, U, W, H - are all based on designs that they currently licensed from ARM. Creating 6 new lines of processors in a way that doesn't infringe on the MANY RISC-based CPU patents - and there are tons as RISC has been around since the early 1980s - would take years, and one would have no idea about such real world issues as performance, heat and scalability. Speaking of real world issues, Apple would be responsible for things like creating a new instruction set, architecture, microcode etc. as well as publishing all that stuff and securing patents for it. They also would need to build an entire application stack on top of the new architecture AND migrate their existing applications for their hardware to it, while still supporting the 2 billion iOS devices on the previous architecture for the 5-6 years that all those devices last. 

    Another thing: basic R&D like this isn't Apple's deal. It is amazing that so many people are convinced that it is. In fact, Apple doesn't do originality. Instead they take existing technology - stuff that has been around for awhile and has been proven - and incorporate them into their existing design language. At most, one could say that they excel at taking parts innovated or improved by others and using them to make new great products. But the truth is that nothing in Apple's present existence or their previous history indicates that they are capable of coming up with a "new" CPU design, or even a major advance on an existing design. Even their own CPUs, in addition to being based on the existing ARM design, were the result of acqui-hiring PA Semiconductor. Even something MUCH SIMPLER such as a fingerprint scanner, they had to buy a company that already had the tech, where Qualcomm and Samsung created their own using their own R&D departments (which is why they were able to make under-the-screen fingerprint scanners so quickly). 

    ARM was originally founded November, 1990 as a joint venture between Apple, Acorn, and VLSI Technology to develop a chip for the Apple Newton, now widely regarded as the world’s first decent mobile device. Apple held a share in the company until it was sold to SoftBank in 2016.

    Apple now holds a perpetual 
    multi-use architectural ARM license, which basically means it can build whatever it wants our of it, modify and extend it, which is exactly what they've been doing. What it comes down to is that ARM is just an instruction set, not a processor design, which is why they bought PA Semiconductor with the patents and expertise to produce RISC processors, in addition to the patents Apple already holds from previous RISC ventures with IBM, Motorola, etc,.

    As for originality, check out this list of innovators...

    Companies with a 64-bit ARMv8-A architectural licence include Applied Micro, Broadcom, Cavium, Huawei (HiSilicon),  Nvidia, AMD, Qualcomm, Samsung, and Apple.


    edited September 2020 citpekstmaykillroyJWSCrezwitsgregoriusmStrangeDaysmuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
    ARM.png 146.9K
  • Reply 11 of 25
    tmay said:
    I don't imagine that Apple has concerns one way or the other. Apple is likely at a point where they have in house capability and have licensed necessary IP to create their own proprietary ISA, while also large enough to create the design and validation tools needed to fab at TMSC, or whomever.

    I would prefer that ARM reside in Japan or the UK, and not Taiwan, simply for National Security reasons.

    Most, if not all, of ARM's value lies in its IP, and the ability to collect license fees for that technology.  If one's goal was simply the technology itself, that is readily available by becoming a licensee.

    While there is the risk that Nvidia could try to put the screws to ARM's licensees, including Apple, only a fool would spend $40B to do so, and undermine that investment by threatening the customers, and the business.

    For its part, Apple has long had a top-level architecture license, and has already been designing its own silicon for years, a fact that seems to have escaped at least one person here.

    It worst comes to the worst, it can take Apple Silicon to the next level, and go fully proprietary.  It would be a PITA, but since it has the dev tools, and owns the whole widget, would not be as arduous a task as it would be for others.

    The fact that Apple was given a first look, and said "no, thanks" indicates that the company feels confident in its position.
    killroyJWSCgregoriusmlollivertmaywilliamlondonStrangeDaysmuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 25
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 1,203member
    cloudguy said:
    tmay said:
    I don't imagine that Apple has concerns one way or the other. Apple is likely at a point where they have in house capability and have licensed necessary IP to create their own proprietary ISA, while also large enough to create the design and validation tools needed to fab at TMSC, or whomever.

