- Nov 30, 2015
As much as I would love to see what NVIDIA could do with Arm's design team, I don't want it to have control over the industry. Neither should you.
I'm an NVIDIA fan. The company is best known for making
Call me a fanboy, call me whatever, but I like the company and the things it makes. But I hate the idea of NVIDIA controlling Arm, the company that makes the reference design that every phone chipmaker uses to build processors.I'm Team NVIDIA for most things. Not this thing, though.
This is all just a rumor, and like a lot of rumors might not even be remotely true. But we do know that SoftBank — the Japanese firm that has control over Arm Holdings — isn't afraid to buy and sell other companies. Hearing a SoftBank executive publicly say that the company was
It's also not surprising that NVIDIA would be
The problem is that Arm Holdings (the company) licenses ARM (all caps and the name of the design Arm makes) CPU design to, well, everybody. ARM cores are at the base of every chip in every mobile device made today as well as millions of servers, scientific devices, hobby boards like the
NVIDIA could still license the design if it were in charge and would because it's lucrative. Forcing whoever buys Arm to continue the licensing program will surely be one of the stipulations of sale regulators in the U.S. and U.K. — Arm is based in Cambridge — place on any acquisition. I'm not worried that NVIDIA would cut off Qualcomm or Apple or Samsung from making CPUs based on ARM designs.NVIDIA would still license ARM designs to everybody, but those designs would slowly change.
I'm worried about the designs themselves. NVIDIA — or any other company that makes ARM chips today — would want future designs to benefit its current development. I think NVIDIA makes a heck of a chip, so that's not necessarily a bad thing, but Apple and Qualcomm also make a heck of a chip and those companies wouldn't be very happy with changes that force them to work around issues.
This would definitely happen if any company building ARM-based chips were to buy Arm Holdings, not just NVIDIA. That's why we should be against it and regulators need to not allow it. If ARM designs were to slowly favor NVIDIA's chip development preference, any innovation that may have come from Qualcomm or Samsung would be stifled. This is how you stagnate an industry that already is highly dependent on one product:
As much as I would love to see NVIDIA able to design and build a full chip package from the ground up, and as great as I think that chip might be, I just don't want to see it happen. It'd be bad for technology as a whole, which is more important. NVIDIA should keep building amazing graphics adapters and legendaryA neutral company that doesn't build chips needs to buy Arm and pump it full of cash.
Update, July 31 (9:50 am ET) — Bloomberg reports talks between NVIDIA and SoftBank have advanced.
According to an unnamed source via
Representatives from NVIDIA, SoftBank, and Arm Holdings declined to comment when contacted by Bloomberg.