In today’s post, we’re going to look at why Qualcomm opposes Nvidia’s takeover of ARM.
As we all should know by now, ARM or Advanced RISC Machine is the company that has a monopoly on all Smartphone chipset design.
All Smartphone SoC designs and instruction sets belongs to them. All inclusive, even Apple’s Bionic too. They even have a GPU business too and the Mali GPUs belong to them as well.
The Smartphone world today would not exist without the innovations done by ARM. The entire Smartphone SoC industry lies in the palm of their hands.
Others have tried to break into the Smartphone market and failed. Texas instruments tried and failed, Intel also tried to port its X86 architecture for mobile too and even licensed it to Unisoc at some point. They both failed to kick on.
ARM is the best fit for Smartphone mobile computing. It always was. ARM designs have gotten so good that Qualcomm and Apple are putting their mobile flagship SoCs on laptops and these laptops are running windows without breaking a sweat.
In fact, Apple’s M1 went toe to toe with Intel’s i7 in recent benchmark tests without overheating. It’ll interest you to know that the M1 is a modified A14 Bionic.
ARMs SoC designs may very well be the future of computing. On the flip side, the powerful X86 architecture of Intel and AMD seems to be on the wane of recent.
The CPU market for desktops and laptops has always been a duopoly. It is dominated by Intel (with their X86 architecture) and AMD challenging them every step of the way since year 2000 at least.
There is a third company however, that has been in the shadows, watching and waiting.
That company is Nvidia.
Nvidia are famous for making GPUs/Graphic cards and their GPU designs are an industry standard.
They made the term GPU popular.
Nvidia despite their success with GPUs have always wanted a share of the CPU/SoC market.
Unable to challenge Intel and AMD in the early 2010s, they entered into the mobile market with their Tegra SoCs and failed woefully.
Now Nvidia are back ten years later and they are after the whole market in general, both PC and Mobile.
They have already signed an agreement with Samsung to supply them GPUs. This means that Samsung will stop using ARM’s Mali GPUs for their Exynos SoCs.
Nvidia wants to buy ARM and take over the entire Smartphone SoC industry, both designs, architecture, instruction sets etc. With ARM CPUs showing that they can challenge PC CPUs, Nvidia can take over both the desktop and mobile market with one fell swoop. If you can not beat them, buy them.
Qualcomm opposes Nvidia’s takeover of ARM
Qualcomm won’t let that happen though. They have voiced their opposition to this move from day one and will continue to do so.
This is because no company owns any SoC design, whether it is an IP core design or a custom core design. These designs belong to ARM.
If ARM (Softbank) sells their business, the new owners may withdraw the licenses and Qualcomm could go out of business.
Read: Qualcomm Snapdragon
Fears of Nvidia’s monopolistic tendencies
It’s clear Nvidia wants a monopoly. If that’s the case, anti-competition laws may not allow Nvidia to keep hold of core designs. If they (Nvidia) can’t convince regulators that they will play fair, then the sale won’t go through. China and EU are already looking into it.
If Nvidia are allowed to have a monopoly. It means every other company will go out of business which is not allowed. This would erase competition and drive up the prices of Smartphones.
It was because of the fear of monopoly that Ericsson’s bid for Nokia’s Telecom arm was blocked. Ericsson already acquired Siemens and Nokia acquired Alcatel Lucent. This meant the market would have been left with just 4 companies, which is bad and Ericsson having far more superior control over Huawei, ZTE and Samsung.
What do you think?
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