    I would prefer that ARM reside in Japan or the UK, and not Taiwan, simply for National Security reasons.
    You can't create any ARM designs without licensing from ARM Holdings. Even if it were possible somehow, Apple's existing line of processors - A, T, S, U, W, H - are all based on designs that they currently licensed from ARM. Creating 6 new lines of processors in a way that doesn't infringe on the MANY RISC-based CPU patents - and there are tons as RISC has been around since the early 1980s - would take years, and one would have no idea about such real world issues as performance, heat and scalability. Speaking of real world issues, Apple would be responsible for things like creating a new instruction set, architecture, microcode etc. as well as publishing all that stuff and securing patents for it. They also would need to build an entire application stack on top of the new architecture AND migrate their existing applications for their hardware to it, while still supporting the 2 billion iOS devices on the previous architecture for the 5-6 years that all those devices last. 

    Another thing: basic R&D like this isn't Apple's deal. It is amazing that so many people are convinced that it is. In fact, Apple doesn't do originality. Instead they take existing technology - stuff that has been around for awhile and has been proven - and incorporate them into their existing design language. At most, one could say that they excel at taking parts innovated or improved by others and using them to make new great products. But the truth is that nothing in Apple's present existence or their previous history indicates that they are capable of coming up with a "new" CPU design, or even a major advance on an existing design. Even their own CPUs, in addition to being based on the existing ARM design, were the result of acqui-hiring PA Semiconductor. Even something MUCH SIMPLER such as a fingerprint scanner, they had to buy a company that already had the tech, where Qualcomm and Samsung created their own using their own R&D departments (which is why they were able to make under-the-screen fingerprint scanners so quickly). 

    ARM was originally founded November, 1990 as a joint venture between Apple, Acorn, and VLSI Technology to develop a chip for the Apple Newton, now widely regarded as the world’s first decent mobile device. Apple held a share in the company until it was sold to SoftBank in 2016.

    Apple now holds a perpetual multi-use architectural ARM license, which basically means it can build whatever it wants our of it, modify and extend it, which is exactly what they've been doing. What it comes down to is that ARM is just an instruction set, not a processor design, which is why they bought PA Semiconductor with the patents and expertise to produce RISC processors, in addition to the patents Apple already holds from previous RISC ventures with IBM, Motorola, etc,.

    As for originality, check out this list of innovators...

    Companies with a 64-bit ARMv8-A architectural licence include Applied Micro, Broadcom, Cavium, Huawei (HiSilicon),  Nvidia, AMD, Qualcomm, Samsung, and Apple.


    “NOT TO BE REPUBLISHED WITHOUT PERMISSION FROM ARM”

    Very good info.  But at the same time I’m hoping you haven’t violated any proprietary information agreements.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 25
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    cloudguy said:
    tmay said:
    I don't imagine that Apple has concerns one way or the other. Apple is likely at a point where they have in house capability and have licensed necessary IP to create their own proprietary ISA, while also large enough to create the design and validation tools needed to fab at TMSC, or whomever.

    I would prefer that ARM reside in Japan or the UK, and not Taiwan, simply for National Security reasons.
    You can't create any ARM designs without licensing from ARM Holdings. Even if it were possible somehow, Apple's existing line of processors - A, T, S, U, W, H - are all based on designs that they currently licensed from ARM. Creating 6 new lines of processors in a way that doesn't infringe on the MANY RISC-based CPU patents - and there are tons as RISC has been around since the early 1980s - would take years, and one would have no idea about such real world issues as performance, heat and scalability. Speaking of real world issues, Apple would be responsible for things like creating a new instruction set, architecture, microcode etc. as well as publishing all that stuff and securing patents for it. They also would need to build an entire application stack on top of the new architecture AND migrate their existing applications for their hardware to it, while still supporting the 2 billion iOS devices on the previous architecture for the 5-6 years that all those devices last. 

    Another thing: basic R&D like this isn't Apple's deal. It is amazing that so many people are convinced that it is. In fact, Apple doesn't do originality. Instead they take existing technology - stuff that has been around for awhile and has been proven - and incorporate them into their existing design language. At most, one could say that they excel at taking parts innovated or improved by others and using them to make new great products. But the truth is that nothing in Apple's present existence or their previous history indicates that they are capable of coming up with a "new" CPU design, or even a major advance on an existing design. Even their own CPUs, in addition to being based on the existing ARM design, were the result of acqui-hiring PA Semiconductor. Even something MUCH SIMPLER such as a fingerprint scanner, they had to buy a company that already had the tech, where Qualcomm and Samsung created their own using their own R&D departments (which is why they were able to make under-the-screen fingerprint scanners so quickly). 

    ARM was originally founded November, 1990 as a joint venture between Apple, Acorn, and VLSI Technology to develop a chip for the Apple Newton, now widely regarded as the world’s first decent mobile device. Apple held a share in the company until it was sold to SoftBank in 2016.


    Apple was one of the inventors of ARM. But I thought they sold their shares pre-iPhone because they weren't expecting the barrage of knockoffs to follow. 2016 seems very recent.
  • Reply 14 of 25
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,920member
    What I admire about Apple is in-spite of tons of cash on hand that gives Apple freedom to buy which ever tech they want but their mental stability of where to invest for more bang for buck is astonishing. If Apple chose not to buy ARM than I trust that is right decision.
    Now, people can decide whether it is right fit for NVIDIA and long term can make more money of the deal which pushes it's stock up than all good. There is lot goes into acquisition and integrating successfully tech's from external companies. We have many failures in front of us like Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia mobile or Google's buying Motorola.
    entropysRayz2016muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 15 of 25
    I believe Apple licenses the ISA and not the Micro Architecture from ARM. 

    The Apple CPUs are probably based on an efficient POWER PC design from P.A. Semi which Apple acquired in 2008.  The micro architecture design was by Daniel W. Dobberpulh of DEC Alpha and StrongARM fame.   PA Semi initially licensed the POWER PC ISA from IBM.  That design was further enhanced with the purchase of Intrinsity in 2010 by Apple. 

    From Wikipedia 
    “Intrinsity’s main selling point was its Fast14 technology, a set of design tools implemented in custom EDAsoftware, for using dynamic logic and novel signal encodings to permit greater processor speeds in a given process than naive static design can offer.”

    Here is a presentation from pa semi. 
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozaf1-EIafk




    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 25
    tmay said:
    cloudguy said:
    tmay said:
    I don't imagine that Apple has concerns one way or the other. Apple is likely at a point where they have in house capability and have licensed necessary IP to create their own proprietary ISA, while also large enough to create the design and validation tools needed to fab at TMSC, or whomever.

    I would prefer that ARM reside in Japan or the UK, and not Taiwan, simply for National Security reasons.
    You can't create any ARM designs without licensing from ARM Holdings. Even if it were possible somehow, Apple's existing line of processors - A, T, S, U, W, H - are all based on designs that they currently licensed from ARM. Creating 6 new lines of processors in a way that doesn't infringe on the MANY RISC-based CPU patents - and there are tons as RISC has been around since the early 1980s - would take years, and one would have no idea about such real world issues as performance, heat and scalability. Speaking of real world issues, Apple would be responsible for things like creating a new instruction set, architecture, microcode etc. as well as publishing all that stuff and securing patents for it. They also would need to build an entire application stack on top of the new architecture AND migrate their existing applications for their hardware to it, while still supporting the 2 billion iOS devices on the previous architecture for the 5-6 years that all those devices last. 

    Another thing: basic R&D like this isn't Apple's deal. It is amazing that so many people are convinced that it is. In fact, Apple doesn't do originality. Instead they take existing technology - stuff that has been around for awhile and has been proven - and incorporate them into their existing design language. At most, one could say that they excel at taking parts innovated or improved by others and using them to make new great products. But the truth is that nothing in Apple's present existence or their previous history indicates that they are capable of coming up with a "new" CPU design, or even a major advance on an existing design. Even their own CPUs, in addition to being based on the existing ARM design, were the result of acqui-hiring PA Semiconductor. Even something MUCH SIMPLER such as a fingerprint scanner, they had to buy a company that already had the tech, where Qualcomm and Samsung created their own using their own R&D departments (which is why they were able to make under-the-screen fingerprint scanners so quickly). 
    You do realize that Apple created the first 64 bit ARM implementation before ARM actually provided its own ARM 64 bit implementation.

    https://appleinsider.com/articles/19/12/02/a7-how-apples-custom-64-bit-silicon-embarrassed-the-industry

    Apple has never been challenged in SOC's since.

    "Apple doesn't do originality" is a bullshit meme.
    What are you talking about?

    1. That is still an iteration of the original ARM Holdings design. It is just a better one than Qualcomm and Samsung's.
    2. It is ALSO the result of Apple BUYING the PA Semiconductor company. Not Apple's own unique design. So your rejoinder only confirmed my original comment. I repeat ... there is NOTHING that indicates Apple having the ability to create its own original ARM CPU design, especially a design that maintains the power and performance advantages that the ARM Holdings and PA Semiconductor designs have. 
  • Reply 17 of 25
    cloudguy said:
    tmay said:
    cloudguy said:
    tmay said:
    I don't imagine that Apple has concerns one way or the other. Apple is likely at a point where they have in house capability and have licensed necessary IP to create their own proprietary ISA, while also large enough to create the design and validation tools needed to fab at TMSC, or whomever.

    I would prefer that ARM reside in Japan or the UK, and not Taiwan, simply for National Security reasons.
    You can't create any ARM designs without licensing from ARM Holdings. Even if it were possible somehow, Apple's existing line of processors - A, T, S, U, W, H - are all based on designs that they currently licensed from ARM. Creating 6 new lines of processors in a way that doesn't infringe on the MANY RISC-based CPU patents - and there are tons as RISC has been around since the early 1980s - would take years, and one would have no idea about such real world issues as performance, heat and scalability. Speaking of real world issues, Apple would be responsible for things like creating a new instruction set, architecture, microcode etc. as well as publishing all that stuff and securing patents for it. They also would need to build an entire application stack on top of the new architecture AND migrate their existing applications for their hardware to it, while still supporting the 2 billion iOS devices on the previous architecture for the 5-6 years that all those devices last. 

    Another thing: basic R&D like this isn't Apple's deal. It is amazing that so many people are convinced that it is. In fact, Apple doesn't do originality. Instead they take existing technology - stuff that has been around for awhile and has been proven - and incorporate them into their existing design language. At most, one could say that they excel at taking parts innovated or improved by others and using them to make new great products. But the truth is that nothing in Apple's present existence or their previous history indicates that they are capable of coming up with a "new" CPU design, or even a major advance on an existing design. Even their own CPUs, in addition to being based on the existing ARM design, were the result of acqui-hiring PA Semiconductor. Even something MUCH SIMPLER such as a fingerprint scanner, they had to buy a company that already had the tech, where Qualcomm and Samsung created their own using their own R&D departments (which is why they were able to make under-the-screen fingerprint scanners so quickly). 
    You do realize that Apple created the first 64 bit ARM implementation before ARM actually provided its own ARM 64 bit implementation.

    https://appleinsider.com/articles/19/12/02/a7-how-apples-custom-64-bit-silicon-embarrassed-the-industry

    Apple has never been challenged in SOC's since.

    "Apple doesn't do originality" is a bullshit meme.
    What are you talking about?

    1. That is still an iteration of the original ARM Holdings design. It is just a better one than Qualcomm and Samsung's.
    2. It is ALSO the result of Apple BUYING the PA Semiconductor company. Not Apple's own unique design. So your rejoinder only confirmed my original comment. I repeat ... there is NOTHING that indicates Apple having the ability to create its own original ARM CPU design, especially a design that maintains the power and performance advantages that the ARM Holdings and PA Semiconductor designs have. 
    How long will PA Semi have to be a part of Apple Hardware Division before Apple gets any credit for designing something new?  Just asking, cause they’ve gone through several personnel changes since the acquisition and it has been more than 12 years Wichita is twice as long as P.A. S was an independent firm?  Also note that AFAIK PA Semi hadn’t ever designed an ARM compliment core until they were working with Apple.  They also hadn’t written the Secure Vault chip (encoding/decoding encryptions), the Neural Engine (long form vector optimizations), or a gpu.  So which of these developments are “tainted” by the acquisition of PASemi?
    tmayStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 25
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,920member
    cloudguy said:
    tmay said:
    cloudguy said:
    tmay said:
    I don't imagine that Apple has concerns one way or the other. Apple is likely at a point where they have in house capability and have licensed necessary IP to create their own proprietary ISA, while also large enough to create the design and validation tools needed to fab at TMSC, or whomever.

    I would prefer that ARM reside in Japan or the UK, and not Taiwan, simply for National Security reasons.
    You can't create any ARM designs without licensing from ARM Holdings. Even if it were possible somehow, Apple's existing line of processors - A, T, S, U, W, H - are all based on designs that they currently licensed from ARM. Creating 6 new lines of processors in a way that doesn't infringe on the MANY RISC-based CPU patents - and there are tons as RISC has been around since the early 1980s - would take years, and one would have no idea about such real world issues as performance, heat and scalability. Speaking of real world issues, Apple would be responsible for things like creating a new instruction set, architecture, microcode etc. as well as publishing all that stuff and securing patents for it. They also would need to build an entire application stack on top of the new architecture AND migrate their existing applications for their hardware to it, while still supporting the 2 billion iOS devices on the previous architecture for the 5-6 years that all those devices last. 

    Another thing: basic R&D like this isn't Apple's deal. It is amazing that so many people are convinced that it is. In fact, Apple doesn't do originality. Instead they take existing technology - stuff that has been around for awhile and has been proven - and incorporate them into their existing design language. At most, one could say that they excel at taking parts innovated or improved by others and using them to make new great products. But the truth is that nothing in Apple's present existence or their previous history indicates that they are capable of coming up with a "new" CPU design, or even a major advance on an existing design. Even their own CPUs, in addition to being based on the existing ARM design, were the result of acqui-hiring PA Semiconductor. Even something MUCH SIMPLER such as a fingerprint scanner, they had to buy a company that already had the tech, where Qualcomm and Samsung created their own using their own R&D departments (which is why they were able to make under-the-screen fingerprint scanners so quickly). 
    You do realize that Apple created the first 64 bit ARM implementation before ARM actually provided its own ARM 64 bit implementation.

    https://appleinsider.com/articles/19/12/02/a7-how-apples-custom-64-bit-silicon-embarrassed-the-industry

    Apple has never been challenged in SOC's since.

    "Apple doesn't do originality" is a bullshit meme.
    What are you talking about?

    1. That is still an iteration of the original ARM Holdings design. It is just a better one than Qualcomm and Samsung's.
    2. It is ALSO the result of Apple BUYING the PA Semiconductor company. Not Apple's own unique design. So your rejoinder only confirmed my original comment. I repeat ... there is NOTHING that indicates Apple having the ability to create its own original ARM CPU design, especially a design that maintains the power and performance advantages that the ARM Holdings and PA Semiconductor designs have. 

    If someone makes opinion to talk jibber-jabber about Apple's innovation ability than not worth wasting time to argue against. Over $2T valuation doesn't fall from the sky and that is Apple's ability to create products people love to buy,willing to pay. Innovation is a form of evolution and in process many smaller steps or one large step..
    tmayStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 25
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,464member
    ARM licensing is likely perpetual meaning that Apple made a lump payment for unlimited rights to ARM technology and can expand on it.   
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 25
    cloudguy said:
    tmay said:
    cloudguy said:
    tmay said:
    I don't imagine that Apple has concerns one way or the other. Apple is likely at a point where they have in house capability and have licensed necessary IP to create their own proprietary ISA, while also large enough to create the design and validation tools needed to fab at TMSC, or whomever.

    I would prefer that ARM reside in Japan or the UK, and not Taiwan, simply for National Security reasons.
    You can't create any ARM designs without licensing from ARM Holdings. Even if it were possible somehow, Apple's existing line of processors - A, T, S, U, W, H - are all based on designs that they currently licensed from ARM. Creating 6 new lines of processors in a way that doesn't infringe on the MANY RISC-based CPU patents - and there are tons as RISC has been around since the early 1980s - would take years, and one would have no idea about such real world issues as performance, heat and scalability. Speaking of real world issues, Apple would be responsible for things like creating a new instruction set, architecture, microcode etc. as well as publishing all that stuff and securing patents for it. They also would need to build an entire application stack on top of the new architecture AND migrate their existing applications for their hardware to it, while still supporting the 2 billion iOS devices on the previous architecture for the 5-6 years that all those devices last. 

    Another thing: basic R&D like this isn't Apple's deal. It is amazing that so many people are convinced that it is. In fact, Apple doesn't do originality. Instead they take existing technology - stuff that has been around for awhile and has been proven - and incorporate them into their existing design language. At most, one could say that they excel at taking parts innovated or improved by others and using them to make new great products. But the truth is that nothing in Apple's present existence or their previous history indicates that they are capable of coming up with a "new" CPU design, or even a major advance on an existing design. Even their own CPUs, in addition to being based on the existing ARM design, were the result of acqui-hiring PA Semiconductor. Even something MUCH SIMPLER such as a fingerprint scanner, they had to buy a company that already had the tech, where Qualcomm and Samsung created their own using their own R&D departments (which is why they were able to make under-the-screen fingerprint scanners so quickly). 
    You do realize that Apple created the first 64 bit ARM implementation before ARM actually provided its own ARM 64 bit implementation.

    https://appleinsider.com/articles/19/12/02/a7-how-apples-custom-64-bit-silicon-embarrassed-the-industry

    Apple has never been challenged in SOC's since.

    "Apple doesn't do originality" is a bullshit meme.
    What are you talking about?

    1. That is still an iteration of the original ARM Holdings design. It is just a better one than Qualcomm and Samsung's.
    2. It is ALSO the result of Apple BUYING the PA Semiconductor company. Not Apple's own unique design. So your rejoinder only confirmed my original comment. I repeat ... there is NOTHING that indicates Apple having the ability to create its own original ARM CPU design, especially a design that maintains the power and performance advantages that the ARM Holdings and PA Semiconductor designs have. 
    It demonstrates that Apple's processor at the time wasn't based on a design from ARM Holdings. ARM had not yet published a 64-bit reference core, only the aarch64 ISA. Apple implemented the ISA themselves.

    P.A. Semi was founded in 2003 and Apple acquired them in 2008. That processor, the A7, debuted in 2013. They existed for five years separately, then five years within Apple by the time the A7 launched. Furthermore, their work when independent was on a POWER ISA core, not ARM. It's fair to call the A7 an Apple-originated design.



    As for Nvidia potentially acquiring ARM Holdings, I suspect their interest is mostly in the high-performance computing world. Right now, Nvidia GPUs are peripherals of Intel or IBM processors. They're the main compute in six of the top ten supercomputers in the world as of June. Nvidia wants an Apple-like degree of control over their own fate (a big reason Apple doesn't use Nvidia cards anymore is Apple doesn't want other companies writing kernel-space code, and Nvidia doesn't want another company writing their low-level drivers). Earlier this year, they purchased Mellanox (which does InfiniBand and other high-performance interconnect chips), then a week later they also purchased Cumulus Networks (which does datacenter interconnect operating systems). Give a GPU a Mellanox transceiver instead of a PCIe transceiver, hook it up to a Mellanox switch managed by an ARM processor running Cumulus software, and Intel and IBM are no longer in the picture.
    ronnRayz2016watto_cobra
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